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Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #58: Anouk Whissell Brings Post-Apocalyptic Fun With ‘Turbo Kid’

Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #58: Anouk Whissell Brings Post-Apocalyptic Fun With 'Turbo Kid'

In a decimated, post-apocalyptic world (the year is 1997), the orphaned Kid struggles through drought and a nuclear winter, traveling the Wasteland on his BMX, hunting for scraps to trade for a drop to drink. When his always cheerful, pink-haired new best friend Apple is kidnapped by a minion of the evil overlord Zeus, the Kid channels the courage of his comic book hero and prepares to enact justice unto Zeus, his buzzsaw-handed sidekick Skeletron, and their savage masked army.
Complemented by a pitch-perfect synth score and saucy, clever period details, co-directors François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell craft a raucous retro-futuristic action comedy in the tradition of ’80s movies both great and small, adding their own touches with plenty of innovative, spirited violence and gore (brace yourself for disemboweling by exercycle). Sci-fi legend Michael Ironside plays Zeus with delightful malice, creating a despicable villain with both zest and zeal.

What’s your film about in 140 characters or less?

Turbo Kid is a BMX POWERED post-apocalyptic comedic love story with LOTS of splatter.  We always envisioned it to be like some lost crazy movie from an alternate 1980s that’s somehow has just been rediscovered.

Now what’s it REALLY about?

The story is set in 1997. The apocalypse has left the world in permanent nuclear winter. A lonely orphan called The Kid roams the wasteland on his BMX scavenging. His world is turned upside down, when he meets into the mysterious girl named Apple. Just as The Kid warms up to her, she’s kidnapped by the sadistic leader of the Wasteland – Zeus. The Kid must confront his fears and get ready for the biggest challenge of his life which is to rid the Wasteland of evil and save the girl of his dreams.

Tell us briefly about yourself.

We’re a collective of filmmakers based in Montreal called RKSS. We’ve been co-writing and co-directing as a team for over 10 years, making more than 20 short films, and participating in genre film festivals around the world.

Biggest challenge in completing this film?

The biggest challenge was the weather. The film was originally set in a hot and dusty wasteland, but in 2014, Quebec had it’s worst spring of the last 50 years. And on the first day of the shoot, we woke up in a snow storm. We ended up shooting in ‐20 C temperatures. So we had to change the setting to a world affected by a nuclear winter.

What do you want Sundance audience to take away from your film?

We want our audience to go along for the ride, to cheer for our heroes and be entertained. If they walk out at the end with a smile on their face, and their hearts pounding, we’ll know we’ve succeeded!

Any films inspire you?

“BMX Bandits” – primarily for it’s costumes, the plastic-like colour palette and its friendship story; “The Road Warrior” – for it’s landscapes, action and post- apocalyptic scenario; “Cherry 2000” – for it’s sweet cheesiness and love story; Peter Jackson’s “Braindead” – for it’s slapstick practical gore effects; and the ridiculousness of Italian post- apocalyptic films. To all of this we added our own signature of dark humour and action sequences filled with our style and rhythm.

What’s next?

We’ve got tons of ideas, some projects in development. Our goal is really to never stop creating and making movies. This is our true passion!

What cameras did you shoot on?

The movie was mainly shot with an Alexa, though we have some pick ups and rig shots done with a Sony FS600 and a Red Epic.

Did you crowdfund?
If so, via what platform.

Turbo Kid wasn’t crowdfunded. 

If not, why?

Because it was financed by Telefilm Canada, Tax Credits and the New Zealand Film Commission. We also have two distributors in Canada and an International Sales Agent in the US, so it just didn’t come into the plan.

Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2015 festival. For profiles go HERE.

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