Your movie Alien
Agenda: Project Grey - in a few words, what is it about?
Agenda: Project Grey
is a sci-fi drama
loosely based on ideas found in books like those by David Ike and
Project Grey being firmly rooted in conspiracy theories - is that
at all something you're also personally into, and some of your favourites
(for whatever reason)?
enjoyed conspiracy theories... I think the truth is always somewhere
between a conspiracy theory and what most people would consider reality.
Other sources of inspiration when
Agenda: Project Grey, and what was your collaborative writing
Believe it or not,
we had such a small budget on the film that we didn't have time to write a
script - instead, we worked with the actors and made the scenes up as we
went along. We would usually have a scene, with a brief description
of what each character needed to achieve, and we would improvise and shoot different versions.
Later, we pieced it all together. We did write a script for
the scenes in the hospital, and the scenes with the Russians. Those
scenes were written at the end to help glue everything together.
You have also co-directed the movie (like
you have quite some others before and since) - so what can you tell us
about your directorial approach to the story, and how do you share your
duties on set ... and are there ever any moments you clash, for whatever
Crystal & I have been
co-directing since 2001. At the beginning, it was quite challenging
for us to see eye to eye on things, but as time has passed, we've become
more and more in tune with each other, to the point where we are starting
to feel like the same person in two different bodies. I think this
happens to most married couples over time. But I can tell you it
hasn't been easy getting to this point. On one occasion, while
arguing over the color of a certain scene in Alien
Agenda: Project Grey, we
were screaming at each other so loudly, that a neighbor must
have called the police to investigate. After explaining the
situation, one of the police officers asked me "Do you love your
wife?" and I said yes, to which he replied "Then do it her
way". We laughed our asses off after they left... We colored
the scene her way.
Christian, you also play one of the leads in
Agenda: Project Grey - so what can you tell us about your
performance, and what did you draw upon to bring your character to life?
and directing at the same time is not an easy task. I'm lucky to
have Crystal. She really does make it possible for me to be in front
of the camera while at the same time have a hand on what is going on
behind the lens. She's like a magical unicorn. :)
what's your husband like to be directed?
Nneka Croal, Christian Blaze
kind of an asshole at times cause he thinks he knows it all all the time.
(Christian: baby!) Seriously though, working with him on set
is like working with any other actor... I forget we're married when he's
in front of the camera.
You of course
have to talk about the rest of your cast for a bit, and why exactly these
The entire cast of Alien
Agenda: Project Greyy was great. They
were the only ones brave enough to take the risks we did with the film. It
was not an easy film to make, we were far from the city, living and
working in small cabins, we had very little food, very little money and
supplies, and I think at one point they all hated us for how difficult we
had made it for them. We tried our best to make it less painful, but
there was only so much we could do on such a small budget. I hope one day
they they can all look back and see how cool it was to do what they did.
According to my informations, your movie was
released in 2007 in some territories, but was later enhanced with improved
special effects for a re-release - so what can you tell us about the
effects work in Alien
Agenda: Project Grey?
main reason we re-released the film was because when it first got
distribution in 2007, the distributor had us cut the film a certain way
(The Distributor's Cut), and we never liked it. We re-cut the film
to the way we originally intended it to be, and at the same time polished
a few of the VFX's and sound. The VFX work was mainly completed by
students who volunteered their time in exchange for a credit. Special
thanks goes to Vincent Lin, who spent many months designing and animating
What can you tell us about
the critical and audience reception of Alien
Agenda: Project Grey?
Agenda: Project Grey has been mixed... people either love it or hate it. I
think if you accept it for what it is, a low budget sci-fi film, and go
into it without expecting the high gloss of a big budget movie, you will
Let's go back to the
beginnings of your careers: What got you into filmmaking in the first
place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
come mainly from a computer background. I remember when I was 19, I
visited the set of Stargate SG-1, and I met Michael Shanks who
gave me some advice about acting and the film industry, and after watching
how the show was made, I realized my computer background actually helped
me understand how to make movies... digitally. Later that year, I
started studying acting at Gastown Actor's Studio, and by age
23 Crystal and I had shot our first short film Spank. By
25, we were shooting Alien
Agenda: Project Grey.
of course have to tell us how the two of you first met and how your
professional and personal relationship developed?
met Crystal on the set of a student film when I was 21. We started
talking to each other at the wrap party... 6 days later, I proposed to
her, and 6 weeks later we flew to Vegas and got married. From
there we formed our own new media company, and have been working together
on film projects ever since.
first film you co-directed was I believe Spank - so you of course
have to talk about that one?
was an interesting project. We shot it in my parents apartment with
help from all our friends and family. We got a great DOP, Kim Miles,
to shoot it for us at the time, and he did an amazing job. Acting
and directing it was a challenge sine it was the first time we had done
that together, but in the end it all came together beautifully. It
went on to win awards and was eventually licensed by the CBC here in
What can you tell us about
your filmwork since Spank?
Spank, we've shot Project Grey, and Defending Maldito which
was a short film shot in Stereocopic 3D! You can watch it on YouTube
Any future projects
you'd like to share?
currently working on a political drama called Through the Eye of the
Needle. It is a story about a Salvadoran war orphan who
escapes to the USA in search of a better life. We hope the
film sheds some light on how US foreign policy has sometimes created more
problems than it solves and how war is not the answer to our problems...
We also want to inspire people to look at the developing world in a
different light and realize that if we are to survive here in the
developed world, we must take care of our brothers and sisters in the
How would you describe yourselves
(and each other) as directors?
Christian: Crystal is the most organized,
multitasking, artistic and bossy person I know... I can see her bossing
all the kids around when she was little and making them act out her
plays. It's a good thing on set, because she gets things done! Personally,
I see a little of myself in everyone, I wonder if they see
themselves in me....
Crystal: I tend to focus more on the artistic
side of things while Christian tends to focus on the technical.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Crystal: Tarantino, Paul Thomas
Christian: Stanley Kubrick, Steven
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Nights, Django, Swing
Christian: Schindler's List, Forrest Gump, Pulp
Fiction, Murder in the 1st.
... and of
course, films you really deplore?
I think after you make a
movie and realize how difficult it was, you learn
to appreciate all films on some level...
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
We are all one thought away from peace on
earth, and that thought is... LOVE.
:) Thanks for interviewing us!
for the interview!