This is a science-fiction feature film being made on a shoestring budget but with resourceful, innovative working methods and an international and multi-disciplinary group of collaborators - from Irish to Japanese, French and Egyptian! It is largely based on the Chinese stories of the Monkey-King, but has been updated to a multi-cultural, fictitious, futuristic environment where the animal and monster characters have been made human. Monkey and Tripitaka, from the original 'Monkey Magic', now take the form of Mei and the Boy with no name. They develop a love story that carries them through a fantastical, fictional world - a city inspired by Heaven and Earth of the Monkey King legends. But there is also an Irish flavour in the mix ! - certain elements have been influenced by Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'. The themes of immortality in Monkey overlap with issues of the 'undead' from the world of the vampire and the film becomes an even broader mix of Asian, Middle Eastern, European and Irish folklore!
This film is being made bit by bit, with actors being filmed in studios in Dublin, and exteriors being filmed in various locations around Japan and Egypt. Although it is being shot digitally, there is little computer technology being applied in the working methods. The film is being made mostly with more traditional photographic techniques and studio practices like back-projection, model work and editing montages with location footage. The cast currently includes French actor Dominique Monot, Egyptian artist Mona Gamil, Japanese artist Junshi Murakami and Irish actress Fionnuala Collins.
It's been shooting on and off for the past year, and although 20 minutes of the film can be assembled, the bulk of principle photography with actors still needs to be done. The project now needs a last push to shoot for a few weeks over the winter to complete this photography and bring it to post-production in the new year and completion by late spring 2012. The result will be a dense tapestry of cultural references in a colourful audio-visual experience with unexpected twists and turns - a film like the mandalas of the cultures from which Monkey sprang, but with an international mix !
Although completing this film has been an ambition of my own for many years, getting it to the final hurdle can be just as satisfying and as much fun for everybody involved! There are a number of ways you can contribute to the film - you can be in it as an extra, you can have a small part, you can even contribute to the soundtrack! Check the rewards below for all the possibilities.
Thanks for reading and I hope you find it interesting and would like to see it finished.