Interview with Hasraf Dulull

We had the opportunity to catch up with Hasraf Dulull to talk about his latest special effects short, Fubar Redux.

You may not know his name, but it’s likely you’ve seen some of Hasraf’s work having created visual effects for The Dark Knight and Hell Boy 2. Hasraf has a new short film coming out called Fubar Redux which we think looks pretty interesting and we’ve had the chance to find out a little more about it.

PopBucket: For people who don’t know who you are and what you’re about, can you tell us a little bit about you and what you’ve done up to this point.

Hasraf Dulull: I am an international visual effects supervisor working in feature films, commercials and TV series. I have been in visual effects since 2003 and before that worked in video game cinematics. My film credits include The Dark Knight, Hell Boy 2, BBC Planet Dinosaur and most recently was associate VFX supervisor on Storage 24 starring Noel Clarke.

PB: What is Fubar Redux about?

HD: Fubar Redux is an Epic Short Film portraying the atrocities of an on-going political war for territories. Told in an alternate reality with cats and dogs mixing exciting action with tense drama driven by a unique animation visual style – Hyper-Motion Comic Cinema.

PB: What is different about Fubar Redux that you think will appeal to audiences?

HD: It’s got a unique stye which takes existing motion comics (as seen in the Inception Blu-ray special feature ‘Inception – The Cobol Job’) to another level and it’s got a Hollywood gloss finishing look to it, from the visuals, to the audio and right down to the direction.

The twist is using animals, specifically cats and dogs, which audiences can relate to their territorial behaviour. But the intelligent thing about the concept is that it’s influenced by George Orwell’s Animal Farm (which is one of my fave books), with the metaphor of existing politicians and today’s conflicts between warring neighbours. The audience sees this in the news and can relate to it on a subconscious level while enjoying the rollercoaster ride of hyper kinetic action backed with epic sound track/score and intelligent script and story.

What’s different from other films or animation featuring cats and dogs is Fubar Redux sets out to put a spin on the typical films featuring cats and dogs. Instead of the cute and funny direction often associated with cats and dogs, I put them in an action packed, political war drama with a visceral high concept direction. This has not been done before and this is what attracted the audiences which led to it being described by press reviews as “Animal Farm Meets Platoon”.

PB: What made you decide to use cats and dogs for your characters?

HD: Well, originally it was suppose to be a short war film told in the style of La-Je-Tee with actors and photography, we even had casting sessions and everything, but I had a gut feeling that this was not original and would be compared to tons of war films. I wanted to something that would be fun to watch because I had fun doing it! Then one day I was going though some of the casting images of an actor and I then looked at my cat Tiggy looking pissed off with me for not feeding him. I snapped a photo of Tiggy with my iPhone and then opened up Photoshop and put Tiggy’s face onto the actor’s face and painted on some uniforms and a gun and graded it etc and viola! It looked cool! It looked real and not comical, yet had a cinematic and hard hitting feel to it. It was like Black Hawk Down told in the vain of Animal Farm and from there I developed it into Fubar!

As one of my favourite books of all time is Orwell’s Animal Farm, I loved the idea of using certain animals to depict the chain of command politically. With Fubar I chose specifically cats and dogs as they have always been territorial animals but at the same time reflect certain characteristics which makes them stand out from one another. Each of them have their strong and weak points yet they both strive for territories. I used that to create the world of Fubar and the metaphor of what’s happening around us today with the military, government, war, media and politics.

PB: When making your short film, what inspired you and why?

HD: I have always been hooked with cinema and stories which were engaging and pretty much a rollercoaster ride! Directors like Micheal Bay have been a big influence in the way I created Fubar Redux’s high octane action and energy and packaging up like a Hollywood blockbuster.  To me cinema is escapism, and that’s what inspired me when making Fubar Redux. When writing the story and idea I looked heavily at the everyday news of wars and politics and noticed that every war that goes on is to do with land or resources and I reflected that with the way cats and dogs are very territorial and can also be very sneaky with their intelligence to get what they want from the opposition.

PB: If you could have worked on any films VFX, what would it be and why?

HD: Ooh that’s a hard one as I have worked on some amazing films which have amazing VFX, The Dark Knight or Hellboy 2 for example.  But if I could go back in time I would say I would have loved to work on Bladerunner with having the honour of working with legends like Douglas Trumball who pioneered visual effects when no computers were used.

PB: What’s next for you? Do you have anything planned in the near future?

HD: Well I am putting a feature film package of Fubar Redux together for interested studios, but this would be a full on CGI animated film and wont be called Fubar Redux, but set in the same world and idea with cats and dogs and epic action mixed with political drama.

I am also working in pre-production on another short film which Adobe have come on board this time to technology sponsor it. So I will keep you posted on that.

PB: That all sounds pretty awesome. Thanks for chatting with us. 

Interested to more what we’re talking about? Check out the trailer for Fubar Redux below.

Author: Zara Waqar

Associate Editor (Films) and veteran of PopBucket, gamer girl and resident film guru. She loves anything zombie and laughs roughly 80% of the time.

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