Not signed in (Sign In)
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2009
    High Maintenance (2006) Phillip Van

    Copy Shop (2001) Virgil Widrich
  1.  (5409.22)
    @oddbill Not only have I seen The American Astronaut, but my copy was handed over by a member of the production team. I'd say that it definitely qualifies. If you've need of a copy, do say so.
    • CommentTimeApr 13th 2009
    @bendingoutward - this is a film which I want to see but haven't. I see that it is an out of print DVD... I'm sure I can get a hold of one - though if borrowing or buying one off of you is not terribly inconvenient, I might be interested in that.

    More though, if you have a connection to someone from the production team who might be willing to reply to a few questions via email about their experience working on the film for a blog interview, I'd be very interested in sending them some.

    If either of these things are possible, please feel free to email me, I'm: bill (at) oddbill (dot) com.
  2.  (5409.24)
    I've been so sick of Big Media lately that I've been doing a ton of searching for web shows of at least some sort of quality. I'm of the mind that at least a couple of them qualify for mention in this thread:

    Stranger Things is an anthology series with fairly minimal special effects (basically a bit of shopping here and there, perhaps a hand puppet or two), and it's made of win so far.

    The Black Dawn is a seral from the kids at Web Serials, and save for the excessively short episode length, I'm enjoying it muchly. The same group put out Cataclysmo, and while it's a little less lo-fi than most of the things discussed (the bits are more or less on par with the television adaptation of The Middle Man, which was complete win), it's an enjoyable story.

    Do the entries listed have to be modern? I ask because I've been digging through the moving images collection on the internet archive quite a bit lately, and they've got a metric ton of good stuff. Examples include just about every episode of SUSPENSE, every episode of The Veil (with Boris Karloff), Captain Midnight, et cetera. Also, there are a few feature-length films in the archive that likely qualify: Night of the Living Dead, Last Man On Earth (Will Smith will never be Vincent Price), so on.

    Thoughts? Also, if anybody happens to know of a compelling web series, preferably easily downloadable on the cheap-as-in-free, please do let me know.
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2009
    Awesome links!

    I'd shy away from including old shows like Suspense or The Veil, I guess on the grounds that they were professional productions of their time... I'd put Romero's original Night of the Living Dead on the borderline... qualifies, I guess, if we consider something like Primer to qualify... it's a strange line, I know...

    I wouldn't hesitate in posting something though - it's not like there are any real rules around what qualifies... I'm sure we'll all have different opinions on where to draw the inclusions, but it can't hust to see any of the stuff you think is cool...
    • CommentAuthorlooneynerd
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2009

  3.  (5409.27)
    Would Primer by any chance be considered "Lo-Fi Sci-Fi"??
  4.  (5409.28)
    There is a bi Indie sci-fi movement happening, which is totally awesome. The upcoming MOON is probably at the high end of the cost spectrum (though dirt cheap by Hollywood film standards) and is excellent. Then you have stuff like the bizarrely amazing Ink which is semi-touring theaters as we speak.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2009
    @Sonny - I would put Primer in that category.

    @Matt Gamble - Thanks for the link to Ink! - It looks like it is actually playing near me on Wednesday, and I think I may try to see it. Production value on the trailer looks a bit home-video, but the thing looks compelling nonetheless.
  5.  (5409.30)
    Glad to see so many people giving Primer some love. That is my all time fave time travel movie!

    I would put Stephen Norrington's The Last Minute in the category. It's more like a street-level sci fi, than space/robot type stuff, but there are a lot of out there ideas in it, and it's a visual trip.

    Mike Allred's Astroesque certainly counts. I think I read that it cost him 9K to make, and he did most of it himself and with friends. The acting is pretty bad, but it's a cool tie-in to his Red Rocket 7 "trilogy" (the Son of Red Rocket 7: The Gear album is, quite frankly, unlistenable... Allred's music taste is not shared by me, but the movie is decent and the comics are great, so...). Not really a lot of sci-fi stuff, there, either, but I think mostly because Allred is so used to being able to draw whatever he wants in comics that he may have felt a bit tied down by mundane reality. Some silly Kevin Smith-esque jokes don't help, but there's a cool action scene.

    Someone mentioned Robot Stories, which I haven't seen, but know that it's written/directed by ex-Hulk writer (and current Skaar: Son of Hulk writer) Greg Pak...

    Perhaps Lars Von Trier's Element of Crime, as well, which, like The Last Minute, is more like a Warren Ellis detective story than anything, but has a lot of weird shit going on in it (like fully putting your mindset into that of a murderer...). Worth a look if you like Von Trier, but his method can be taxing to sit through...

    Or John Sayles' Brother From Another Planet...
  6.  (5409.31)
    I'd be interested to hear what you think of it. I haven't had the chance to see it, and since I'm in the Midwest I probably don't stand much chance too.
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2009 edited
    @Matt Gamble - I'm at the screening right now - I'll do a write up about it after. Looks like there is a Q&A with the filmmakers, so it should be interesting.

    Add this to the list of reasons I love my town.

