Interviews: Director Ian Truitner Talks About His Sci-Fi Film Beyond The Trek

Beam up one of the most exciting science-fiction adventures of the month, Beyond the Trek available September 5 from Screen Media.

Winner of at least nine major film awards including Best Feature Films at the Los Angeles Movie Awards and Best Sci-Fi Feature at the New York Science Fiction Film Festival, Beyond the Trek is “Visually stunning and thematically engrossing...” (Indie Horror) and is “Reminiscent of an episode of Star Trek or 2001: A Space feel completely immersed in this futuristic world” (Tai Freligh, Flickering Myth).

Five genetically engineered “perfect” humans are sent on a rescue mission to Titan, where only one man has survived a ruined expedition to retrieve a vital cargo. Under the stress of isolation in outer space, the five perfect humans begin to exhibit formerly-concealed character flaws that threaten to tear the mission (and their chances for survival) apart. 

Sunny Mabrey (Snakes on a Plane, Species 3), Michael Nouri (The Hidden, TV's Damages), and Lance Broadway (Olympus Has Fallen) star in an Ian Truitner film, available on VOD and DVD (exclusively from Walmart) September 5.

Says director Ian Truitner, “Beyond the Trek reflects back to classic Sci-Fi in its aim to challenge how we see the world and ourselves. It's not the frantic spectacle of special effects extravaganzas made by huge studios, rather we aimed to draw audiences in with suspense, multidimensional characters and thought-provoking themes. After a successful a festival run that saw the film screen for Sci-Fi fans around the world, Beyond the Trek is now available to everyone!”

TMS: Do you remember where you were when you came upon the project?

IT: The plot of Beyond the Trek is based on the first screenplay I ever wrote back in college, but the unique twists came from separate articles I read in 2013 about space travel and human genetic modification. One article was about the primary problem with long-term space travel is the psychological and physiological effects on the human body. The second article was about how scientists are conducting tests to alter humans en vitro, with the expected result of the first crop of elevated IQ ‘superbrain’ babies being born in or around 2020. If they can make babies smarter, they could also make them better fit for long term space travel. I mean, messing with human DNA, what could possibly go wrong?

TMS: What was the initial appeal for you? Dare I suggest a love of BSG and Star Trek?

IT: Huge fan of both. Roddenberry is a godfather of not just Sci-Fi, but technologists as well. BSG is a big influence for me as it explores humanity through the character-driven conflict, and I was privileged to have some of the same VFX crew who worked on BSG lend their talents on this film as well. Though as a filmmaker I am heavily in influenced by BSG and Star Trek, Beyond the Trek is not derivative or meant to be homage. It is a standalone piece, with themes that challenge what it is to be human as the line human and technology converge.

TMS: Did the project change, if even slightly, due to budget or other creative decisions, as the shooting date approached?

IT: The concept for Beyond the Trek began in 2013 based on an article I read about human genetic modification, which, by the way is no longer science fiction but is actually happening. Financing was attached, plus the production company had a sound stage, but since the budget was limited we had to be very creative with how we put everything together. As an indie film, one has to use intriguing themes and suspense rather than expensive special effects.

TMS: How long of a shoot was it?

IT: 16 days! The sets were quite complex and we had limited space, so we had to be very judicious with time.

TMS: Was it local? Or were parts of it filmed all over?

IT: All in one small sound stage in North Hollywood. Someone else breathing in your ear every moment. 

TMS: The project is known under different titles in different territories I believe?

IT: Yes, the original title was Teleios, which is the title it was under for the duration of its festival run around the world. Teleios in Greek means ‘perfect’, a description for the genetically modified ‘perfect humans’ in the film. It’s also been called Deep Space and Teleios: Endlose Angst, and now Beyond the Trek.

TMS: Has it been marketed differently in other territories too?

IT: Yes, every territory has come up with its own poster artwork. It’s been a kick to see how each place markets it to their audience.

TMS: How important is a social media presence for a film?

IT: Definitely important. I’m not sure if it drives people to buy a ticket, DVD or download, but it’s great for staying in touch with fans of the film.

TMS: What’s one thing people probably don’t realize about making indie films? It’s not easy, right!?

IT: I’ve done this a few times before, so I harbored no illusions. This film had some unique challenges though, given our ambition and budget. Numerous festivals and awards don’t lie though, I think we pulled it off!

TMS: And when does the job end for you?

IT: As long as there’s potential fans of the film, my job doesn’t end. It’s great that people are loving the work.

TMS: What’s the goal here? Make some money? Get another job? Give the world the next cult classic?

IT: All three? Is that too much to ask?