Gaming, green screens and a great adventure story!

29 October 2015

In Dundee we love all things games related, so it's pretty fitting that new computer game adventure film, Labyrinthus, is part of this year's Discovery Film Festival! Three of our Discovery Young Ambassadors (Elliot, Theodore and Šean) were really keen to find out more about how the film was made, so they interviewed the director, Douglas Boswell, and asked him all about computer games, CGI and creating a cracking adventure movie. 

Ahead of the film and Drop in and Play event on Sun 8 November, read what the filmmaker had to say about making an adventure film filled with computer game technology...

All: Can you tell us a bit about your new film?

Labyrinthus is about a boy, Frikke (14), who finds some kind of black box that takes pictures that can be uploaded in a game which is unlocked by a usb-stick attached to the black box. At first it seems fun, but soon he realises that it is a dangerous game in which kids can be trapped. Frikke has to find a way to free his friends out of the game.

Elliot: What was the inspiration for the villain character? 

Pekk is called after the Flemish word for “tar”. In the movie the clothes are uploaded by the photographer, so I wanted it to be old, maybe medieval like armour, but then the costume-designer came with the idea of the medieval plague mask, which was a bit scary. But it was also a bit funny because of its birdlike look; the character could do some birdlike moves with his head. So, one thing led to another to create this character.

Theodore: Did you have any major cinematic influences when making the film? 

Every filmmaker is influenced by what they see around them, both in real life and in other films. I was influenced by the adventurous fun of The Goonies, the seriousness of E.T, the suspense-sequences of The Bourne Identity and subconsciously probably by many others.

"It was a real surprise for the actors to see the final movie."

Šean: Were there any issues when working with live action combined with animation and special effects? 

The most difficult thing was that the kids had to act in a studio where all the walls were green. So they had to imagine everything, because instead of the paper worlds in the film, they saw only green walls. It was only months later that the paper worlds were computer animated around the actors. It was a real surprise for the actors to see the final movie, because it was then that they saw for the first time the game world around them.

Theodore: Did you have any big gaming influences? 

The biggest game influence is the way a ‘first-person’ game works, that being you, as a gamer, looking through the eyes of the character that you are playing (for example, Counter Strike), and that is how Frikke looks through the eyes of his character, ‘the paper hat’.

The other influence was thinking about how game images move, so we came up with the idea to film everything in the real world with a camera leaning on a shoulder, like a news crew. And everything in the game was filmed on a big crane, while the actors are standing on a rotating treadmill, to give the feeling that we are the point of view of a floating paper hat that can fly smoothly anywhere he wants.

You can see Labyrinthus at #DiscoveryFilmFest on Sun 8 November at 15:00 when it closes this year's festival. And before the film, have a go at some brand new and unreleased computer games at Drop in and Play, from 12:30 - 14:30 (free, drop in)!