In Search of Sunrise – Feature Film

Ex Machina meets A Scanner Darkly

Synopsis: Aya’s father is a tech guru who creates an immersive virtual entertainment experience that fully caters to the user’s unconscious desires. She feels this invention aims to spite her for not following in his footsteps by proving to her that art can be manufactured. Art, Aya believes, is too rooted in human emotion and no machine can truly replicate the depth of connection that human creativity does. Her dad and others think Aya’s simply scared of the implications if his invention is successful because as a creative soul, it would force Aya into an existential crisis. Though Aya wants to be free, she learns the machine was built in part from her memories without her knowledge. This makes her the only one qualified to playtest it. Knowing that her dad’s body has succumbed to cancer, a glitch he can’t reprogram, Aya accepts the mission to prove to him and his Board of Directors that the machine is nothing more than a financial drain. She enters the mind-warping maze of mirrors and memories and what she finds is far more sinister than she anticipated. She must search for a key to the riddle of their troubled love, and a vision that will free her own creative voice and ultimately, redeem all their damage.

Proof of Concept Short Film:

Virtual Proof of Concept Premiere + Q&A:

Artist’s Statement: For years I’ve been obsessed with David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, which is a post-modern novel about a video-tape that’s so entertaining that whoever sees it becomes consumed to the point they rewatch it until they die. That was such a fascinating exploration of what entertainment is in our culture. And as technology evolved, I often wondered what the modern-day equivalent of this video tape would be? The answer I always settled on was technology fully geared to the pleasures of the user, and so Dynamic Content Immersion was born.

Turns out my idea wasn’t far fetched at all because as a society we’re very close to this technology. That is compelling to me, but I didn’t want to explore this as nonfiction. I wanted to tell a human story, no different than Infinite Jest does. With the novel, Foster Wallace “[features] the most endearingly screwed- up family to come along in recent fiction.” This is why it stands the test of time.

With In Search of Sunrise, I wanted to mimic the struggles of artists trying to create a story, having been inspired by Federico Fellini’s 8 1⁄2. That’s when the main characters of Aya and her father popped into my head as did the controlling idea: in order to be our truest, most creative and pure selves, we must destroy our egos. In Search of Sunrise presents neither Aya nor her father as good or bad. Life is more nuanced than that and I love to play in the grays, ultimately challenging the audience to reflect on themselves and decide what has meaning and what doesn’t.

Status: This project is currently in development. If you wish to join the mailing list so you can receive updates, please fill out the form below. I promise we won’t spam you. Likewise, if this film intrigues you and you’d like to make a financial contribution towards it, let me and the team know. We’ll have official information soon, but at least this way we can add you to our roster. PS: You’re always welcome (and encouraged) to check out Idyll, my first feature film.