Spending Time With…IAN TRUITNER – Director of “BEYOND THE TREK”
Beam up one of the most exciting science-fiction adventures of the month, Beyond the Trek available September 5 from Screen Media.
Winner of at least nine major film awards including Best Feature Films at the Los Angeles Movie Awards and Best Sci-Fi Feature at the New York Science Fiction Film Festival, Beyond the Trek is a sci-fi lovers wet dream.
Five genetically engineered “perfect” humans are sent on a rescue mission to Titan, where only one man has survived a ruined expedition to retrieve a vital cargo. Under the stress of isolation in outer space, the five perfect humans begin to exhibit formerly-concealed character flaws that threaten to tear the mission (and their chances for survival) apart.
Says writer-director Ian Truitner in the following conversation, the film was based on the first screenplay he ever tackled in college.
Is there any interesting story about how the movie came about?
The plot of Beyond the Trek is based on the first screenplay I ever wrote back in college, but the unique twists came from separate articles I read in 2013 about space travel and human genetic modification. One article was about the primary problem with long-term space travel is the psychological and physiological effects on the human body. The second article was about how scientists are conducting tests to alter humans en vitro, with the expected result of the first crop of elevated IQ ‘superbrain’ babies being born in or around 2020. If they can make babies smarter, they could also make them better fit for long term space travel. I mean, messing with human DNA, what could possibly go wrong?
Was doing a film of this type a long-time goal of yours? It right up your alley as far as taste goes?
Yes, seeing Star Wars for the first time was my first conscious memory. I became a Sci-Fi junky after that, with classics such as the original Star Trek, Alien, Blade Runner, Star Trek Next Gen, Robocop (the original) and Terminator films. Beyond the Trek isn’t an homage or derivative, but rather an attempt to be a fresh take on themes from past classics.
Did it change much between draft and shooting script?
It went through several drafts, addressing notes and feedback from both scientists and accomplished literary friends in the film business. Structurally it’s close to the first draft though.
How close to the character on the page were the actors you chose to play the parts?
What’s funny is now that the film is done I can’t see the characters on the written page as anything other than the great cast we put together. They so perfectly fit the roles that if I had something different in mind previously those ideas are gone now.
Anyone in particular that was exactly their character?
As mentioned, all of them fit perfectly into their roles. Sunny Mabrey definitely knocked it out of the park though, as her character was the living embodiment of the theme and emotional arc of the film.
How do you get actors psyched up, scared and in-character?
Any particular direction you gave them on this one? Every actor was different in how they responded to direction. Some were very emotionally driven, others more cerebral. To get each one into the scene took a different approach. For me, it was both challenging and fun work with them.
Does every movie, even a film of this type, have a message?
Yes, I think any Sci-Fi worth its salt should have a message. By its very nature Science Fiction is a commentary on society today. Not preachy though, just thought provoking.
How did you pitch the film to distributors?
What do you think appealed to them about taking this on? I have our sales rep, Galen Christy at High Octane, to thank for that work. I’d like to think the content of the film speaks for itself, but Galen certainly understood how to market it to the right distributors.
In terms of the story, was researched involved?
Yes. A lot. That’s the fun part of doing a script.
Are you going to stick to this genre?
Or shaking it up next? It wouldn’t bother me at all to stay in the genre of Sci-Fi. Ultimately it depends on where the opportunities are though.
Where can we see it? What should we eat while watching it? It’s coming to you on Sept 5th! Eat a big bowl of genetically modified popcorn and bottled water. Watch the film and you’ll understand why.