Luke is a short film about Gabe who puts his house up for sale following the death of his husband. As he packs, he relives memories of happiness with Luke and their loving shared space. Dom Soo started his journey into filmmaking at USC where he studied Animation and Digital Arts. In 2015, he won a grant from the Singaporean government to direct "Arco," a live action sci-fi short. Today, he runs Big Whale Studios, a successful motion graphics company where he works and manages artists to create animated commercials.
Dom's latest movie, "Luke," is a venture away from the sci-fi genre that he's used to, instead focusing on the heartbreak of losing someone. With this movie, he hopes to give people a sense of hope during times of grief, which is ever relevant in our current state of the world. It is our pleasure to speak to Dom about his film project.
What was the inspiration behind the making of your film?
While “Luke” is about death and moving on, it really mirrors that period of time following a break up when things are so fresh that everything reminds you of the person that you had. I drew a lot from my past breakups and how I felt during those times. Especially with the good ones, there’s a sense of loss, but also something to be gained.
With “Luke,” I didn’t just want to tell a straightforward story. I was really inspired to write the story of this couple from the perspective of the environment that they lived in. If walls and objects could see things, how would they tell the story? How much of our relationships do we put into the everyday things around us and how do they affect us emotionally? This was ultimately the foundation of this movie.
What is the most challenging aspect of working in this particular genre?
This was my first time working strictly in drama. I’m so used to sci-fi where the concept holds the attention of the viewers. However with “Luke,” the characters need to hold up the film, which means the writing and acting has to be on point.
Balancing heavy scenes with lighter ones and interjecting moments of comedy was also challenging. I didn’t want to take away from the seriousness of certain scenes, yet at the same time, didn’t want Luke to be too heavy.
When did you realize that you wanted to work in media and make films and what was the first film project that you created as a director?
My interest in film didn’t come overnight; it was more of a gradual evolution. When I was younger, I watched the making of Finding Nemo and really responded to the passion and dedication those artists spoke with. That really pushed me to consider a career in animation. From there it evolved to visual effects, motion graphics, and then finally using a camera and creating my own footage.
The first live action film I made was Arco, a zombie movie about humans infected with a computer virus. It was a really big production for a first film, and tons of fun.
How did you choose the cast and the crew of the film and what was the most challenging aspect of production?
I found most of my crew through school and referrals from people that I trust. With the cast, it was a blind process of selecting two people that I felt could have great on screen chemistry. When I say “blind,” I mean not being able to cast them in person, or even have them test out scenes together due to COVID. Today, we have processes in place, but back then, we were shooting early in the pandemic, so we had to figure out creative ways of making this movie with the least amount of in-person contact. That was probably the most challenging part of making this film.
What genre of filmmaking fascinates you as a director and which genres do you prefer to work on?
Right now, it’s horror. I think the genre has really redefined itself and has shown the most breakthroughs in creativity, especially with films like “Get Out” and “A Quiet Place.” For me, I usually work in Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I know, “Luke” is the total opposite of that! I don’t like to constrain myself to a single genre and my next film will be different too.
How can cinema change the world and have an impact on society?
I learn so much through cinema! I’m introduced to new thoughts, views and emotions that I would have never considered. Aside from escapism, cinema influences culture and politics. How many times have we walked away from a movie and thought about what we just watched? I think that’s the power of cinema -- being able to move people and bring awareness to a subject.
What is your next film project as a director?
I’m going back to sci-fi with Between Our Rooms which is a feature about two teenage boys whose rooms are connected through an open portal. It’s a sweet rom com, my first in the genre, and one which I’m really excited to be doing.