Lucas Hrubizna brings dark sensations with Big Brother

What if, one day, you feel like you’re being followed?

Lucas Hrubizna, a fourth year film production student, felt as though he was being followed when he drove down a darkened Marine Drive one night. This sensation became the inspiration for his final film at UBC, Big Brother.

Hrubizna, along with his producer David Findlay, his other producer and production designer Patty Facy and his cinematographer and editor Blake Davey, began his five day shoot in late January at mostly on-campus locations, such as Totem Park and the highways near the university.

Now, moving into post-production, they’ve recently held a successful Kickstarter campaign, reaching their goal of $3,000, which will go toward professional sound mixing, colour grading and promotion.

Big Brother is a surrealist and dark drama about Troy, a youth pastor and former Christian rocker, who obsessively follows his favourite youth group member, Michael, off to college in order to secure Michael’s devotion to God and Troy. Based partially on Hrubizna’s own experience at a biblical skateboard camp, the film explores the potential disconnect between ideology and behaviour. Having both to illustrate this surrealist grey area between ideals and reality and to create a heavy and suspenseful aesthetic, Hrubizna and his team realized early on that professional post-production development would be crucial to their vision.

“The film has a lot of focus in terms of design and colour, so we really wanted to make sure we could bring that to life,” said Hrubizna.

Though the film production program does not provide funding to students for their films, many students like Hrubizna and his team have become quite resourceful and innovative, refusing to let the lack of funding stand as an obstacle to making their film the way they would like to. Money from students’ own pockets and alternative funding options such as the online platform, Kickstarter, have helped students make their visions come true.

“There’s not a lot of places you can sell [short films].... For us, our major goal is to just get [Big Brother] into the world through festivals.”

Fortunately, Hrubizna has experience in the Canadian festival circuit. His short film from 2014, Hard Card, was featured at the Montreal Film Festival and became a part of the omnibus film, We Both Go Down Together, which was screened at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Being ready to fund new ideas and attract an audience dedicated to quality filmmaking, festivals have recently become ideal spots for up-and-coming filmmakers, innovative filmmaking techniques and unique stories.

“There’s a tone and a feeling that sort of grabbed me with this [film] … [at biblical skateboard camp] they pull up these little pocket bibles so you can take them with you when you were skateboarding and stuff…. I think that religion adapts itself to the modern world, and sometimes those ways just happen to feel really incongruous and amusing to me,” said Hrubizna when asked about his motivations behind making the particular story of Big Brother.

Hrubizna often develops his projects by starting with an image or sensation from a real life experience and building the story around that. Though Big Brother is a fictional narrative, Hrubizna’s long term goals for post post-secondary are to make documentaries, which, for him, reveal a spectrum of eccentricities, motivations and character traits, all found in our real world.

“The world has all the characters that don’t need to be written.”

In that case, there are potentially seven billion individual stories in this world just waiting to be transcribed to film along with all the stories our imaginations have to offer. This would make the tremendous work of filmmakers, with all its funding networks and technical advances and complex storytelling, seem impressive but daunting. For filmmakers like Hrubizna, however, passion might be a lot simpler.

“For me, films are about feeling and images, that’s how I enjoy them and that’s how I make them.”