CRONOS is a modern fairy tale centering Raye (Michael Lyle), a transgender janitor who longs to escape her dead-end job and toxic relationship with her distant, bulimic boyfriend.
Raye's fondest wish is to become a singer, and one fateful day she encounters Cronos (Deprece Reddick) a enigmatic supernatural being who seemingly makes her dreams come true.
In the end, Raye discovers the path to true happiness lies in her taking control of her own destiny.
To be clear, CRONOS is not your standard, traditional narrative - which is the key to its charm.
The short exists in a slightly off-kilter reality that gives it a dreamlike quality perfectly suited to its modern fable aspirations.
Writer and director Nic Collins (Year Of The Snake) creates a hazy and ephemeral dramatic canvas which he uses to deconstruct prevalent media tropes, such as the role of white male protagonists, sexual identity, the allure of wish fulfillment, and the power of self-determination.
Check out CRONOS here ...
As part of the online premiere of CRONOS here at The 7th Matrix, filmmaker Nic Collins was very gracious in taking time to discuss with us his inspiration for the short, his own filmmaking influences, his future plans, and more!
T7M: Are you a fan of science fiction and fantasy, and if so, who or what inspired your love of the genre?
NC: I love science fiction and fantasy so much. They are my favorite genres to play in because you can really cut loose and create whatever rules you want for your world and the audience will come along for the ride. My biggest inspiration is comic books. Specifically works from Grant Morrison.
T7M: At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a filmmaker?
NC: When I was a kid my parents were gonna get rid of their VHS camera but offered it to me. I started making things with my brother Zack and my friends. We started making superhero shorts and James Bond shorts. Filming our toys and making stories out of them. In high school I made a feature length Watchmen film and during the process it became clear that filmmaking is the most joyful thing in the world.
T7M: How would you describe the premise of your latest project, the online short film CRONOS?
NC: CRONOS is a fairy tale that follows a transgender janitor who dreams of escaping her conditions only to discover the consequences of wishing for a better life.
T7M: How did the concept for the short film develop?
NC: I had always wanted to make a film where the actor playing the lead changed halfway through but I wanted it to be motivated by story. The relationship between a transwoman who is still early in her transition and a closeted gay man was something I spent a lot of time writing and it was at one point it’s own short film. Cronos is a character I created as an antagonist for the second season of Year of the Snake which then became the web series Beached that I’m shooting right now. I have pages and pages of stories and origins for Cronos. I’m going to do a lot more with that character.
T7M: In its brief runtime, CRONOS touches on dysfunctional relationships, the perils of wish fulfillment, and more. What is the main take away you want audiences to get?
NC: Hopefully confront any toxic relationships they have and know that the grass is never greener, and that no one is coming to save you.
T7M: What is most notable about CRONOS is it features a transgender woman as the main protagonist. There are many necessary and critical conversations going on about increased representation in media for minority and marginalized groups. Why do you believe more inclusive representation onscreen is important?
NC: I think if you are a white male and have the privilege to create films and if you genuinely are an ally then I believe you have to make an active effort toward representing minority and marginalized groups in your work. It’s important that every person in this country sees themselves in film, and I really hope I do represent [that] in an inoffensive and authentic way.
T7M: CRONOS pushes boundaries in terms of subject matter and narrative conventions. This seems to be a major hallmark of your work. Would you consider yourself an avant-garde director?
NC: I really appreciate the kind words. I just like to make films that are very hard for me to make. Like when I'm sitting there writing I want to be going crazy. For me the joy in creating is trying to make something I’ve have never ever seen before.
T7M: Like your SF&F web series Year Of The Snake, CRONOS is being released exclusively online. Is the web your medium of choice?
NC: I think the best way to get your stuff in front of people right away is online, and I really like to get my stuff out there asap so I can move onto the next one. Thank god for the internet, [otherwise] I would have no career.
T7M: Where can our readers find out more about you, and your future projects?
We thank Nic for making us the home of the online premiere of CRONOS, as well as taking time out of his hectic schedule to speak with us.
Please make sure to check out his SF&F web series Year Of The Snake (coincidentally, Nic also revealed CRONOS and YOTS are part of a shared universe he's building. Pretty cool!)
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