Justin Price is a Director whose latest film is a horror/science fiction movie about humans fighting aliens on a distant planet in order to restore a dying earth to its former glory. Justin has been creating digital content for more and a decade, having started at the young age of eighteen. In 2013, he started his own studio called “Pickhure Zero Entertainment” that currently have several projects in the works. Justin recently discussed his career and hopes for the future.

Origins of making movies

Meagan Meehan (MM): What prompted you to enter the field of film and why did you gravitate towards directing?

Justin Price (JP): Growing up we used to record family videos on home video cameras Canon HV20’s and they took MiniDV tapes. I remember taking the camera and using it to do all my homework because I hated writing papers. So, I would act and play all the roles in a film because as kids everyone was too shy to get in front of the camera. And that is what I would do instead of homework or ten-page essays. I would turn in a DVD of whatever current event and try and make it relevant to the course.

Now with the technological advancements and digital platforms sort of destroying conventional wisdom, I am much more comfortable as a true multi-hyphenate. Which is a great buzz-word but what it means is at Pikchure Zero Entertainment everyone is efficient in all aspects of creation.

Khu, Deanna Grace Congo, David Cazares, Melissa Vega, J.D. Ellis, and Lisa May and the rest of my team are all true creators. And when you are working with a visionary like Keith Leopard who has been in the industry for over twenty years, you have to be flexible and innovative with the type of projects you present. We have produced Romantic Comedies, Sci-fi, Horror, and Christian films all over a three-year span.

When I first came to Los Angeles I didn’t think there was room for so many avenues of creative expression. So, having the skills to write, edit, produce, and act has become a mainstay for me. And it helps me stay creatively motivated that we can do what we are passionate about and that’s why I love film, the art. It is a collaborative moving piece of vision.

MM: How many films have you directed and do you have any favorite genres?

JP: I have directed eight films since 2012. The goal for me is to do everything I want to leave for the world. I don’t want to leave any creative ideas untouched. Doing things that scare me are the most rewarding. Before “Alien: Reign of Man” I had never created a creature from scratch before. I had never been to Iceland or Ireland or Germany before. I had never hired people to make armor with working parts.

Most of the films I have done blend and mix genres. The first film “The Cloth” is about a church organization that goes from door to door removing the devil’s minions and they receive their information from a possessed girl who has aged for 500 years beneath the church.

I wanted to create the world within our world but base it on historical facts and sort of ground it into fantasy. “Dark Moon Rising” is a werewolf film with a lot of Anime influences. The characters talk inside of their heads and the action is over the top like an episode of your favorite MANGA. That is at its core my staple. I love fantasy and sci-fi and nestled within there I love romance. I believe we are all hopeless romantics at heart.

MM: What most interested you about "Alien: Reign of Man"?

JP: It’s an opportunity to create a unique narrative for space exploration. This idea that a comet is housing billions of years of data and it’s essentially the world’s USB drive floating from galaxy to galaxy is intriguing to me. I have played with these concepts since I was little and as it is with art, there are a lot of similarities with other auteurs.

To have our universe depicted as a living and breathing conscious thought, where else but the film could we have explored that with our characters. People forget that the Wright brothers weren’t the only ones trying to invent a flying contraption, they were just the most successful. So as the indie artist most of the time we run into this wall surrounded by the lack of resources to tell our stories and luckily with the technology we are getting closer and closer to executing those ideas before a major studio produces something with similar themes with a larger budget.

It is about the human race sending a creature to far-reaching parts of the world in an attempt to terraform a new home. I wanted to create a sense of human empathy and dissonance by allowing the characters to represent the last of humanity.

A group of special people who are immune to Terminus, a virus plaguing our known world. Zan, played by Khu, does a phenomenal job in leading the film and taking us on that journey. I also love that women are in all of the most important positions in this universe. The viceroy, played by Torrei Hart, all the way to the scientists and governing body officials. There are two guys in the whole movie. I also love the fact that we have a diverse cast and it has been something we have done at Pickhure Zero Entertainment since our inception in 2013. These moving components help shape and mold the “Reign of Man” universe. A story at its core revolving around two species evolving and fighting for survival.

MM: How long did the film take to complete and what was it like creating the sets?

JP: We tackled two major components with a sense of the unknown. We traveled to Iceland and Germany and Ireland to name a few, just to location scout. The problem with that scenario is we couldn’t location scout and then come home if something didn’t go to plan. Given our shooting schedule and the unpredictable nature of the winter, certain countries yielded more of a challenge than others. It also gave us a unique opportunity to scout areas we wouldn't normally have considered. For example, in Iceland, we had never been there and it's truly a wonder and every stretch of land is truly breathtaking, but if you drive four hours in either direction, you could run into a location that fits the description of the different scene. Which sounds great in theory but those locations weren't listed on the tourist map anywhere.

It’s almost as if we were discovering this new world. So, we got together as a unit and decided to use this sense of discovery to help unfold the story!

Our clearances allowed us a bit of free range to shoot where we saw the fittest. This helped a lot with character building. It was a nightmare for the production team to drive tons of equipment and light stands and bounce all over five countries. We truly swung for the fences with this film when it comes to production design and wardrobe and VFX. I mean we had to develop a creature and then integrate wardrobe and find something that fit this sort of otherworld approach. It would have been easier to just shoot in Palmdale and put a rock on it and call it Mars but we try not to let budgets stop us from stretching our imaginations.

We were able to turn the entire movie from concept to screen around in five months.

Experiences and the future

MM: Do you have any super cool stories from behind-the-scenes?

JP: When we first got to our hotel it was night time. The sun only lasted four hours a day during the winter so when we unpacked it was pitch black. I remember us waking up in the morning to go to set and everyone losing their minds because there was this large mountain right outside our window! That’s how dark it was in Iceland at night. We also were shooting on this beach and lost a few things to the ocean current. We had a grip almost get pulled under in what is called a “sneaker wave” because he thought it was regular waves hitting the shore. We luckily were able to pause and notice that the waves weren’t coming to shore because there was a stiff angle declining down which wasn’t visible to the eye!

It was quite an experience.

MM: What are your upcoming projects and what are some of your primary goals for the future?

JP: We have a film called “Almost Amazing” that is a romantic comedy cast by my late friend Reno Rankin. I can’t wait to showcase one of the last films that have his great energy behind it. It is released October 6, 2017, on iTunes, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Vudu. It will also be released on DVD on January 28, 2018. We are following that up with an untitled Christmas movie to be released later this year. We are also working on an eight-episode television series for a huge company and that show will be called “Reapers” which will be a sci-fi/fantasy show based of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

MM: Can you offer any words of advice to aspiring directors and is there anything else that you would like to mention?

JP: The industry is in the Wild Wild West stage right now. It is a great time to unshackle your minds and just execute what you are passionate about; us multi-hyphenates are the new wave of filmmakers. We are excited to expand upon our relationship with one of the premiere distributors in Uncork’d Entertainment. And we are so excited for the TV episodic “Reapers.” My manager Shaun Cairo at Shakir Entertainment has, even more, projects in store and we are developing so many exciting IP’s for audiences to enjoy. The future is now and I am excited to see what we shape it as.

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