French artist Julien Surdeau has released “Alterify,” a short film made entirely from stock footage that condenses a twisty sci-fi plot and a traveling love story in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also known as Thirsty Bstrd, Julien converted his frustration of being stuck at home into a creative journey of making a short film that plays out almost exactly like a Black Mirror episode.
A multidisciplinary artist who currently lives and works in Paris, Julien said his creative work explores a critical view of social and cultural issues, drawing inspiration from contemporary art and pop culture.
“The starting point was, What if I told a story taking place around the world while I’m stuck at home?“ Julien Surdeau said about the film. “It’s been years since I wanted to shoot a proper short film. The pandemic stomped out my fire, especially since most of my ideas were taking place in the UK or the US. I realized that if I wanted to make it happen anyway, I had to do it by myself, at home.”
Julien said the frustration became the origin of the plot, with the narrative revolving around the topic of “remembering last year as the best time of my life.”
“I worked on a script that would condense a modern sci-fi plot (with a twist), a love story, some of my movie influence, and my state of mind regarding the pandemic – all rolled into in a three-minute short film,” Julien said.
Julien said the use of stock footage was the natural choice since he wanted to tell a big story without stepping outside.
He said he had recently taken a look at stock footage videos online and was surprised by the quality of what he found.
Julien said he had put aside a few shots that caught his attention, thinking it would be a great challenge to try to build a story around stock footage.
“I spent days watching stock footage videos, working on building a narrative consistency. I used computer-generated voices to punctuate the edit so I could rewrite all the time and get an idea of the final cadence. At this stage, the story was still evolving depending on my findings,“ Julien said.
The film’s script, direction, editing, and sound design were all made by Julien. The voice artists were Sammi Price, Bill Mehner, and TofuTehSurvivor.