Occupation: Rainfall is the new and spectacular Alien Invasion blockbuster, produced entirely independently by Sparkefilms and distributed by Saban Films. Writer/director Luke Sparke is taking audiences on another action-packed, unstoppable thrill ride with Saban Films’ new sci-fi, action film Occupation: Rainfall, set to open In Theaters, On Digital and On Demand on June 11. You can discover now our interview
Q : Hello Luke. To begin, I would like to say that I have passed a good moment to watch Occupation: Rainfall. The screenplay, the special effects are really great. Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background ?
Luke Sparke : Hello, I’m Luke Sparke, the director, writer, creator of occupation rainfall. I started working in the film industry when I was in my teens, working in background behind the scenes with costume props, working on film sets such as the Pacific Rim and X-men Origins Wolverine and eventually moving into directing films myself. I made a film in 20 it was released in 2018 called occupation which is about an alien invasion of earth set in Australia and this film is a sequel to that where I move the story forward.
Q : After Red billabong, Occupation, Occupation Rainfall is you third movie. As a writer and a director, what was your writing process on this movie and which were the main differences between this one and Occupation ?
Luke Sparke : So Occupation, I wrote kind of by the seat of my pants a new project that I wanted to you know just continue on directing and while I was editing that film I sort of saw it as a one-and-done movie but while I was editing it I came up with this whole extra story new world where the story can continue on and I started writing that I guess the difference is I went to my producers and I told them this one's going to be a hell of a lot bigger than the first one and I’m gonna write it be from the beginning rather than occupation where I sort of had to figure it out as I went along so the writing process for this one was many months and really sort of defining characters in the world building and where they are as humanity and also giving life to the alien species and more backstory on them.
Q : What should be for you a good acting direction ? What can you tell us about you work with Temuera Morrison, Dan Ewing, Zac Garred, Erin Connor on this movie and previously Occupation ?
Luke Sparke : So the previous movie like I said I was figuring it out as I went like to tell me where Morrison came in quite late we offered him the role and he accepted much to my delight being a Star Wars fan and Dan Ewing and Zach Garred were there during the audition process and we all kind of were figuring it out on the set of where these characters are and who they are and how to how to deal with them I guess going into this one. I was able to already have established characters and work out where they were and I kind of knew them a lot more I knew how Temuera speaks I know how Zach speaks and how Dan speaks so I was able to mold their characters in the script this time and that was really exciting for me and when they're on set they also were able to know their characters a lot more and I think that that helped everyone from a starting off point
Q : On this movie you have worked with Keon Jeong and he is really fun. Can you talk a little about your collaboration with him on this movie ?
Luke Sparke : It was a real coup to get Keon Jeong I offered him the role first up. I think he liked it because it wasn't written specifically for him it wasn't like a little Asian man comes out it was just a guy and I think he really appreciated that and I gave him a lot of free reigns who sort of worked on the characters we called each other and talked about it and then when he was here on set obviously when you have Keon Jeong you just let him do his thing so he was great to have that sort of third act at the beginning of the third act to have this real sort of just off beat something completely different always explained it like the wizard of oz where they're going down this emerald road towards the emerald city and when they get there it's this big guy behind a giant head so it's not what they thought and it's kind of the same well next this mission is rainfall when they get there and it's just these two morons running the facility and I thought that was really good and I thought ken brought that to life um very well it seems that you have this story in your id since you're a little kid
Q : It seems that you have this story in your head since you were a kid. Can you speak a little about the Star wars influences on your written and the way you directed Occupation and Rainfall ?
Luke Sparke : I’m a huge movie buff even before I started working in the film industry all I did was watch empire strikes back on my return beanbag all the way through the 80s so I’m heavily influenced by Alien, Starship Troopers, Star Wars, Independence day and yes I wear them on my sleeve and I think it obviously comes through in my directing uh um that's been part of my life for a long time and I just I love the themes that those sort of movies can bring to stories and humanity and I guess I’m an optimist and I like to sort of see the best in people even though they can get into some pretty shitty circumstances I like you know seeing how the characters and humanity plays together and bringing the alien Gary into it as well was really interesting for me to sort of bring a new dynamic to these sort of movies
Q : In this specific time, how is difficult actually to create a movie and find some funds to do it ?
