The Newport Beach Film Festival has announced the selection of The Shipment, a $1 million dollar father/daughter science fiction short, written, executive produced and directed by VFX artist and 3D animator Bobby Bala. The film screens the previous week at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
The epic intergalactic tale tells the story of a widowed cargo hauler who finds himself stranded with his daughter on a wretched spaceport after their old ship breaks down. Faced with an unscrupulous offer to escape, he faces a difficult dilemma that puts his morality to the ultimate test as he tries to provide a better life for his family.
“My goal was to create my first film with my daughter. I felt this would be a memorable experience we could both share for many years and it definitely was,”says director Bobby Bala.
Besides Bobby’s daughter and newcomer Ishana Bala playing the lead female role of Zohra, the lead male role of Kaidan Katar is superbly performed by veteran Canadian actor Aleks Paunovic for which he delivered a nuanced performance tinted with heroic gravitas.
Aleks Paunovic is no stranger to sci-fi having played key roles in War for the Planet of the Apes, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, and Smallville, to name a few. He currently stars in SyFy’s Van Helsing and will be seen in TNT’s anticipated new dramaSnowpiercer, opposite Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs.
In the late 90’s, while living in a run-down apartment and working as a VFX artist, it was Bobby Bala’s dream to one day direct his own film. Living in San Francisco however was quite expensive which made it very challenging to get his filmmaking pursuits off the ground. Today, almost 20 years later, after operating a successful theater seating business, his dream finally turned into reality.
“After scrimping and saving for many years, I finally had enough money set aside to pursue this dream. I was undecided if I should make a simple feature film with no VFX, or a 30 minute sci-fi featurette with advanced VFX which would better showcase my abilities,” explains Bobby Bala. “Since indie features can’t always guarantee a financial return, I thought it would be a wiser investment to make a high quality proof-of-concept featurette that would stand out, rather than a feature which would have little to no VFX at all. My thinking was, If I’m going to most likely lose money, I might as well tell the story I want to tell and have fun while doing it,” he adds.
The 27-min ambitious film took four years to create and after surpassing the $1-million dollar budget mark, it made it one of the most expensive live action shorts in history.
“After three years into the production, the budget was completely depleted and to get us over the finish line I had no choice but to sell my home. It was a very difficult decision to make, but a necessary sacrifice to save the film. Too many people around the world had already put so much into this project. I couldn’t let them down,” he concludes.
The Shipment recently garnered top awards at the Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema in California for Best of Fest, Best Child Actor (Ishana Bala) and Best Foreign Featurette. The short had previously won the Best Visual FX award at the Berlin Sci-Fi Filmfest and the Best Cinematography prize at the Miami International Sci-Fi Film Festival. After its New York Premiere at Tribeca, the film will continue its film festival tour in other American cities, including Newport Beach, Riverbend and Los Angeles (HorrorHaus).
About The Shipment:
The Shipment was shot almost entirely on green screen (95% of 350 shots). Director Bobby Bala gathered a large crew of VFX wizards, CG artists, and FX make-up artists who contributed to enhance the live action performances recorded in an empty food warehouse in Vancouver, BC. Through the magic of film, all these artists transformed the green backdrops into fantastical alien worlds and breathtaking environments. Additionally, traditional FX make-up was used to create the otherworldly creatures, which meant some actors spent up to three hours in the make-up chair and another ten hours on set.
The Shipment is a Flying Car Productions Inc. film. Written and directed by Bobby Bala;Produced by Arun Fryer andAna Carrizales; Cinematography by Naim Sutherland; Production Design byTane Stange, Costume Design by Zohra Shahalimi; Make-Up Supervision by Sarah Elizabeth; Editing by Elad Tzadok; Re-Recording Sound Mix by Miguel Araujo; Music by Crispin Hands; and VFX Supervision by Nicholas Lund-Ulrich.
About the Director:
With over 15 years of experience as a Visual FX artist and 3D animator, Bobby Bala, an Indian-Canadian filmmaker, decided to apply these skills into making a film with his young daughter Ishana. The film is called The Shipment, which took him 4 years to complete and he had to even invest over $1 million dollars out of his own pockets to finish it. The epic intergalactic short has had a successful reception so far after being selected at various festivals such as Tribeca, Fantasporo, Bermuda, Miami,Sarasota, Berlin Sci-Fi, to name a few. The film hasalso garnered numerous awards such as Best of Fest, Best Child Actor (Ishana Bala) and Best Foreign Featuretteat the Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema in California. Bobby Bala resides in Vancouver, BC with his family where he runs his company Elite HTS, a manufacturer of high-end custom home cinema seating. He is currently working on the TV adaptation of The Shipment.
For more information about The Shipment, please visit the following links: