Fan art can take a lot of forms — short stories online, a reddit feed, sketches, Etsy crafts. But when you’re a creative director and artist, your ambition gets a bit of a boost and you probably end up doing something bigger. It’s fair to say that was the experience of filmmaker Danil Krivoruchko, whose short film BLINDSIGHT is a non-commercial, self-funded homage to the novel of the same name by Canadian sci-fi Peter Watts.
BLINDSIGHT shares the insights of Siri Keeton, a transhuman “synthesist” who can read the intentions of others, in the wake of first contact between Earthers and aliens. The film features stunning visuals that you could easily expect to see transformed into a feature film or a series.
Danil made BLINDSIGHT with the help of nearly thirty other artists from around the globe between 2016 and 2020, and was totally self-funded, a remarkable achievement. Here, he shares some insights into the making of his film.
What inspired the making of BLINDSIGHT, the film?
After I read the novel Blindsight, I felt as though I had already seen the movie inside my head. (Author) Peter Watts has a lot of extremely detailed descriptions of specific scenes and objects in his novel, so it wasn’t hard to imagine.
I wasn’t striving to make a whole film. Originally, the idea was to create a couple of images for the gallery on Peter’s personal website. But gradually, little by little the project has been expanding, and the result is the film we have today.
What do you enjoy most about sci-fi, especially Peter Watts’ novel?
I love reading about worlds that are different from ours but are structured according to their own internal logic. It is fascinating when an author really thinks through all the details. He makes you understand why he created this new world in this particular way and analyzes the consequences of change that might restructure the world we live in.
Not every author is that meticulous, but Watts is definitely one of them. While reading, I kept thinking how awesome his way of thinking is. I would never consider this perspective, but this totally makes sense.
How did you approach keeping the film consistent with the novel?
I reread the whole book six times and then some. I had to be absolutely sure I didn’t miss anything and that I was visualizing all the details according to the text as much as possible.
What was it like to collaborate with Peter Watts?
Peter was involved practically from the very beginning. Periodically, I would send some of our work to him, and he would give his feedback and answer our questions about the text. Four to five times a year, I would send him our work and explain which direction we were planning to proceed in, while also making sure we were getting everything right. You can see his reaction here.
How did you fund the film?
This actually was the easy part. This was a non-profit project from the beginning because we did not want any issues with the copyright holders. So basically, our film is just a huge fan-art project, and consequently we didn’t have any issues with financing the project.
Without a budget, how did the VFX get made?
Obviously, creating good quality computer animation is a very laborious process. Though we didn’t spend any money, we spent a tremendous amount of time. I am so grateful to the nearly thirty professionals who agreed to help with solving some problems when my own expertise wasn’t enough.
What do you hope to see happen next with the film?
The main goal was to attract as much attention to the novel as possible. I truly believe it deserves a much wider audience. If as a result, some producer will stumble upon it and decide to make a full feature film (or even better, a show) in the Blindopraxia universe—that would be amazing. And if they decide that they want me to participate, I am definitely not going to say “no” to that.
Where can people go to learn more about the film?
On our BLINDSIGHT website, you can find a lot of additional materials on the making of the film, and even some correspondence with Peter Watts, including a mini-interview with him. So if someone’s interested to find out more about the process, there’s a lot to explore.
In the past 17 years of his experience, creative director and motion designer Danil Krivoruchko (pronounced kri-va-rúch-ko) has collaborated with multiple clients such as Apple, Nike, Boeing, Verizon, and Intel, to name a few. Danil specializes in direction and procedural design using Houdini. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York and is available for freelance.