Production Talk - 'V1k1' by Tzang Merwyn Tong

V1k1 is A Techno Fairytale is an indie Sci Fi Thriller set in a modern-day alternate universe. It tells the story of Gabriel, a human scientist and his obsession to prove the existence of fairies. By accident, he captures one of them in his laboratory, and gets invited into a dimension beyond his dreams.


Hi Merwyn, what was the inspiration behind this film?

I have this idea that fairies could still be living among us. They existed in the time of Shakespeare, existed in folklore and in the minds of writers, why not in this modern world? If so, in what space, and what shape could they take the form of? And then I thought about the old Sci Fi films that I love.

In the 70s, Sci Fi films are made with a fraction of today’s Hollywood budget, but they are just as powerful and immersive. As a storyteller, I choose to believe that it is not the budget, but the IMAGINATION, that counts. So there, I did it, a lo-budget Sci Fi Thriller. I'm curious to see if it'll work.

What did you go about casting? Was there a particular look you were looking for?

I was looking for actors who could add that special something that I cannot think of to make V1k1 work. Actors with an imagination of their own to go crazy with mine. My choice to play the title character is Leanna Tan, an actress which I met during an audition for a different project. She has that Alien auality about her.

Did you managed to get any help? In terms of financial and crew support?

We owe it to the management of ITE College West who gave V1K1 their full support to realize this hard-to-imagine project. The crew is made up mostly of ITE students, aka The Dreammakers, touching lights and camera on a real film set for the first time. Guided by their lecturers and some of my friends in the profession, we manage to get this Sci Fi film prepared, shot, and later edited, with visual effects support from ITE staff.

Any interesting anecdotes to share about the production?

The shooting of this was surreal. We knew the odds were against us. Many thought that a film like that is not going to work. But amazing things happen, when you have faith. We band together, staff, crew, students, and called ourselves The Dreammakers. The sense of responsibility entrusted to my crew of 16 year olds, gave them the motivation to do their very best, so as to make it work. We're all afraid to screw it up, and it is not my intention to go cheesy, just because we don't have the mega-budgets to work with. So we did what we can.

At the end of the day, not only did everybody (myself included) learn something, we all got a product which we dare say we're proud of.

What were your biggest challenges in making this film?

This biggest challenge is brought out by me, myself, and that is to chose, from the very beginning, to work on a Sci Fi film in spite of the budget and my student crew. I like to take risks, to try the impossible, to risk failure, for a chance for everyone to learn. I'm glad that we were all brave enough to dream together.

I've one thing to say about the students of ITE. Whatever they lack in experience, they make it up in spirit!

Any future plans?

I am planning my magnum opus, The FRVL Project - a Fight Club meets Romeo + Juliet type film. And I'm working hard to get it off the ground. Any investors out there keen to support?

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