Indie Update – Encounters

Update on the production of Encounters with Luke Pilgrim & Brad Kennedy of SOZO BEAR FILMS.

Tell us a little about your production…

Encounters​ is a sci-fi/horror short film anthology series akin to ​The Twilight Zone​ & Black Mirror.​ Each episode will explore different types of encounters with Extraterrestrial Life through one unifying theme… Be Careful What You Wish For.

Though the series is about UFOs and ETs, we explore very human struggles in each episode: greed, fear, anxiety, selfishness… all the ingredients that make up the human condition. In short, the protagonists always get what they want, but at a terrible cost.

Why do you feel this story needs to be told?

Although this series is about extraterrestrials and the paranormal, at its core we explore very human struggles. That struggle is not confined to any specific group of people. So we plan to represent a variety of races and genders on screen so that the show itself will represent humanity as a whole.

Who are a few of the key players on your production team and what makes them awesome? 

We’ve had a few key players join our production family for this project. We have Producer, Terrell Sandefur helping us raise the budget for the series and we have the talented acting couple Jason MacDonald and Catherine Dyer joining the team to act in Episode 3 of the series. Our genius composer Phillip Arthur Simmons has come back to work on what will be our fourth project together. And that’s not to mention all of the amazing crew members who have worked with us in the past and are joining us again to bring this project to life.

As a unit, why is this team perfect to make this film come to life?

Over the last few years, we’ve developed a team of collaborators that have become like a filmmaking family. Our team consists of excellent producers, production managers, sfx makeup artists, gaffers, grips, vfx artists, actors, and composers that have all worked with us to make really great short films, so this time we’re just upping the ante to make an amazing anthology series together.

What’s a unique element of your production that you can’t wait for audiences to experience?

We plan to include more special effects with this science fiction series. Our second episode will include an anthropomorphic alien plant, which we plan to animate both with practical effects and digital effects. Plus, we will have another episode that will follow cavemen in the first alien encounter ever, so we’re excited to work with talented special effects makeup artists to design the looks for our neanderthal characters.

Share with us a challenge your production has overcome thus far that you’re particularly proud of…

The biggest challenge to the series was actually the inception of it. The project began when we were making a commercial for our company, Sozo Bear Films, which we wanted to release on World UFO Day. In fact, the abduction scene in episode 1 of Encounters is actually the footage from that commercial. After completing that little promo, everyone from our cast and crew to our composer were asking us “Why isn’t this a short film?” And so the two of us sat down and figured out what was salvageable from the commercial, so that we wouldn’t have to completely start from scratch. We kept the abduction scene, with a few minor visual tweaks and more ominous music, and wrote a new beginning and ending for the film. But writing a new beginning and ending, while keeping one scene as is, was like a very difficult puzzle. However, when we watch the film now, we don’t even think about how one scene was filmed a couple of months before the other for a completely different project.

What’s the current status of your production and what are you actively doing to take the production to the next stage?

Like we mentioned, we’re in the funding / pre-production stage of the series. We’ve shot and released the first episode, which you can see here: ​Encounters Episode 1. Our Seed & Spark crowdfunding campaign will end on June 21st and then we will move forward with pre-production and filming of episode 2 & 3 while we resume raising funding for episodes 4 & 5 through private donorship. We intend to release the next episode of the series next year at our one-night film festival, Sozo Bear Presents: A Night At The Movies.

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