I'm very excited to be a delegate at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013 (EIFF) - and even happier that the first film I saw yesterday was a very clever, brilliantly made and thought-provoking short film. 'Dr Easy' tells the story of a medical robot that is sent into a derelict building to treat an armed man who is holed up in the aftermath of a police shoot out. It's a fascinating conversation-starting film, making you think about the role robots will be able to play in our lives in the future. After the film, there was a panel session with the creators, Shynola, a well-respected three-man production company based in Hackney, East London, who usually specialise in music videos for the likes of Coldplay and Radiohead - alongside someone from Warp Films, who they took their 'Dr Easy' script to, for help making it, and someone from Film4.0, who Warp have a First Look deal with and took the script to, in the hope of getting funding.
The short film is based on a the opening chapter of a book by Matthew De Abaitua called, The Red Men. It's intended as a trial run for their full length feature film, based on the entire book. The EIFF session gave us a great insight into both the development process - including showing us images from the pitching document that they took to Film4.0 - and the making of a film that combines live action with visual effects. Everything from having to shoot blank walls, repeatedly and from different angles, so that they had the background they needed to put the robot against, to the thought process behind getting the robot just right. (They wanted to move away from the stereotypical robots that we usually see in films, who tend to be rusty for no good reason and have evil eyes because they're about to go on a killing spree. This robot needs to be not just clean but wipe-downable, as it's going to to getting blood on it, from patients rather than from victims. It needs to be robust and strong - but not intimidating, so that humans will accept help, including medicine and injections. Its facial features need to be neutral enough to deliver both good and bad news, whilst never seeming judgmental. Brilliant stuff!) This isn't a sci-fi film, as such. It's a short about the way humans connect and as such it will appeal to people across the spectrum. I really enjoyed it and I look forward to seeing the feature.
An hour after this EIFF session - which was also its worldwide launch - the film went live online. Take a look for yourself and see what you think.