I recently had the opportunity to chat with Matt Osterman, the director of the upcoming release HOVER being released this Friday from SYFY Films. Osterman previously directed the film 400 Days for SYFY, as well as the indie Ghost from the Machine.
HOVER takes place in the near future, where environmental strain has caused food shortages around the world. Technology provides a narrow path forward, with agricultural drones maximizing the yield from what land remains. Two compassionate care providers, Claudia (Coleman) and her mentor John (Craig muMs Grant), work to assist sick farmland inhabitants in ending their lives. After John dies under mysterious circumstances, a group of locals helps Claudia to uncover a deadly connection between the health of her clients and the technology they are using.
Hover marks your second collaboration with Syfy Films. Can you talk about making your leap from the indie Ghost from the Machine to working with Syfy on 400 Days? And was there an intense amount of pressure spearheading Syfy’s first foray into theatrical films?
I think I put enough pressure on myself, that there wasn’t much room to let anyone else. Either way, SyFy has been absolutely incredible to work with and I’m honored that they chose my film to be the first in their new approach. And I’ve been pretty fortunate to have great producers that make sure we’re all one the same page making the same film.
I was a huge fan of 400 Days. Can you talk about the experience making that film vs. something less contained and more of a road movie with Hover? And were you excited to jump back in with Syfy for Hover?
Aww, thanks. And that’s a great question. It’s almost like the goal of Hover was to consistently find ways to make it more focused, more personal. And with 400 Days, it was like how can we make a big movie with big ideas inside a contained space. Different sides of the same coin. Ultimately, I like to think they both come down to old-fashioned storytelling. And yeah, SyFy was really great to work with on 400 Days, so I had zero hesitation working with them again.
With Hover, Cleopatra Coleman has written a tight, and wholly original sci-fi script. Did that script come to you or was that something you developed together?
She sure did. I’ve read plenty of scripts from actors that are thinly veiled vanity projects. This one was actually about something. And we did collaborate a bunch on various aspects. She was truly great to work with.
It was so great to see the amazing Beth Grant in a really juicy role in this film. What is it like working with such a powerhouse actress?
All I can say is this: Beth Grant for President!
With Cleopatra being the lead in the film, did you find it convenient to have the screenwriter also on set with you?
Absolutely. She really did try to forget about being a writer and just focus on the performance, but we’d often have to dig in and find a creative workaround or an opportunity would present itself and it was perfectly convenient to have her by my side in those moments.
I was also thrilled to see Fabianne Therese pop up here too, who I think is rightfully starting to blow up right now. Can you talk about working with her and with the rest of this great cast you’ve assembled here?
You’re really making me sound like a people pleaser, but I lived with most of these folks for weeks down in Louisiana and they really became like family. Fabi has such an amazing energy and the talent to match. The sky is the limit with her. And we got so incredibly lucky with the rest of our cast. From Craig muMs Grant to Rhoda Griffis to Dre Starks (his first movie!) to Jim Gleason to Rhonda Dents and Kassandra Bandfield, we really just had amazing performances all around. Our casting director, Samy Burch, really knocked it out of the park.
Hover has an absolutely incredible score. Can you talk about that process and how this movie came to have such a unique sound?
I’m obviously biased, but I LOVE this score. I’ve worked with Wojciech Golczewski three times now and he keeps raising the bar every time. There’s not a whole lot of mystery to the process other than he’s a genius and lives half a world away. He definitely has his own musical vibe and it’s up to the filmmakers to harness it to match the film.
Hover is a rare modern sci-fi film where, even though it’s set in a future world, everything feels very tactile. Was it difficult making the choice to use more practical effects that CGI in this film?
Not at all. I think we’d have preferred to use a lot more practical FX if we could have. In fact, there are a ton of practical effects that would have been much easier to pull off as CGI, but we wanted to ground the shots in as much reality as possible.
Hover seems like a world that ripe for further exploration. Would you be into the idea of jumping back into this world for another film?
I think so. It would obviously come down to finding the right narrative, but it’s definitely a world that offers a ton of storytelling potential.
What are you working on next?
I have a handful of irons in the fire that I’m pretty excited about. A couple are sci-fi, but I have one horror idea that I think needs to get made. They’re all just scripts at this point, but I’m hopeful something will happen soon.
Thanks for talking the time to talk with us. We wish you the most success with the film. I was a big fan of it.
Thanks for having me!
SYFY Films will release HOVER in Theaters on June 29, 2018, and VOD and Digital HD on July 3, 2018.