Unfinished sci-fi film heads to Cannes

'Year One' secures sales company

A Swedish low-budget film, made in the style of “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” or “Sin City”?

This is “Year One,” a sci-fi film written and directed by virtually unknown helmer Martin Munthe, who has secured a sales company even though the film is not finished .

Uwe Boll’s sales company Boll AG will kick off sales in Cannes.

Munthe has previously directed several low-budget genre films, most of them panned by Swedish critics. “Year One” is his most ambitious film to date, even though its budget is around SEK 3 million ($446,000).

He says he started writing the script in 1993, but it is only in the last four years that he has worked full time on the project, directing videos and features like the horror pic “Camp Slaughter” to pay the bills.

“Year One” takes place about 70 years into the future. A man who is in jail for war crimes is offered his freedom if he agrees to participate in laboratory experiments. Those lead to him entering an alternate dimension, which is the beginning of the end for the world he lives in.

“From the beginning, we couldn’t come up with a sensible way of making the film. We talked, for instance, of building sets in Prague, but it would have been too expensive,” Munthe says. “Then we got to think of the desktop revolution, and we started thinking 3-D. I did a musicvideo where we built Paris at the turn of the century in the computer, and it worked well.”

Munthe says most of the budget has gone to the digital effects, while the actors have worked for free.

“From the beginning, the style of the film looked like ‘Sky Captain,’ with a fixed camera. We started to experiment with a handheld camera. We wrote our own computer programs, and it turned out to look a bit like a Dogma film,” Munthe says.

“Year One” is not finished — it’s skedded to be completed at the end of the summer — but Boll’s company will be showing teasers at Cannes.

When Munthe heard genre film legend and critical punching bag Boll was expanding into sales, “I contacted him, and he liked the idea of ‘Year One,’ ” the filmmaker says.

Pic has secured Scandi distribution through Sandrew Metronome, and he says the film has given him a taste to work more in the same style.

“It’s fun to work with special effects, to create the surroundings to be exactly as you want them to be. If people draw parallels to films like ‘300’ and ‘Sin City,’ it’s OK, even though my film is very low budget. But putting people in front of a bluescreen is nothing new, that’s been done in commercials and rock videos for years. Now it’s becoming a film genre of its own.”

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