“Utopia was a pet project that I always intended on making,” says Kosta Nikas when we ask him why he went back to short films after enjoying success with his debut feature, Sacred Heart. It was the first time that I would be making something that has visual effects throughout the entire film. In this first-time experience with VFX, I was faced with many challenges and obstacles in post-production, which impeded the completion of the film.”
It seems that the delay has been worthwhile with Utopia winning the Jury Prize at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival in the US, and Best Comedy at Toronto Shorts Film Festival in Canada. “It is currently in consideration with a dozen other festivals,” says Nikas. “The response from audiences and festival organisers has been very encouraging. We only completed the film in March this year, so it’s still early days. I am being encouraged to explore the possibility of a TV series.”
Can you tell us what inspired you to make Utopia?
Sydney, New South Wales. The increasing encroachment of the Government into our private space and lifestyle; the predatory revenue raising of all layers of government and finally, the punitive spirit that seems to animate most legislation that affects the relationship between the citizen and the State.
I gather you didn’t seek out government funding then?
No. I couldn’t be bothered dealing with bureaucracy, ticking specific boxes we don’t fit in. Too busy trying to make films. Utopia was produced through a hybrid of sources: self-funding, private funds, sponsorship, deferments, and passion.
The film comments on big brother, and governments telling the people what they can and cannot do – did that translate overseas?
On the surface every audience can identify with the dystopian, Big Brother layers of the story. However, at its heart, I’m talking about more than just our relationship with the State and the Technology. It’s about our relationship with each other via the State and Technology.
Have you been to Flickerfest before, and how excited are you about Utopia premiering there?
I attended Flickerfest several years ago as an audience member. This is my first time as a participating filmmaker. I’m quite excited to have Utopia, an Australian production, screen to local audiences through a reputable festival. It’s a great feeling sharing your work with fellow Sydneysiders – like playing in a grand final on home turf!
I am prepping for big budget feature which I’ve been working on for a while. Stay tuned…