Interview with Filmmaker Neil Sudhakaran (Intimacy Simulation Update 76.43)

Intimacy Simulation Update 76.43, 1min., USA, Experimental
Directed by Neil Sudhakaran
In the not too distant future, the senses are now simulated through brain-implanted chips, including touch. This micro short is inspired by After the Blast, stage play, by Zoe Kazan.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I’m on the board at a local professional theater in Cleveland, OH, convergence-continuum. We only do living playwrights, and select plays off the mainstream, with a majority of our plays being LGBTQA+ themes or adjacent. We created 6-7 futuristic commercials / adverts for promotional support and pre show / intermission in support of our production of After the Blast by Zoe Kazan. In the script there are instances and themes of cerebral uploads to stimulate the 5 senses. We took this concept a bit further with a layer of AI and the sense of touch. Going down the rabbit hole you could suggest Intimacy simulation would affect all the senses, sight, sound, taste, etc. . .

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

It took us about a month to make all 7 adverts for the show.

3. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Striking a balance between pornography / exploitation and art. It needed to be sensual, but not dirty. We took a concept of having body positive models, but examining body positivity through the lense of not knowing what the viewer would be doing with pseudo social body positive messages and images.

4. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I felt the filmmakers got the concept right away, and how challenging it is, to explain complex themes in such a short time frame. I think the female filmmakers really got deeper to the roots of the meaning more so than some of the male filmmakers.

5. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

When I was 8 or 9 a group of friends got together and we tried to go the The Blair Witch Project, being 8 / 9 and rightfully so, the cinema denied us entrance to the R rated Blair Witch. So we went to a film I had never heard of before, looked scary, had no idea what it was about. That film blew me away. The twists and sense of misdirection really got me interested in the power of film and storytelling. I talked about that film for years, and how I did not see it coming, and would host screenings with other friends just to gage their reactions who had never seen the film before. It may be a shallow pick, but The Sixth Sense is my all time favorite film, possibly not high art, but it had a profound impact on my adolescence.

6. What film have you seen the most in your life?

The Aviator – Scorsese

7. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Showcasing under 5 minutes, iPhone films, and new filmmakers, keep doing that. I appreciate that you choose films with a strong sense of story that may have been hindered by technological experience and not having a variety of large budget filmmaking tools.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Wonderful! Super easy to use, and the community is very kind.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Ramen. The dream is open up a Ramen Bar in the near future. Ramen Bar on the top floor, basement is a event space to screen films and produce theater.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

We are filming ” Ractors”, in May. It’s a reverse fake out horror film similar to From Dusk Till Dawn or Cabin in the Woods, except ours starts at a throwback to 80’s horror and ends up being a 80’s – 90’s love story / chick flick. Being branded as April Fools’ Day meets When Harry Met Sally. After that we are in pre production for a join film theater concept, audience participation, the idea is to a choose your own adventure story live in front a audience and how the audience choose / debate the outcomes, give the audience 1.5 hours to get through the story, and they have to work together to see all aspects of the film.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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