Italian filmmaker Nicola Piovesan is creating an independent short film using 3D printed props. The low-budget movie, Attack of the Cyber Octopuses, is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter in order to help with production costs. The project provides an interesting insight into how film makers can use 3D printing.

One of the Cyber Octopuses. Photo via Nicola P

One of the Cyber Octopuses. Photo via Nicola Piovesan.

To find out more, we spoke to Nicola Piovesan about the project and how he is using 3D printing for its production.

3D printing can be a useful tool for custom prop making, as we’ve seen with Oscar-nominated movie Kubo and the Two Strings. The stop-motion picture used 3D printing in order to create the characters as well as the setting for the film. Furthermore, we have also seen the use of 3D scanning in the new Star Wars movie, Rogue One. Although their production, unlike Piovesan’s, also had a large emphasis on the use of CGI.

Nicola poses with his 3D printed city structure. Photo via Nicola Piosevan.

Nicola poses with his 3D printed city structure. Photo via Nicola Piosevan.

“Do cyber octopuses dream of electric eels?”

Nicola Piovesan is a big sci-fi fan and admires classic 80s films like Blade Runner and the original Star Wars. These movies used physical props for settings and backgrounds and created an aesthetic that many cite as inspirational. Piovesan’s Attack of the Cyber Octopuses takes place in 2079 Neo-Berlin and will use handcrafted structures as the backdrop for the city.

The filmmaker explains the plot on his Kickstarter as,

A dark, rain-soaked city held by mega corporations where the only enjoyment in life is connecting to cyberspace and taking “Binary Trip” a cyber drug that fries your neurons but promises a feeling better than a hundred orgasms at once. In this setting, a team of crack cyberspace detectives are investigating a new menace: an army of cyber octopuses that are terrorizing the city.

The movie poster for Attack of the Cyber Octopuses. Image via Nicola's Kickstarter.

The movie poster for Attack of the Cyber Octopuses. Image via Nicola’s Kickstarter.

How 3D printing has enabled the movie

Nicola is a distinguished filmmaker with strong experience with working with CGI and animation. However, the Italian explains,

I think it’s more “poetic” using practical effects. As a filmmaker I feel more empathy with the set, the location or the objects that I’m filming, rather than just creating them on a virtual level.

The additive manufacturing method has appealed to Nicola as it enables him to produce parts quickly and with low-costs. As he says, “3D printing broadened my horizons, making it affordable and doable!” The movie will contain some computer-generated imagery for sequences involving the ‘cyberspace’ concept. But the filmmaker wishes to keep it to a minimum. To create his props, Nicola used a “Wanhao Duplicator I3 V2.1, with PLA filament and Simplify 3D as a slicing software.”

While Nicola Piovesan is keen to pay homage to the craft of classic film making effects, he wishes to do so while embracing new technology through 3D printing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love CGI and I’ve been using it for years, it gives you endless possibilities but I think that on a film with real actors there should be a limit at some point

One of the 3D printed city structures for the movie. Photo via Nicola Piovesan.

One of the 3D printed city structures for the movie. Photo via Nicola Piovesan.

Setting

The film will be set in Talinn, Estonia where Nicola is based. This location will provide an affordable setting for 2079 Neo-Berlin. Nicola explains how the city is ideal as it merges features of a modern city with some Soviet era relics.

Setting of 2079 Neo-Berlin in Estonia. Image via Nicola's Kickstarter.

Setting of 2079 Neo-Berlin in Estonia. Image via Nicola’s Kickstarter.

Kickstarter campaign

Nicola Piovesan’s Kickstarter campaign is live now with the goal of €18,000. One of the perks for backers of the crowdfunding campaign include STL files for the Cyber Octupus so you can 3D print your own. Filming and production for the movie is set for later this year. With an expected release of around June.

Nicola and his team have already produced a teaser trailer for the movie, which can be viewed below.

Check out the campaign on Kickstarter. Good luck Nicola!

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Featured image shows Nicola “trying to look like an art director of the Eighties” with one of his prop designs. Image via Nicola’s Kickstarter. 

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