When people think of sci-fi, films such as Star Wars, Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey immediately come to mind. These gems have stood the test of time and not only entertained millions but also inspired a new generation of filmmakers. One of those filmmakers is Australian writer, director and producer John V. Soto, whose latest film The Gateway is a more than a worthy addition to the genre.
The Gateway, starring Jacqueline McKenzie and Myles Pollard traces the story of a particle physicist still grieving the loss of her husband in a car crash who then travels to a parallel world to find him again, with dire consequences for all concerned.
Selected for a number of film festivals, including acclaimed genre festival FilmQuest, the Austin Revolution Film Festival where it won Best Film and John won Best Director, and the local Sci Fi Festival 2017. In the process, The Gateway has earned positive reviews and the buzz is starting to build.
Soto, who wrote the film with Michael White, previously directed The Reckoning, Needle and Crush, creating a mini genre film industry in his home state of Western Australia; yet he has really gone up a gear with The Gateway. The hypnotic film looks like a $10 million production and the set design and score are key features of the film.
Yet it is Soto’s storytelling ability and the performances of seasoned actors McKenzie and Pollard that steal the show. McKenzie, a veteran of Australian film and television, who also worked extensively in the US, is captivating as Jane Chandler, the struggling widow. But it is Pollard who helps carry the film with a stirring performance as Matt Chandler. The support cast includes Shannon Berry, Hayley McElhinney, Ben Mortley and upcoming talent Ryan Panizza.
“I’m super proud of my cast and crew and what we have achieved on a modest budget. I’m looking forward to the release in 2018,” says Soto.
For AFI Award winner McKenzie, The Gateway signals somewhat of a return to the limelight, with a number of other projects on her slate including another sci-fi feature, Occupation, the Aussie YA drama Harmony which is currently in post, along with the new Romper Stomper television series, in which she reprises her star-making role.
Pollard, meanwhile has been slowly but surely building a solid career for the last 20 years right in front of our eyes; from features such as Drift, which he also produced, to the critically acclaimed Jasper Jones.
Like the best sci-fi, The Gateway is grounded in the real world; a cautionary tale with similarities to the cult hit, The Butterfly Effect, with the moral to the story a geo-political warning given the current climate – just because you can, and it may seem like a good idea to alter your path or go back into the past, doesn’t mean one should. Then again if we ever learnt from history, it wouldn’t have to repeat itself and we wouldn’t have dystopian gems like this!
The Gateway is in cinemas May 3, 2018.