Directed by French composer turned filmmakers Cyril Morin, this unique romance had it’s market debut in Berlin at the European Film Market. The film was produced by Paris-based company Media in Sync. Rights for all territories are still available.
Here is the official synopsis:
“Hacker’s Game” is a love story between two hackers, Soyan and Loise.
Like many other hackers, Soyan works for a company he previously hacked. This “online security” firm runs covert activities for high-profile clients around
Loise is a cyber-detective who investigates war crimes for a human rights organization. Obsessed with the truth, she also has spent years searching for an
The two hackers meet on a rooftop and bond together through a virtual chess game.
But Soyan’s employer, Russell Belial, has asked him to protect the same arms-dealer that Loise is determined to help to capture.
Who will call the game now? What is Soyan’s real goal?
The pair embarks upon an intense but dangerous romance, playing an elaborate game of deception.
After being in a virtual world, will Soyan and Loise risk everything for true love?
Here is a recent interview with director Cyril Morin
How did you develop the story for “Hacker’s Game”?
After I shot my first feature film, The Activist, which took place in 1973, I wanted to direct a contemporary story with young people trying to
connect emotionally in the wired world of Internet and smartphones. I wanted to do something with timely significance just a couple years in the
I also was following how the media depicts hackers. The most common news story revolves around whether they are heroes or traitors. However, I was more
interested in their motivations. What drives an intelligent young person to spend all his time hacking into a top-secret database to reveal something to
the public? Why have several young hackers died just before they planned to release information?
Is the film a techno-thriller or a love story?
The film is a love story at first. The “techno thriller” is more the background of the film. However, technology plays a big part in the love story. It is
the only means for Loise and Soyan to come together. They have difficulty expressing their feelings directly because computers mediate everything they do.
So they use technology as a shield to hide behind, staying on the Internet to avoid the real world. Their relationship begins as a sort of game as they
court each other through a virtual chess simulator. Real love is a new feeling for them. Soyan and Loise eventually break through into reality and discover
themselves. But it might be too late…
How does your view of the Internet shape the film?
As with many people, the Internet has become a basic part of my life. However, I am not unaware of how it can distort reality. Online information can be
faked and manipulated. How do we believe what we are reading? I am suspicious of anything I can’t confirm from multiple reliable sources.
Nowadays, there is a lot of controversy about how big companies like Google or Facebook spy on their users and this is quite an important theme in the
I am scared about a future where facts can be changed for political gain or to manipulate people. We already know how leaders rewrite history quite
Tell us about the look of the movie.
I decided from the very beginning never to put a computer display on screen. By not providing that visual aid, the viewer is forced to focus on the
characters and everything that is happening offline. Visually, I represent the Internet with sequences in the film in which terabytes of data flow
through cables. We also have graphics that represent data clouds when text messages are sent. These elements show how technology has become more virtual
I experimented with black light during certain sequences where Loise and Soyan put on these virtual reality cyber-glasses. I wanted to set apart these
scenes in a tangible way for the audience. We don’t know what they are seeing through the glasses. It could be a battlefield, an erotic game, or both.
The look is styled like a comic book with a more digital, futuristic edge. With Pitof, we experienced with a lot of innovative visual textures for the
movie during post-production.
How did you work with the actors?
It was a very interesting process. Though I wanted to work again with actors I worked with before, the biggest challenge was finding the leads for Soyan
and Loise. After completing the script, I found Soyan among 2500 headshots. With Chris Schellenger (from Paul Schrader’s “The Canyons”), we did a
lot of workshopping to develop the character of Soyan.
For Loise’s character, I looked at some French actresses in Los Angeles but none of them quite worked for various reasons. It drove me crazy. Then, by
chance, I met Pom Klementieff (Old Boy, Spike Lee) at a friend’s dinner party. It took only a few days for me to come back and cast her. Then I
discovered her own biography was very close to that of Loise’s character. When I put Chris and Pom together to rehearse a scene, I knew I had my couple.
I spent three months on pre-production so we could do a lot of rehearsals. Then I rewrote a lot of the script based on it. Actually, that was a benefit for
the crew on the shoot because we already figured out the scene through the rehearsal process.
Tell us about shooting “Hacker’s Game.
I feel I didn’t shoot a movie as much as I hacked a movie. Movies usually involve a heavy footprint. But digital technology is changing
everything. We had a small crew that took on an ambitious shooting schedule. Mobility was key because we had such a crazy schedule (we shot around seven
scenes a day). Besides an efficient team, the Canon C300 camera helped a great deal. It works in low light so we didn’t need a lot of huge lighting gear.
How did you work with the crew?
Romain Wilhelm is a young talented DP. Hacker’s Game was his first feature film. It was important to me to have a lot of young people in the crew
so they could be on the same wavelength with the story. It was a bit of a “rock’n’roll” set and we had a lot of laughs as well as some tense moments.
The crew also was geographically diverse. Besides Americans, we had people from France, Japan, Romania, Belgium, Israel, Korea, etc… Just like the
Internet, there were no borders. Amza Moglan, the second unit camera on the film, finished the edit after some difficulties with the first cut. Amza got
all the emotional textures I wanted in the film and knew all the shots perfectly since he was on set for the entire shoot.
What about the music? You are also a film composer.
From the very beginning I planned to use music from a Los Angeles band “Seven Saturday.” I needed a fresh sound and real songs to go to with the love
story. I remixed their songs to fit with the soundtrack and I did the rest of the score myself. It took me a long time to find the right feeling for the
soundtrack. You know what an orchestra will sound like but you have to invent all the sounds with electronic music. I had a very precise idea how to mix
those sounds with electric guitars. But there is no code and no rules. I had to reinvent my own music.
“I feel I didn’t shoot a movie as much as I hacked a movie”.
About the Director
became a director on the side of a successful international career as a film composer with almost 100 soundtracks to his name. His music has won awards at
numerous festivals and received acclaim from the international press. Among many honors, he was a nominee at the European Film Awards, the World Soundtrack
Award and recently at the Jerry Goldsmith Awards.
He naturally became familiar with how films are produced and directed. He produced music videos before proceeding to direct his first short film Homere (1995) with footage from film archives. He also co-wrote and produced a documentary The Spirit of the Water (1995), a tribute to
the Surfrider Foundation.
In 2011, he directed the short film The Application Cafe. Shot in the Californian desert, the sci-fi drama is a mythological interpretation of
In 2012, he wrote and directed The Activist, a thriller about political unrest by Native Americans at Wounded Knee. With nods to Brando, Nixon,
and Vietnam, the film recreates the paranoid culture of the 1970s. This movie has already screened at festivals in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Stuttgart,
Sedona and Byron Bay, Australia.
He recently completed his second feature film, “Hacker’s Game” (2013), a love story between two cyber-adventurers, starring Pom Klementieff (Spike
Lee’s “Old Boy”) , Chris Schellenger (Paul Schrader’s “The Canyons”) and King Orba (“3:10 to Yuma”).
/ Feature Film, 2014, France/U.S.A. (Director, Writer, Producer)
/ Feature Film, 2013, France/ U.S.A. (Director, Writer, Producer)
American Indian Film Festival/ USA (Best feature film & Two Best Actor Nominations) – Valley Film Festival, North Hollywood/ USA – Das Nordamerika Film
Festival – Stuttgart/ Germany (Best feature film nomination) – Sedona Film Festival, USA – Byron Bay Film Festival, Australia
“The Application Cafe”
/ Short Film, 2012, U.S.A. (Director, Writer, Producer)
USA Film Awards, Dallas (Finalist) – Holly shorts Film Festival, Los Angeles – Short Film Corner, Cannes Film Festival –