Private Project

The Bostrom Scenario

Alice Wonder, a young girl from New Zealand is haunted by the visions of her brother’s death, murdered by the impossible flash of a camera. But everyone is adamant her brother never existed. Alice travels the city of Christchurch for answers. She unravels the story of Plato; a supernatural photographer of the H.E.B. A photographer torn by guilt and yearning for enlightenment. And the story of renegade film students on the set of a cursed documentary, uncovering the power of a dreaded computer experiment. As imposing forces tighten their noose round Alice, she discovers her brother’s story is one that will break down reality itself.

Based on the short film 'Truth.exe'. Official Selection for the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival and Winning Best Student Film at the 2020 Miami International Science Fiction Film Festival.

  • Ricky Townsend
    Director
    Truth.exe, Tremble
  • Ricky Townsend
    Writer
  • Isayah Snow
    Key Cast
    "Alice Wonder"
    We Were Dangerous
  • Felix Elliott
    Key Cast
    "Lewis Wonder"
    Truth.exe
  • Kat Forrester
    Key Cast
    "Plato"
  • Roanna Dalziel
    Key Cast
    "The Actress"
    Shortland Street, Truth.exe
  • Kathleen Burns
    Key Cast
    "Starlet Seer"
    The Push, Sextortion, Ghost Shark 2: Urban Jaws
  • Roy Snow
    Key Cast
    "Dr. Harris"
    Shortland Street, Xena: Warrior Princess, Outrageous Fortune
  • Peter Liley
    Music Composer
  • Selwyn Gamble
    Producer
  • Ella Waswo
    Producer
  • Haydon Dickie
    Producer
  • Project Type:
    Feature
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Neo-Noir, Anthology
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 53 minutes 29 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 31, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    25,785 NZD
  • Country of Origin:
    New Zealand
  • Country of Filming:
    New Zealand
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1.90:1
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury
  • Boston Science Fiction Film Festival
    Boston
    New Zealand
    February 24, 2024
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Ricky Townsend

Ricky Townsend is a young filmmaker from Christchurch/Ōtautahi, New Zealand. Ricky has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film from the Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury. He is also pursuing an arts degree in Philosophy. Ricky has tutored film for Yoobee Colleges, Ilam School of Fine Arts and UC Digital Screen.

Ricky has written, directed and produced several independent short films that have been in international film festivals. His short Tremble, based on the 2010-2011 Christchurch quakes was selected for the Top of the South Film Festival (NZ) and was nominated for Best True Story at the Sydney indie Film Festival (AUS). Ricky’s other short Truth.exe, the film this feature is based on, was selected at the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival (US), the Sci-Fi Film Festival (AUS) and won Best Student Film at the Miami International Science Fiction Film Festival (US).

Being an autistic filmmaker, Ricky believes in embracing his analytical, detail-focused thinking and explore cinema that celebrates such styles of storytelling.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

There are very few films in Aotearoa/New Zealand that aim to explore the explicit philosophical themes and conflicts that science fiction evokes. For me, making this film was a chance to show that New Zealand is just as capable of making philosophical, plot-puzzle cinema that is usually reserved for the likes of Donnie Darko, Primer, Inception, Mulholland Drive and of course Doctor Who (all great film and TV). Inspired by the writings of philosophers such as Nick Bostrom, David Chalmers and Jack Copeland, my film takes the philosophy of their work and fuses it with Gnostic mythology. This is to create a world that lives beyond the frames of the shot and explores the spiritual, fantastical and even religious elements of modern Transhumanism (AI, minds uploaded to the net, simulation theory etc.).

This is a movie we spent more than 3 years filming, shooting before the global pandemic even started. That’s a long time for a film to grow and develop an identity of its own. For me, this film has become many things. It is an expression of our personal COVID-19 paranoia and anxiety. it is a mirrored reflection of our time as green-horned students who made the mad choice to film a feature film. It is also in some ways a reflection of the trauma Christchurch represses about its past decade. And being at a tiny budget of approx $25,000NZD, we strive to show that even a tiny film can tell a big story.