An expedition into a world where everyone is human, technology is not in any way advanced or ahead of our time and the locations are scenes of everyday life that we are all familiar with. In fact there is no indication that director and writer J.J. Tagle’s short Sci-Fi film Voices from the 25th Hour is a Sci-Fi. With most films labelled with the Sci-Fi genre we expect the clichés such as, people in nylon suits, wielding nifty gadgets and set “In a galaxy far far away”. However this Sci-Fi is in our time and our solar system. Voices from the 25th Hour is a love story that focuses on the deep thoughts of two people and their trip into the 25th hour domain, which leaves time, space and people frozen for an hour except for them. A gift at first that slowly dwells into boredom leaves Chris (George Konstantinopoulos) mindlessly wondering the vast empty streets with frozen pedestrians. Another day another extra hour but a different outcome, a mysterious girl catches the eye of Chris who he falls in love with. As he always finds her in the same location and same pose his mind creates expectations of what she is like which only fuels his determination to find her. However when the frozen hour is over she is nowhere to be seen.
Watching Voices we are constantly driven by a small cast of characters with a much larger concept that drives the short film into the realm of Sci-Fi. With Chris and Hazel (Sofia Stephanou) we journey through the same locations but with a different atmosphere. Chris’s extra hour is during the day so we are exposed to the cold, murky, grey midday winter sky. However Hazel’s hour is focused around the evening, where we are subjected to a neo-noir cinematography with a luxurious fashion runway atmosphere. The dramatic shift from a chromatic, grey scenery of Metallic and Brutalist architecture to a lavish experience of spotlights. Also catwalks are a fine contrasting effect creating the juxtaposing between these two characters.
As a filmmaker what is the key focus that drives your creative inspiration?
J.J. Tagle: My creative inspiration is driven by the thought that every film maker takes the same pieces from the same Lego kit. That every filmmaker creates their own masterpiece with the different materials they take, but it all comes from the same box. So I’m using the same pieces I’m just simply assembling them into my own vision.
In this Lego kit who are the inspirations that become the building block of your vision?
J.J.T: The Lego pieces are Japanese director of anime and former graphic designer Makoto Shinkai, Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, A photographer that is an old friend of mine that truly inspired me as a visual artist in fashion Doc Marlon Pecjo and lastly Lana Del Rey’s Dark Paradise.
Looking at your documentary work Lost in Transgender, It seems that both Lost and Voices have a similar concept an unknown voyage?
J.J.T: Lost In Transgender is journey of a girl that embarks on a road to a world that she doesn’t know much about. The viewers that watch the documentary it seems are very much in the same place. This goes for the same as Voices from the 25th Hour, when two characters are bound by this gift but yet we have no understanding of how or why they have this gift. The story isn’t why they have the gift but rather a voyage that starts into the unknown that leads to a romantic tale between these two people. So we completely forget about the power and focus on their romantic story.
With such a small cast and a journey of the unknown that leads to a romantic tale, what does Chris and Hazel journey mean?
J.J.T: Identity is a key source of a character in a journey for any narrative. While Voices is a journey into destiny the film is also as an idea that of the expectations and creations of what people create for one another without even knowing them. That in Chris’s mind Hazel is the love of his life, even though he has only seen her face but doesn’t actually know her at all. This goes the same for Hazel. It is the expectations we create for other people that we end up preferring the fantasy we create rather the reality.