“Deprivya,” the third feature from Mexico’s Isaac Ezban, forms one highlight at London’s Raindance Film Festival Co-production Forum, as well as marking something of a step-up for the on-the-rise helmer whose “The Similars” played to a packed house at the Austin Fantastic Festival this week.
Set in the 1960, and a psychological thriller with sci-fi undertones, Ezban’s much-awaited new project “Depryva” turns on “six individuals entering the first sleep deprivation experiment, which consisted in keeping them awake for 15 days in a contained environment,” Ezban told Variety.
“Experiment is carried out by a pharmaceutical company which aims to launch onto the market a pill called ‘Depryva,’ inducing a permanent lack of sleep without negative side effects,” added Ezban, who also penned the script, like on his two previous movies.
Ezban was the co-founder in 2007 of Yellow Films, a shorts company which split this year. He now runs Red Elephant Films with Miriam Mercado. Ezban also runs the first and only drive-in theater in Mexico City, the Autocinema Coyote.
Ezban’s production company has secured 24% of total budget funding for “Deprivya.”
“What could happen if we didn’t sleep? The whole world would change. However, this is a practically unexplored topic in cinema. ‘Deprivya’ will be an enormously personal movie, but also very entertaining and suitable for all audiences,” Ezban summed up for Variety.
Also screened at the Raindance Fest, Ezban’s debut “The Incident” got its first screening at Blood Window Midnight galas sidebar at Cannes fest and world premiered at Austin Fantastic Fest.
As if recreating the myth of Sisyphus, “Incident” delivers a sci-fi movie with two crisscrossing stories of people trapped in unceasing spaces: two brothers and a detective on an infinite staircase, and a family on an endless road.
Sold by U.S. based Shoreline Ent. Incident” was welcomed by auds, and praised by reviewers in Austin –“an ultra-dark remake of Groundhog Day produced by Damon Lindelof and directed by the ghost of Rod Serling,” said Fangoria magazine.
The sophomore effort of Ezban –shot almost simultaneously to “Incident”– “The Similars,” is a Bunuel-ish parable about identity set against a background of Martian invasions and a panicked human group trapped –again– by an endless rain. Both films established Ezban’s hallmark style.
Lovecraft and “Twilight Zone” echoes, tributes to 50s’ and 60s’ genre movies and TV skeins, as well as to Tarantino and Bunuel are some trademarks, as well as, to date, a shortage of recourses anda bubbling-under humor and large imagination. Ezban is represented by the Beverly Hills-based Paradigm Talent Agency.
Mexico City-born, Ezban studied in London, New York and Mexico City. Before “Incident,” Ezban directed eight shorts, some of which won high praise, such as from Guillermo del Toro.