By MIKE CHAIKEN
This Friday night, Connecticut audiences can experience a unique partnership between the steampunk universe and the cinematic universe.
“Tales of a Broken Reality: Fragments” is a nationwide, collaborative series where anyone with a camera and an afternoon can create their own episode for the show.
The Airship Wendigo, a local collective in the steampunk universe, will present the premiere of its entry into the “Tales of a Broken Reality” universe on Friday, Feb. 10 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Innovate Hartford , 20 Church St., Floor 17, Hartford
We caught up with Bryan Oliver, creator of “Tales of a Broken Reality” and Chelsea Renaldi, the director for Airship Wendigo, via email to speak about the endeavor.
Observer: Talk to me about the original inspiration behind creating “Tales of a Broken Reality?”
Bryan: I originally set out to make a movie with some of my friends. We knew it would be low to no budget but was just something fun we thought we would try. I have a background in commercial production and figured I would use those skills for something a little more unique. I was also told I could not pull it off so that definitely motivated me.
O: Why establish essentially a crowd-source web series where anyone can participate?
B: I chose this path because so many steampunks have created great characters, but have very little chance to show off who their character is. Normally when putting on the gear for a con or special event, there isn’t a lot of opportunity to actually “Be” the character. This allows for that. I chose to have it be open to nearly anyone because there are many great stories to tell, each group has their own way of seeing the project, and it allows for a larger series without putting all of the weight on one particular group.
O: Is there a central plot, or is it like an anthology series like the old “Twilight Zone?”
B: Yes and yes, there is the main series called “Tales of a Broken Reality,” which focuses on the story of a character called Tin Man and the people he encounters.
There is a side series of shorter works called “Fragments,” which tells individual stories that are loosely related but are stand alone for the most part.
O: How long is each episode? Does it vary based on the creators?
Chelsea: The main series clocks in at about 30 minutes per episode. “Fragments” has been broken up into more bite sized pieces, running under 10 minutes each. The special episode we are premiering, “Jaws of Hell” is about 30 minutes.
O: Why a steampunk context for the series?
Bryan: I love the look of Steampunk, I love the mixture of science fiction with the Victorian era and the Wild West. That and I know a ton of really unique steampunks who own their characters rather than doing cosplay of something that is copywritten.
O: Are the cast members all from the steampunk community or are you pulling in actors outside of the circle as well?
Chelsea: Everyone on the Airship Wendigo cast and crew is a Steampunk fan to some degree. Due to no budget, we focused on casting individuals who could provide their own Steampunk costume.
O: How many episodes have been filmed so far, what is the ultimate goals for how many series you create?
B: We have four main episodes that have been filmed so far, and we have 12 “Fragments” that have also been completed. I want to keep the series as its two sections but I have no limit on how many episodes they will contain.
O: Where has the filming thus far been taking place?
B: So far we have filmed in Louisiana, Colorado, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and even the Netherlands. We hope to get groups to participate from all 50 states and as many other countries as we can. Our next bit of production will take place in Arizona during Wild Wild West Con in March.
C: Airship Wendigo’s episodes were shot throughout Connecticut in Shelton, East Hartford, and Wolcott, as well as Southern Massachusetts.
O: Talk to me about the Feb. 10 event, why have a “premiere” event? What can people expect from the event?
C: We wanted to reach out to the community and give recognition to those involved, like Bryan and our venue, Innovate Hartford. TBR and Airship Wendigo both have more fun stories in store, so this event doubles as a fundraiser for all of the volunteers involved in this project to keep creating them.
Outside of TBR, Airship Wendigo is a budding Steampunk collective. This screening will not only showcase our contribution to TBR, but all of the talent that went into it. We will have Steampunk vendors, including Wendigo members, Big Bear Trading Co. and Smoke & Steam Productions. We will have a Steampunk bake sale, lovingly made by another member of our team, and photo ops with custom pieces from the episode. There will also be a mini fashion show featuring costumes from the film and a costume contest for guests. To top it all off, the composers for our episode, The Eternal Frontier, will be performing live.
For more information about Airship Wendigo, go to http://chelsearenaldi.weebly.com/airship-wendigo.html
For a trailer, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvRkhrcjfl4
For episodes from “Tales of a Broken Reality,” go to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh6nwJRTjmNXeGlgm4u5zAw
Local steampunk collective Airship Wendigo will premiere its installment in the ‘Tales of Broken Reality: Fragment’ video series at an event in Hartford on Feb. 10. Seen here are Tony Rogers, left, and Chelsea Renaldi.