    EDITED: First impressions post viewing:

    It was good. Caveats first - it is obviously very, very low budget, and feels, for lack of a better way to describe it, thin, in ways that low budget films built around spectacle always seem to feel. For example by contrast, Primer, which has been often mentioned above, might well have had an even lower budget than Ink, but it didn't feel thin in the same way, largely because it wasn't built around visual spectacle, but rather around naturalistic dialog and sheer ideas. You don't expect crowds or magnificence in Primer (or something like Pi), but Ink really does shoot for a less naturalistic, more spectacular feel (it often feels like it's trying to do Terry Gilliam doing the Matrix), and so the small budget translates to a much thinner onscreen feeling. Real world scenes lack realistic depth. For example, there is a hospital that figures largely in part of the film, and though obviously filmed in an actual medical facility of some kind, it never feels like a real hospital. There aren't enough extras, there isn't the bustle. The acting is really good, but something about the way it is assembled leaves some important scenes a bit flat. It's really reaching for something much bigger than it is capable of being.

    But I don't want to give the impression I didn't enjoy it. I liked it quite a lot, and will likely pick it up on DVD when it eventually appears there. I'm comfortable criticizing the execution because it is actually incredibly well done considering its limitations. I mentioned the acting was good, but I should emphasize it was really good, generally on par with a professional film and far higher than the usual level in a film with such a small budget. The fantasy scenes are really well pulled off, and there are some elaborately choreographed sequences and fights that are exciting and top notch. They've squeezed out quality beyond what I suspect their resources were, and you will not be disappointed watching it.

    As for the budget, in the Q&A they were coy about it, as they are still seeking distribution and don't want to tip their hand - if potential distributors find out they made it for x dollars, their offers will all come in around some very low related number, and they understandably want to maximize their chances of getting a good deal. But they promised the details on the budget would come out in the fullness of time. I suspect we'll find it was shockingly low, and the film will seem more impressive when cast in that light.

    It isn't really science fiction, it's more of a psychologically tinged urban fantasy. The trailer makes it look like a kind of horror film, but it really isn't. But I can't help including the silent version of Call of Cthulhu in my idea of the lo-fi sci-fi concept, so I think I might have to allow this one as well.

    It's hard to say anything specific without spoiling, and it's one of those well structured stories that drops you in the middle of it and makes you piece together what is really happening as you go along. Spoiling it really would ruin one of it's main pleasures.

    So, without giving anything away, it's kind of like Terry Gilliam & Alex Proyas knocked out the Wachowskis, stole the script for the Matrix and gave it to Neil Gaiman to rewrite, then roughed up Robert Rodriguez for his El Mariachi budget and ran off to make the film with that. In Denver. With a whole bunch of good actors.

    I liked it.
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009 edited
    Pointed to this awesome short by the tumblr of noblelion.

    Behold the petrotentacled terror of Oceansize.

    This is a link to the movie on Vimeo because I can't seem to embed it.

    Oceansize is a short 3D movie made by 4 students of Supinfocom Arles in 2008, Romain Jouandeau, Adrien Chartie, Gilles Mazières and Fabien Thareau. It's really quite astonishingly well made.
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2009
    I think I'll be spending most of my weekend in this thread. Thanks Oddbill et al
    • CommentAuthorBryanL
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2009
    I have nothing to contribute yet, but hopefully I will stumble on something good to show. I approve of this thread whole heartedly. I've enjoyed most of the videos so far, it reminds me of going to blockbuster and renting independent films when I was younger.
    • CommentAuthorKradlum
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2009
  7.  (5409.37)
    @ Matt Gamble-

    I need to see Moon soon. I wanted to last night at one of the indie cinemas here in Minneapolis, but didn't make it out. It looks like it's right up my alley. It was made for about 5 million, which is a pretty TINY budget for a flick now-a-days, but I'm not sure if it would be considered "Lo-Fi". Primer was made for about $7000 (which is unreal). How do we categorize "Lo-Fi"? If someone has a gigantic budget, but purposefully presents a film in a "Lo-Fi" manner (we see that all the time w/ music production), is that still "Lo-Fi"? Or is the category completely independent of funding/budget?

    I think we actually see BETTER Sci-Fi flicks with smaller budgets (weather they're "Lo-Fi" or not). Science Fiction isn't about giant robots, explosions, and good looking young people. It's about the increasingly corporate world, speculation, isolation, man/machine dynamics, ethics, etc. Writers and directors with small amounts of money HAVE to make films with these themes (perhaps they would with lots of money, too?), there's no other option.

    *NOTE*: Fuck it. I'm seeing it today, don't have to work until 5. I'll let ya'll know what I think at some point.
  8.  (5409.38)
    So, if you're able to find a copy (available for sale on the film site), this adptation of Flatland is actually pretty good. Further, it was created by one guy.
      CommentAuthorAdmiral Neck
    • CommentTimeAug 17th 2009 edited
    I know that District 9 is not really lo-fi sci-fi, even though it was based on a low budget short, but holy shit, who expected it to make $37m in its opening weekend? That's the original budget (minus promotional budget and the cost of prints) back already. As soon as it hits $90m, it's in huge profit. I doff my cap to Blomkamp, and Peter Jackson for believing in him.
  9.  (5409.40)
    hello people.
    unfortunately i have nothing really to add to this discussion but i wanted to say thanks for pointing me in the direction of so many goodies.
    i have achieved nothing constructive today as i've been watching sci fi instead. a day well spent.