Kristian Diaz has every right to be excited. His indie film Retrocausality was picked up by Amazon and is now steaming all over the world. The film initially started off as his passion project several years ago as it was inspired by a real experience he encountered.
Retrocausality is a perfectly-timed flick that centers the beginning of a global pandemic and a 22-year-old Hollywood actor who learns his mother has contracted an unfamiliar virus. Diaz talks to Flickering Myth on how his film reflects the current times and what it is like to be streaming his long-time project on Amazon.
Tell us about Retrocausality. What type of movie is it?
It’s a modern-day love story set in the time in of a sweeping virus which kind of changes everything. In the early stages of the pandemic when we’re just trying to figure out what’s going on – we have Scott, a young blockbuster actor trying to look for a girl named Max. They have a strange connection where they feel like they know each other but they’re strangers and something is stopping them from the meeting. While they try to navigate what’s going on and find each other, the timeline stops and has to move a lot faster when Scott’s mom catches the virus. And we go from there.
You first released this in 2019, what changes have you made since the initial release?
We actually delayed the release to change a story element that’s been missing. We tried a lot of different versions but something always felt off. The timeline & ending changed and we also cut out a lot of scenes. This final version feels like the original story we were trying to tell despite the changes. It’s actually going to be the first one people see so we’re really excited!
How is your screenplay different from the film and how is it similar?
I described it like a Pokemon evolving, it looks completely different but the heart and original idea of it are still there, it’s just a little stronger. Writing the screenplay, making the film and just going through life- everything kind of ends up on the page or the screen one way or another. We re-wrote it a hundred times in pre-production but then another twenty times while cutting the film in post-production. I don’t think I would have made those same story choices early on, but there’s only so much you can change after you’ve shot it. It ended up being the movie I was thinking about with the initial idea though.
When did Amazon get involved and what was the process like to get them to pick it up?
Initially, we had planned some screenings in June. We had our distributor come up with a plan to sell our film initially and then streaming early 2021, but we felt like the best option especially with everybody having a tough time in COVID was to release it with a streaming service. Everybody said no and that we would lose out on a lot of money. Amazon offered not only our North American and French release but also the majority of countries around the world. So for me, it was a no-brainer!
What’s the hardest part about writing, directing and starring in your own movie?
Directing for sure, I love it and I’m very lucky to be able to do it, but it was tough. Switching hats especially from acting in a scene, being in the moment and then taking a step back to remember you’re directing a film is a little crazy. I’m sure there’s a better way to do it. Writing and acting for me are like peanut butter and jelly. They’re perfect for each other, one makes the other stronger and you kind of need to know a little bit about both. Directing is more like the bread, putting it together on a plate and serving it. It takes a lot longer and is a lot harder. I feel like you have to put all the ingredients together and make sure everything works just to hope people will like it, so that’s the hardest part!
What are some of your favorite films?
That’s a tough one but the first five that come to mind are: Django Unchained, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Breathless, La La Land, and Superbad.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your work?
Retrocausality has been impacted a ton by the pandemic, it changed the whole story and the release. But my daily routine and working process hasn’t been impacted much. I feel like I’ve been social distancing for a lot longer than a couple of months. It’s funny because I was excited to wrap-up Retrocausality, start working with people again and be more social but I feel like I might have to wait a little longer. I do get to develop some of the projects I’ve been working on a little more. I’ve been enjoying writing but have a strong urge to act and get on-set lately, so I think I’ll be focusing on that in the near future post-COVID.
Even in the middle of chaos, love still prevails, why do you think that happens?
That’s a great question. I think especially in the middle of chaos, we figure out what matters quickly and focus on that. I think for me at least, as long as my loved ones are safe and healthy, that’s all that matters. We start thinking about the people we love and doing the things we love because I guess that’s all we need if the world was ending tomorrow. Actually, we shouldn’t joke about that.
What do you want people to think about and take away from your film?
If you watched my film thank you, I appreciate you. Whatever you get from it is great. Anything you take away is correct and it’s your film now just as much as mine. If I could let you guys know the question we asked ourselves while making the film, it was: Is it better to have loved and lost or to never have loved at all?
Describe your film in three words.
Good. Movie. Hopefully.
Thank youto Kristian Diaz for your taking the time for this interview.