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SciFi Thriller (Canada) 2019

Writer / Director / Producer: Tony Dean Smith

Writer / Producer: Ryan W. Smith

East Coast Premiere


SYNOPSIS: A man afflicted with clairvoyance tries to change his fate when a series of events leads to a vision of his own imminent death.


DIRECTOR BIO: Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tony Dean Smith is a Director, Screenwriter and Editor, living in Vancouver. His first 35mm short film, “Reflection” — a paranormal thriller — was granted the Directors’ Guild of Canada “Kickstarter Award.” It went on to earn five Leo Award nominations and First Prize at the Spiritual Cinema Festival, run by Producer Stephen Simon ("What Dreams May Come"). Tony’s feature film directoral debut is “Volition” — a science fiction psychological thriller, which he co-wrote with his brother, Ryan W. Smith. The film is the culmination of Tony’s years of experience with directing short films and television and working in post-production. As a seasoned editor, Tony’s strong story sense has shaped over 100 hours of features, indie-films and TV movies for companies such as NBC, Universal, Syfy and, most recently, for Neill Blomkamp’s company, Oats. Tony and his brother are also winners of the Superchannel Super Catalyst Award for their screenplay, "The Sensational,” a project they are currently developing.

DIRECTOR STATEMENT: On the surface, “Volition” is a science-fiction thriller about James, a man afflicted with clairvoyance, who is spurred into action, after seeing a vision of his own imminent murder. From its origin, this premise had enough of a hook to grab me, yet it’s not what drove me to spend years developing the story alongside my brother Ryan W. Smith (co-writer and producer). What compelled me was something far deeper and, ultimately, something entirely personal. In developing this project, I was really telling my own story. Like the character in “Volition," there was a time in my life when the world felt fated and deterministic. The more I leaned on this fixed mindset — a belief that I “knew” how the world worked and how my future would transpire — the less active I became. My worldview became a self-fulfilling prophecy — sometimes as a boon, but more often as a hindrance. Now, while I have certainly never been clairvoyant… I am no stranger to the two-sided coin of self-assuredness that such a condition might manifest. As I lived my life and started to see these forces at play on my behaviour, I became inspired to dig into the character that would ultimately become James. I understood his challenge on a grounded, relatable level. Like James in the film, in the peak of my certainty about how my life would transpire, I remember wondering what it might take for me to shake this mindset. For James, it’s a vision of his certain death. For me, in many ways that was metaphorically and existentially true.The journey of making “Volition” has been deeply challenging… and incredibly rewarding. Ryan (my brother) and I have reached new heights with our friendship and new depths with our creative partnership. We hope that “Volition” takes the viewers on a mind-bending adventure, allowing all to partake in the choice points that shape our characters and their world. I also hope that, like the films that inspire us, this film lingers just a little bit longer… allowing our audience to think about the ideas of fate versus free-will and how the notion that the very thing that we think about ourselves (positive or negative) becomes our worldview and therefor, our world. And though this vision may seem fated, there is always time to break free...

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