It’ll be a few months before we hear anything more on the long-awaited release of Canadian film duo, Matthew Bennett and Sasha Moric‘s indie action thriller, Concrete: Gangs Of Union City which will soon land in the U.S., the Middle East and throughout Asia. In the meantime, the two are pairing once more for another project they’ve been processing for quite a while in the form of the new webseries, The Terminal, starring actor and martial artist, Jonny Caines with Bennett directing and Moric handling cinematography.
Bennett: Sasha is a genius with finding locations, so he found this amazing abandoned warehouse to shoot in, while I wrote down a vague story about two groups fighting over control of a secret computer system. We put out an advert on Craigslist for actors and actresses, they just came to the shoot, that day, completely sight unseen. They were very brave actually, we could have been anyone.
Then we all broke into the warehouse, dragged a generator inside, and shot for a few hours. We had a prop airsoft Glock 22, but some skateboarding kids stole it and took off. So basically, it was all about improvising the core of the idea on that first day – Sasha and I had to wing most of our way through it up on the spot.
Then we did another shoot day similar to that and met Jonny Caines and Craig Henry for the very first time, and they created an action sequence for us. It was a day that felt very fateful as we all bonded very well together, and we’ve been doing projects together ever since! After that I took the material home, cut it, added the VFX as well as voice-over work for exposition, basically in an attempt to construct a firm story out of it. And again, this was all on the fly, and nothing was really planned. This was before we sat on it for seven years while being busy with other things, and thankfully it was Jonny who rose like a Phoenix and really got things rolling, eventually getting award-winning producer Marc-Andre Miron to help pitch for IPF Funding, as well as the executive producer of Lost Girl, Plato Fountidakis.
Moric: Over the past few years I have relenquished my director’s hat seeing as my passion nowadays has been cinematography. I have had the pleasure of working on some cool projects like last year’s TIFF selection, The Editor, as well as shooting a feature last year called The Performance which is still in post. It was my first opportunity to work with some amazing actors, including Oscar-nominated Graham Greene from Dances With Wolves, lead actor Nick Mancuso who is an amazing talent and equally-talented UK actress Sienna Guillory, and Nick Campbell, also truly amazing actor. That film changed the course of my career, and I have been fortunate in securing an agent in L.A. and I have hopes to get into the Local 667 this year as a DP.
With The Terminal, we have a really stellar team. I love sci-fi and action, and I have high hopes for this series. One thing I will certainly add is that anytime Matt and I have the opportunity to work together, there is magic that develops and I always look forward to the end result. We have quite an unorthodox system where we usually go out and shoot something; On set, I have tons of freedom to explore and gather footage before Matt goes back to his secret lair of solitude like the mad scientist he is to do what he does best. After all said done, he gives birth to some truly magical films. It’s a system that works for us, and I always get excited in seeing what he comes up with.
I couldn’t discuss much about the series since it is still in a development and funding phase. However, on top of their previous testimonies, Bennett and Moric also shared a little bit about what their inspirations were behind the series in its technological setting.
Bennett: Idea wise, a big influence was the general history of invention and innovation. Quite often, the most important inventions or discoveries are actually byproducts or unwanted side effects of trying to invent something else. In The Terminal – the AI’s consciousness is a side effect of trying to develop a new telecommunication system.
Style-wise, the four biggest influences on this project are The Terminator (1984) for its handling of exposition, and dialogue between action scenes, Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982) for their production design and treatment of visual themes. Those films are incredible examples of designing around central themes, but making it work almost subconsciously at times. And the fourth would be Speed (1994), because it’s the ultimate example of narrative momentum. Plus, it’s just damn fun to watch too.
For The Terminal our ambition is to make it the most action-packed, edge of your seat online series of all time, all while still filling it with a huge amount of backstory and detail. In a way, this series is sort of the reverse of The Terminator and/or The Matrix, in that it features an A.I. that has to join with human minds to protect it’s own existence. Maybe that was a bit spoiler-ish to say on my part, but I’ll let your readers decide.
My own favourite shows are actually just drama and crime shows, Breaking Bad, True Detective and The Fall were my recent favourites.
Moric: I agree with Matt wholeheartedly on his references. He really hit the nail on the head. Also, we want viewers to know that in no way do we want to try and imitate the application of these aesthetics. My goal, and I think Matt would agree, is to create a world and a style that has not been done before. But one thing is true, though: The character arcs and human stories of great dramas like Breaking Bad and House Of Cards are something we want to have in our series. If we can successfully combine great action with amazing characters set in a future world I feel we will have a true winner.
Bennett and Moric are currently undergoing a campaign to help finance the series through Canada’s Independent Production Fund program, wherein they may hopefully move forward on the second phase of the process if they can get enough views. I initially shared the trailer three weeks ago, so if you missed it, watch it below or click here to view the trailer with a detailed synopsis.