RYAN COLUCCI – ORIENT CITY
Following the success of their critically acclaimed graphic novel, R.E.M., creators Ryan Colucci and Zsombor Huszka proudly announce the launch of their hand-drawn animated film, Orient City: Ronin & The Princess. Orient City: Ronin & The Princess is a samurai spaghetti western that mixes the characteristics of the American Wild West and Feudal Asia. An unforgiving place, Orient City is a vertical tangle of rock and skyscrapers interconnected with waterways and cable cars. The poor, quite literally, dwell at the bottom. At the center of it all is Boshi, a fallen samurai who has sworn to protect a young girl whose family has been assassinated. Together they head to Orient City for one thing… revenge. The team launched its Kickstarter campaign just this week to bring the striking 2D animation to life, and is already on their way toward their overall crowd-funding goal of $30,000 to help cover the total cost of the film.
How would you describe the protagonists of Orient City?
Troubled. These are people who are rough around the edges. This is a world built on violence, bloodshed and corruption. Even the best of them are still extremely flawed.
If you had to pick, who is your favorite character in Orient City and why are they your favorite?
Boshi. He is our hero, or closest thing to it. I grew up on spaghetti westerns, and the heroes of those were characters that lived by a code – but their own code. It wouldn’t fit in today’s politically correct universe. I love that. Guys like Harmonica and Blondie, who don’t speak often, but when they do it means something. Who are faster with a trigger than their mouth. That is Boshi. At some point he was a proud samurai, but when we start he is wasting away in an opium den – a disgraced ronin. Our hero has cold sweats and the shakes and isn’t fond of conversation. To say he is rough around the edges is an understatement.
How did you and Zsombor Huszka meet and start working together?
I was looking for an artist for the graphic novel R.E.M. and he applied. It will sound trite, but as soon as I saw his samples I needed to know more. He did a test page – which is pretty much what wound up in the book – and it’s been no looking back. It’s hard to think about doing a project without him in some way. Even when I do a live action piece, he is involved. Whether it’s providing artwork that goes on the walls or doing animated titles… but this is the ultimate – an animated film together.
What is the number one reason you think people should back Orient City?
I just don’t know if they realize how epic this thing is going to be. We are not going to sleep until it is done, and we are going to pour every ounce of ourselves into this project. And who doesn’t love samurai westerns?
What advice do you have for aspiring comic book writers?
Patience. Anything that has to do with the arts, just be patient. What we do is not necessarily well paid – or paid at all. If this is truly what you want, you need to persevere. Trust your vision and don’t ever give up. Specifically for comic book writers – you can’t expect anyone to hire you. If you really want this – go out and create a book. Find an artist and make it happen.
What advice do you have for aspiring directors?
I don’t know if I’m in a position to be giving life advice to directors as I just directed my first feature…. But… find the absolute best script you can do for the absolute least amount of money – then go make it. I had a lot of scripts… and after shopping each one to direct, would write another that was smaller. Until I eventually wrote one that I could actually do without having to beg and plead for money. We are all only aspiring until we actually do it. So just go do it.