Alienated, currently screening in Boston, and headed to VOD March 31, tells the story of a married couple that is forced to confront their fatal relationship issues while on the brink of a possible alien abduction. It’s an intriguing film; we had the chance to speak to writer-director Brian Ackley about it.
Pleasure to speak to you – and about a very cool movie.
Thank you for your interest!
Was this one shot a while ago? Has it been a long time coming?
Yes, we shot in the spring of 2014, I think. It’s been awhile, but it’s been a great ride. It always takes awhile for a film to move through the festival circuit, and we’re glad we were patient, because it allowed us to research every move we would make leading up to our VOD release. Which recently happened. We’re currently available on VOD in North America! Check Amazon, iTunes, Youtube, Google Play, etc.
Take us back. How did you get involved in the project?
My producing partner, Princeton Holt, and I were looking to make a film for the coming festival season. We wanted it to be a genre film because we knew genre films go the farthest, as far as getting seen by an audience and getting distribution. So Princeton pitched me this simple idea: what if a guy witnessed a UFO and didn’t know how to tell his wife? He loved the concept I think from the start, but I had to work into it. He may have even pitched it to me in two different conversations over a week. But the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. Before I knew it I was developing different directions I could take in my head. I spent a few weeks playing with possibilities in my head, then I finally sorted my favourite ideas and drafted a rough outline. One weekend later I had the entire script.
And was it independently financed?
Absolutely. Our production company, One Way Or Another Productions, carried the whole project on its back. We have an incredible team to be able to do that. We work every aspect of making a film, from development to marketing. I’m personally very grateful to be a part of such an incredible team.
Was there something that especially intrigued you about doing an alien invasion movie?
Not really. What intrigued me was developing a character that could be so obsessed with aliens and otherworldly things that it would deeply affect his relationships. And then to create the woman who would be his perfect foil, his wife. I quickly became fascinated by their dynamic, and as I wrote the story out I didn’t even know where it was headed.
The worldly danger that looms in the film by this threat of an alien invasion just so happens to work perfectly with the personal crisis that I set up between these characters.
Did you look at alien invasion movies before doing this… or, because this is more of a drama, did you skip over them?
I did revisit some alien movies, but not necessarily invasion films. Fire in the Sky is about an alien abduction, and I remember it scaring the hell out of me as a teen, so that’s one I had to see again. Close Encounters of a Third Kind is closer to our film than a typical invasion film, too, because it’s more about a sighting and an obsession. Then, of course, Signs, which may be my favourite film about aliens. I could watch that over and over again.
Have you seen the film with an audience? Great getting that direct response?
Oh yeah, and it’s been great. We had an incredible talk back at our Boston premiere for the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival. The audience was so thrilled to see a true character-based sci-fi, not something that’s all effects, so they kept the questions and compliments coming. Princeton and I were both there for that, and we each took turns hitting these questions with all we had. After more than twenty minutes, they had to throw us out of the theatre so they could play the next movie! It’s just wonderful to have an audience that’s so well engaged. They got our film. That’s the best feeling.