Matt Osterman is a self-proclaimed sci-fi geek who is known for his short films and his feature film Ghost in the Machine, released in 2010. He is a true indie filmmaker and his latest film, Hover, is coming to theaters on June 29, followed by a VOD and Digital HD release on July 3 from SyFy Films.
World Film Geek had the chance to talk to Osterman and his experience making the film.
Thank you so much Matt for talking about Hover. I just saw the film and I have to say it was better than I expected it to be.
Great! When people hear sci-fi or see a trailer for a sci-fi, they expect a certain level of low expectation and then they see the movie and they are like, “Okay! Yeah! Cool!” (Laughs)
What attracted you to direct the film?
So, one of the producers, Travis Stevens. He and I have been friends for a number of years and we’ve talked about projects in the past. He’s a great pacemaker in the indie genre world, so I’ve always wanted to work with him. He gave me this script that Cleopatra [Coleman], who was also our lead, wrote. I read the script and I immediately knew this was the sandbox and I was jumping in. It wasn’t hard to sign the dotted line.
Speaking of Cleopatra, I didn’t only think she did a great job in front of the cameras, but her script was quite interesting that it pitted technology vs. old school in terms of the farmers being the heroes. Did she come up with the entire story or did you have input in what to bring out in the film?
I guess you can say both. She wrote this amazing script and all the elements were there. As the director, I came in and we collaborated quite a bunch on it to flesh out some ideas, such as the technology. I’m a pretty big sci-fi and film geek so a lot of the stuff we worked on was fleshing out the ideas and grounding them in a way that’s much reality as possible. We’re trying to build this real world and keep it in reality so we came up with the idea of bringing technology, and flash forward five or ten years to see where this technology will go. So that’s where I added to the film, but yes, it was a great collaboration and I couldn’t be happier.
The film is about the use of drones and for me, it’s a double-edged sword. I’ve seen the positive use of drones but I’ve also read horror stories and “conspiracies” with the use of drones. What’s your opinion of the drones?
I think they are an amazing tool and they are going to change the world. I agree it is a double-edged sword. Technology in the hands of humans or humanity can lead to creepier, strange things. So, I think we need to be vigilant in terms of finding out how these things are built and used because they are only getting smarter. You know, pretty soon, they will be able to blend in their surroundings. It’s going to be creepy in a hurry and I’m concerned to where we’re headed. Then you add in the autonomy, where you already have facial recognition. And what’s going to happen then? If this ends up in the wrong hands, it’s going to be a bumpy ride, but hopefully we’ll be able to figure it out.
What was it like working with the cast? As I mentioned, I thought Cleopatra did a great job, but what about the supporting cast like Shane Coffey, Craig mUms Grant, and Beth Grant to name a few?
We got very lucky! I mean casting is one of the most difficult things, one of the most difficult processes. And that’s because you’re trying to fill up the film and make it look like the real world. And with this film, we were trying to make it look like both the future and now. Getting interesting people from different backgrounds. That’s what important. You can’t have a future full of just white people so we were trying to be real as much as we possibly could.
The fun part for me was that we used some established folks. Like Beth Grant. She’s done tons of films. So it was great to have a veteran like that. But for a few people, this was actually their first film. André [Starks], who plays Victor. This was his first movie. Our casting agent called out to some of the local casting directors in both Louisiana and Georgia. We shot the film in Louisiana. I got this one audition video of this kid playing the role. It blew me away to where it gave me goosebumps.
I showed Travis the video and I told him to check out this kid. We had other legitimate people who had auditioned who had done movies that were recognizable. I said we gotta use this kid, let’s not worry about the rest. So it was really cool that we discovered him and he came on the set all wide-eyed and seeing the machine. Then to see him pull it off was amazing. I remember having a conversation with Shane [Coffey], who was asking who he was and where did he come from. He was making us look bad (laughs).
(Laughs) That’s when you know you have a new star on the rise. He could end up getting more roles and become an established star himself.
I know it’s been hard for him because we have been done shooting for over a year and he’s been anticipating the release of the film. He hasn’t been able to say anything or show anything about the film.
I think once the film finally comes out, people will take notice and say we need to get this kid for our films.
I hope so. Matter of fact, I want to work with him again, so we’ll see what happens.
Did you face any difficulties while shooting the film?
The short end, yes. I don’t know any film that doesn’t have difficulty (laugh) but it’s a miracle just to get a movie made. It is hard especially when you don’t have all the resources and have to work within the budget you’re given. Everything was kind of hard, but that didn’t mean we didn’t have fun. Given the disruptive nature of making the film, we just tried to make everything work and we did a lot with this movie. Seeing the final product, we realized that on a bigger scope, we came out with something bigger than we originally had imagined.
The entire cast and crew and post-production team worked their tails off. I couldn’t be more proud of their hard work and their patience, especially when we did have 16-hour days or people working seven days straight. It’s a beast but they pulled it off and I hope they are all proud.
Finally, are there any new projects that you are currently at work on or in the works to make that you can talk about?
Yeah, I’m actually writing a few things right now. One is a passion project that I’ve been working on for a few years now. It also revolves around the use of technology. It’s a recurring theme in my circle. I’m also working on a character driven crypto-currency thriller with the rise of the new markets and transactional things so that’s interesting ground to explore. Finally, I’m working on a grounded monster movie that hopefully be damn scary. So if one of those projects get made, I will be very happy.
That’s great! So Hover comes to theaters this Friday and then a Digital HD and VOD release on July 3. Anyone who likes sci-fi and even Scanners because I felt a vibe with that film will enjoy this film.
(Laughs) That’s a good way of putting it. Thank you so much for checking out the film and having me talk about it.
A special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR and Matt Osterman for making this interview possible. For more on Osterman and his films, check out his official Twitter page.