In this new project laying bare the omnipotent power of technology in our personal lives, Californian director Mishka Kornai challenges the traditional narrative short by combining it with performance art, original costume, still photography and urban exploration.
The film’s leading characters are five visually unsettling non-terrestrial beings living in segregated sections of an underground bunker. Their outward appearance, which took the film’s costume team six months to build, resemble creatures made of party streamers, cardboard polyhedrons, humanoids in gilded or aristocratic dress, and a malformed quadruped with a beaded face.
These extraordinary creatures’ only interactions take place on a digital interface. Using alien runes they either swipe, like, sort or rate each other from afar. “The seemingly benign and even desirable filtration of the information we consume every day is creating environments and communities that are successively smaller and more homogenous,” Kornai comments.
Filtrate’s sterile subterranean setting, shot in Montréal’s subway system, acts as a visual counterweight to the film’s kaleidoscopic grouping of characters. “Montréal’s metro system was the central inspiration for the project. The design of the costumes, the shot choices, and even the structure of the story itself were all shaped by it,” the filmmaker explains.
Kornai’s public profile rose in 2018 after directing John Legend’s music video, A Good Night, which was commended for being entirely shot on the Google Pixel 2 phone. As well as founding the LA smartphone filmmaking collective Pickpocket, Lucas continues to show his dedication to guerrilla filming projects by shooting Filtrate on an iPhone 7. The pioneering director comments, “The digital spaces we inhabit today are increasingly personalized as technology improves to serve our individual desires.”