This week I’m campaigning for votes on Storyhive, a BC/Alberta grant program that has entered the Women in Film arena with their latest “Female Directed Short Film” edition. (Details on voting at the bottom of this post.) I wanted to take this opportunity to shed some light on the project, the origins of the story idea and its development history so far.
I have always been a lover of science fiction. The first film I remember watching as a kid was E.T. and it probably sealed the deal for me early on. Since then I’ve spent the overwhelming majority of my allowance and time on movie tickets for sci-fi and fantasy films and devouring every science fiction novel I can get my hands on. I’ve been a hardcore fan of Dune for many years (and if you get me started on the series, I can talk for hours) and I read the original six Dune books every single year. So when I dipped my toe into the world of filmmaking, it was inevitable that I would eventually turn my eye towards making some science fiction of my own. I didn’t initially start in film as a writer – but I soon found that I had my own stories to tell, and that the writing process was a fascinating part of the film journey.
What really triggered the idea for IIDENT though, was the announcement (some of you may remember it) that private Student Loan information from thousands of Canadian students was hacked. I didn’t know if I was one of the students right way (I was), and not knowing if my personal information was out there or not created a much deeper understanding in me of the frailty of privacy when other people hold the keys to your information. I thought about how many places my information must be kept, how many hard drives it must be on, out there in the ether, and how little control I had over how that information was protected or handled. This led me to the concept for IIDENT.
In this future, there are no more traditional hard drives or mainframes, there is no internet or “central database.” Instead, You Are The Database. Your information is stored in just one place – inside your body. You have complete control over your own information and privacy. The government responsible for creating this system assures the public that the IIDENT is hack-proof, but as I’m sure you can guess – someone figures out how to hack it, and they create an entire black market around the sale and transport of stolen IIDENTs. This is where the flaws in the system begin to reveal themselves. If there is only one copy of your information and it is lost or stolen, how can you get it back? How can you prove who you are? What happens if you die – do you simply cease to exist?
Hardened by harsh years as a mule, forced to traffick stolen IIDENTs, our protagonist Beta has escaped the black market villains known only as Faktory, and now spends her time rescuing other mules like herself and searching for her stolen IIDENT so she can go home. Beta is a reflection of many qualities I admire in traditional heroes, with her own frailties and subtleties that help to humanize her. She is a teenager but aged well beyond her years by the ordeals she’s been through. Like many people in this future, she is slow to trust others and does not talk about herself or share personal information freely. The one exception to this is the children she rescues from Faktory. The majority of stolen IIDENTS are taken from children because their personal records are relatively clean and blank at such a young age – Beta was one such child. Ripped from her family at just 12 years old, Beta is a complex combination of steely strength and arrested innocence.
When Beta meets Agatha, she sees some of herself in the little girl, and wants desperately to protect her from a similar fate at the hands of Faktory. Operating in the fringes, Beta has connections to Under, the antithesis of the the delicate crystalline structures of Prism City (where the IIDENT system operates.) Under is literally built under the waste dumps and piled debris leftover from the war. People, mistrustful of the new government and the IIDENT system chose instead to build their own society, tunnelling beneath the wreckage of humanity’s previous era and finding a home for themselves underground. The people of Under are collectors, clinging to a much more tangible world and blatantly disdainful of technology in most of its forms. (They still use electricity – heat and light, but computers and IIDENTS are dirty words on the streets of Under.) Underites scavenge the tunnels endlessly, and most residents wear or carry nearly everything they own at all times. An early inspiration for Under and the people of Under is the “garbage lady” from The Labyrinth. They cast a strange silhouette with their layers of clothing and pockets filled with odd trinkets, ready to trade for precious resources.
I’ll be sharing more of the IIDENT Origin Story later this week including my experience workshopping a scene at Women in the Director’s Chair in Banff in 2013.
Please VOTE here: http://www.storyhive.com/project/show/id/1698
*You can vote every day this week till Friday at noon, on multiple devices. Share a screen cap of your vote on our FB Page to be entered in our Daily Prize Draw!
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