Angus Brown (Creative Producer at Maelstrom Media Productions)
interviews Rafael Duncan, Writer & Director at “Cosmic Dragon Films”
1. To give us some background, tell me a little about where you were born and
where you grew up.
I was born in the capital, in the west part of London – Born and raised. I
was living in places like Chiswick, then a few places in that part of town
untill I was ten, and then I moved to Bristol.
2. How would you describe yourself as a person?
That’s a good one, well very creative, imaginative, I like to keep myself
busy and get frustrated when things draw out longer than they should to get
things done, I’m an all rounder and learning all the time.
3. When did you start becoming interested in making film?
Well if you go way back my dad gave me a toy camera when I was nine. I can’t
remember that but I’ve seen it in a photo so it must be true. I guess from
seeing films as a kid like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, popcorn movies
like that, it ignited my imagination and desire in film, I got involved in
shooting a friend’s film when I was 19.
4. What was the appeal?
I guess you can make and be in control of what type of story you want to
tell, and how it will look, with film you can have control of what type of
soundtrack you have on it so it combines images with music which is a great
5. Which Film Directors, Writers and Producers inspire you?
People like George Lucas and Speilberg for those pop corn movies, I loved to
be enveloped in a whole new world when I was a kid, so that gave rise to my love
of sci-fi and fantasy films. I also saw a lot of video nasties and 80’s horror
films, directors like John Carpenter with ‘The Thing’, ‘The Fog’, ‘Halloween’
and Wes Craven films like the ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ series. I also like
David Lynch, he is a true cult filmmaker, his movies stay with you way after you
first watch them. I’m also greatly inspired with the wave of Japaneses films,
from the Yakuza to Samurai movies, to the anime and the various other genre
films they’ve been churning out for the last several decades.
6. What types of film have you made? How did these stories arise?
Mainly espionage, thriller or sci-fi. I’ve done several shorts and others
that have been thrillers and one futuristic fantasy called Blue Solaris. I wrote
and directed my first mini-feature several years ago which was a sci-fi
paranormal thriller called ‘Babylon Forces’ about five friends, one of whom
finds a mysterious computer disc containing UFO secrets. They soon find
themselves followed by the ssecret service and the sinister Men in Black. I was
reading a few UFO magazines at the time and some of the articles I came across I
thought ‘Wow’ some of these conspiracy theories would make good films and then
it sparked an idea I thought ; what would it be like if you found something
truly top secret and who would try to find you…
7. What training have you received as a film maker?
I made a film during my foundation course and later on completed a BTEC
National Diploma in film and media culminating in the short futuristic film Blue
Solaris, plus I had completed editing Babylon forces , staying late at the
college for nearly six months editing the movie because I didn’t have my own
editing equipment at the time. I had to complete the final edit plus do all the
sound editing, dubbing, wild track and post production which was a real learning
curve, and a good way to learn the computer packages.
8. Are you a hobbyist or a careerist?
It’s never been just a hobby, what started out as a love and a whim grew more
like an extra curricular activity into my love of filmaking and what it
involves; an art form that combines all the things I like to do – creating,
drawing , writing, team work with the actors and crew , co-ordinating everyone
to make something you’ve thought of in your mind’s eye a finished product. Yes
you can safely say I am pursing this as a career. No hobbyist here. No offence
9. Whats your game-plan?
To make a low budget feature within my company and hook up with larger film
companies to get a production deal to make a further one of my movies and after
that get hired to go overseas either in Japan or Hollywood to make a studio
film, all in the Sci fi, fantasy vein. Don’t get me wrong I’m not just into
sci-fi, I could do a straight thriller or comedy with the right actors and
script, but my main aim and motto is ; to make Sci-fi films that are a new breed
in world sci-fi cinema for the 21stcentury.
10. Have you sold any of your films/movies? If yes, how? If no, why not?
Not yet. Before, I wanted to use the traditional distributors route, but I’m
finding it quicker to distribute it myself, on the internet. I am currently in
the process of setting up selling my film through various online distribution
networks and will be selling Babylon Forces directly through my film company
site – Cosmic Dragon Films.
11. Do you make a living from your craft/passion?
Not at the moment but I hope to in the future.
12. How do you keep motivated?
By keeping myself busy with writing screenplays for mainly feature length
films in my spare time.
13. How would you describe the UK film industry?
It’s got a lot of talented people in it , but we are still basically a
cottage industry in th UK and not churning out loads and loads of movies like we
used to with the Ealing Studios in the 50’s or Hammer House Studios in the 70’s.
Because it’s relativley small compared with the film industry in other major
film territories, there are not enough jobs to go around with more people
wanting to get into and study films , it makes the UK film industry tough to get
14. How would you describe the USA film industry?
The US film Industry is also tough to get into with the obvious larger
population, but they have a studio industry which has been constant since the
20’s, with a staple diet of films being churned out with the A-Listers as well
as a large industry of B movie or straight to DVD film market where actors and
directors alike can cross up and down into.
15. Have you ever visited Cannes, Toronto, AFM, Berlin Film Markets? If
never, when do you plan to?
No, but I plan to within the next year or two, with the first couple of
festivals on my hitlist to be Cannes and one of my favourites that I’d like to
take a film to, the Fantazia Film Festival in Montreal, Canada, which is
recognised as probably the greatest genre film festival in the world.
16. Do you or have you worked with a Sales Agent/Distributor?
I have been in talks with traditional Distributors with my Babylon Forces
movie before I decided to go the online route currently with the film.
