In the city of Los Angeles, after a late night party, a group of friends are awoken in the dead of the night by an eerie light beaming through the window. Like moths to a flame, the light source is drawing people outside before they suddenly vanish into the air. They soon discover an other-worldly force is swallowing the entire human population off the face of the earth. Now our band of survivors must fight for their lives as the world unravels around them.
Skyline is a sci-fi thriller, made as a completely in-house production by the Brothers Strause, whose company, Hydraulx, created the visual effects for films including Avatar, X-Men-3, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and 300.
Colin and Greg Strause, collectively known as the Brothers Strause, have been excelling in the world of visual effects since their teens. They began their careers crafting VFX for music videos and commercials and went on to created their firm, Hydraulx, as a full-service VFX house.
In 2009 a discussion grew over lunch with friends and co-workers about the sort of production the team could produce if it was created entirely in-house.
Liam O'Donnell, a frequent writer of the Brothers Strause music videos and commercials, said: "We were trying to figure out what we could do with our own cameras and other equipment, and we had just shot a music video with longtime animation supervisor of Hydraulx, Joshua Cordes, at Hydraulx studio. The brothers own all these great spaces, and we had these awesome cameras and wondered what we could do to take advantage of that. We realised Greg had this amazing view of the city, and our story quickly became the end of the world outside of his window."
It turned out that Joshua had written a horror screenplay which he shared with his longtime collaborators. Explains Cordes: "While I was writing that script, I gave it to Liam to get his thoughts. Then he started giving me his scripts, and we began a working relationship. When the brothers suggested doing something internally, Liam approached me about joining forces and tackling this project."
Director Colin Strause explained: "It's a visually powerful epic alien-abduction movie with a great character story and heart. The premise is mass abduction on a global scale. For example, most people driving on a freeway who see an accident would look at the wreck. If some entity used these instinctual weaknesses against us, then it would wipe us out instantly. The event makes everyone equal. Everything flatlines at that point, and they are trying to survive what could be the end of the Earth."
Greg Strause added: "One of the reasons we embarked upon Skyline was that in this day and age, movie budgets have become enormous. At the same time, movie studios have generally been cutting down the number of films they make. We were just at the boiling point. We said, ‘We're going to shoot a movie ourselves.' Skyline has gone from concept to release date in less than a year."
To prove that Skyline could be done on the budget and with the schedule they imagined, the production team put a teaser trailer together in a one-day shoot and acquired the necessary financing for a full film (and international presales) at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2010. Explains Greg Strause: "We told our investors, ‘Well here you go! That was a one-day shoot, so check out this teaser.' Everyone was sold and believed we could do it."
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Check out the official site for further Skyline niftiness: http://www.hopscotchfilms.com.au/skyline-movie
Skyline opens in cinemas in Australia on November 11th, in the UK & US on November 12th, and in New Zealand on December 2nd.