17. How would you describe the European, African, Middle Eastern and Asian
film Film Markets?
That’s quite a large market. I’m not too familiar with the Middle Eastern or
African Film markets but I can tell you I draw a lot of inspiration and
motivation from the sheer scale of the Asian market. Take India alone, the
Bollywood film Industry is the biggest in the world surpassing Hollywood. They
make films for breakfast. Then you have China with it’s roster of art house and
now historical Imperial genres coming out in the last two decades. Hong Kong had
all the Kung Fu , cop and gangster genres, and South Korea has surpassed Hong
Kong in the last decade coming out with intelligent thrillers and horrors of
their own. Then you have my personal favourite Japan with it’s various genres,
new take on horrors and and ever expanding anime, fantasy and sc-ifi roster that
can equal any where else for volume ten times over, and are gaining in world
popularity with foreign audiences.
18. Have you established any partnerships with any major players within the
UK, USA Film Industry or elsewhere? How were you able to achieve this? Why
haven’t you achieved this?
Currently I am at the early stages of developing my film links to global
players in the industry here and in the US but I’m working on changing that with
the internet, social networking sites and promoting current films I’ve done.
19. Have you been offered any film distribution deals?
20. Have you got experience of securing investment deals or funding for your
film projects? Or do you work with executive producers/producers in order to
So far I’ve been raising the finance myself to fund my previous film projects
because my motto is why wait for uncertainty with various funding bodies when I
had the capability to fund it myself, the power was in my hands for a certainty
of producing my previous mini-feature. I think you have to have various
approaches to various projects. Babylon Forces was a strictly no to low budget
sci-fi thriller. In the future, the bigger the project, the more amount of money
I need to make a film, I won’t use my own money and finance the traditional way
with production companies and distributors.
21. Have you screened your films at festivals? When, where and how?
I’ve screened my mini feature at a small local festival called the Twisted
Lemon Festival in Bristol together with other filmmakers and artists, where a
collaboration was set up between myself and various artists from the Bristol
area to help put on the event
22. What kind of track record have you personally created as a Director and
Writer of Sci-Fi Fantasy?
For the last several years I’ve collaborated with a variety of various
artists and filmmakers in Bristol and the surrounding areas on writing &
directing my film shorts as well as getting involved in other peoples’ projects
other than my own. As a writer/ director I have written all 7 shorts I’ve
directed which have been a mixture of thrillers, espionage, fantasy and sci-fi,
as well as writing my mini-feature Babylon Forces, I have written five feature
screenplays, all Sci-fi, that ideally I would like to develop and direct in the
23. Would you describe yourself as a frustrated or a successful Film Director
I’d describe myself as a successful film director and writer in that I have
written and directed the films I‘ve wanted to in the style I’ve wanted to with
the music I liked. I guess frustrated in the sense of the time and number of
people it can take to convince of a vision of fantasy /sci fi project. I guess
at the moment it’s a numbers game where I have to reach a number of
opportunities and create a number of opportunities in order to make my hopes and
desires in films an inevitability (rather than an uncertainty.)
24. Where do you fit into the UK film industry with Sci Fi Fantasy??
I would describe myself as a new and upcoming sci-fi film director as I am
new compared to established ilmmakers in the UK Sci-fi film world yet because I
am concentrating solely on sci-fi I have some interesting concepts up my
25. Do you direct other peoples’ films or just your own – and why?
In the past and currently I direct only my own films purely from the fact I
haven’t come across a project I wanted to direct yet but I’m always keeping my
options open and am happy to get involved directing other peoples’ visions which
I think is a good exercise in diplomacy and seeing and creating things from
different perspectives. And I would be open to directing other genres be it
comedy, detective, thrillers and especially horrors which are going through a
resurgence in the last 15 years.
26. Have you sold any film scripts?
Currently not, but have a few I want to send to L.A in the future.
27. Have you found your authentic voice as a film maker or are you still on a
I’m beginning to, it’s hard to see when you’re so close to film projects you
need other people’s opinions for feed back yet you have to stay steadfast in
your ideas when communicating with cast and crew and do not deter too much from
your initial vision unless it makes sense to you. I guess the short answer to
that is that I’m still on a quest to find my authentic voice, I don’t believe
there’s such thing as perfection because there’s always more you can do so I’m
going through an evolutionary stage, you could call me a ‘ work in
28. What do you consider as the way forward for you as a creator/maker of
To keep focusing on the projects I want to do, but also to increase the
number of people I promote, talk and do business with, from a wider variety of
29. What will you be your unique contribution to the world of film?
Well I have a film company called Cosmic Dragon Films which I’m setting up to
provide direction and production of website video content within the corporate,
commercial and independent film sector. Also to provide concept art services to
various filmmakers to help visualise their stories before shooting. To back this
up, I am also selling art from my own art website. With these two sites I plan
to raise finances to make my first sci-fi feature in 2012. This is to ensure
production goes ahead instead of depending on funding. I am taking control and
funding myself to start off with. In the future, Cosmic Dragon Films will
concentrate on producing a slate of good quality Sci fi feature films at a low
budget. Currently I am aiming for a low budget grimey style sci-fi. I would like
to make sci fi films that are entertaining, intelligent and generally push the
Sci- fi genre to new levels.
Contact Rafael Duncan on:
sci-fi & fantasy - R A F A E L D U N C A N a r t