Luke Sparke : I mean that's always the big challenge and this one particularly like I said before I knew going in it was going to be big so it's just you know gathering and an army behind you of people that support the film and I can see the belief in it this one was all independently financed by ourselves in-house through family and friends and other investors and that so that was a huge undertaking at the same time making such a big movie as well so yes it was a three years of my life every day for 20 hours a day.
Q : What is the biggest challenge of shooting an independent film in Australia today as this one ?
Luke Sparke : Actually look I think the biggest challenge is probably going to be the finance in an independent movie especially like this I mean even movies for a million dollars people have you know obviously it's hard obviously I was a little bit lucky in this one where I was coming off occupation one I could you know I had people that I knew um even then we had this we had to cut the film into like a couple of blocks of shooting so we shot some in 2018 than we had like a year then we came back and dropped more in 2019 so even to do that was a lot of effort in terms of continuity and editing and making sure that people looked the same and acted the same and it felt the same there's some scenes within the movie where we shot literally one angle on an actor and then a year later was another angle in the reverse and you have to cut together and it looks okay no one can probably tell I can sit there and go 2018 2019 that was a pickup that was over here but it's just movie magic and that's why I love the film industry so much you can create something like that.
Q : Which are for you the good ingredients to create a good sci-fi movie ?
Luke Sparke : I think obviously visual effects are a huge important in this life maybe like this but I think what sci-fi I mean any sci-fi you know you're going to do these effects I think it's all about the characters and the story at the end of the day like what is the driving force of this film or the story that you're trying to tell I think if you get that right you can really work around whatever like I could have had Matt and Gary storyline between the two aliens and humans and I could have had that in a paddock you know as long as the dialogue was still okay probably still would have worked but obviously once you have that characters then you can create the world around them how big you can go and I think that's what I tried to do this time.
Q : What was the most difficult scene for you to shoot and why ?
Luke Sparke : I think the most difficult sequence for me was probably when they escaped Sydney because we were filming you know we had to film trucks moving and we had to film the drones at the air battle and we had to film inside the trucks and also back at the base and we had to work together I think that was the most difficult because we had to break it all down we were filming the trucks by themselves on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere and then we had to take all that and get rid of the background and put it in this destroyed Sydney and then we had to film the people in green screen and then it was just a complete it was just a real puzzle box to work out and it was fun to do it was it was fun to work out that puzzle box of how we can achieve it of course in a hundred million dollar film they probably would have built everything and just filmed it but we didn't have that luxury so working that out was a real challenge but exciting challenge that we could have pulled off.
Q : The photography (Wade Muller) and the music (Frederik Wiedmann) are really great. What can you tell us about your collaboration with Wade Muller and Frederik Wiedmann ?
Luke Sparke : So Wade well this is the first time i've worked with him i've wanted to work with him for a while he's an Aussie who works a lot over in Asia worked on Jason Statham films and the other things like that to get him was fantastic. He came over and just so polite and so has a great work ethic where he was always ready with the camera before we were even ready with the cast which was always really good and he brought in a writing tech called storm ash would props to him if he's listening that he's reading as well uh he lit the things so fantastically. Frederik Wiedmann is an American in LA and i've heard his stuff on YouTube for years and I actually mentioned it to my producers for occupation one that just didn't work out and to get him he replied with him 24 hours and within three days he'd given me 20 minutes at the beginning of the movie and I didn't change a thing and straight away I knew that this was the guy I’m huge on score like I love John Williams obviously from Star Wars and to hear something especially during the final mix of the film where we had a London orchestra do the strings and the brass and all this kind of stuff during covert while they were wearing their masks and everything to hear that here at live actually brought tear to my eyes so it was um it was an amazing experience working with him.
Q : What can you tell us about the really great special effects in this movie ? They are really amazing and looks as the ones in the American blockbusters ?
Luke Sparke : Exactly, well that's what I wanted. When I started storyboarding everything out and pre-visualization I knew it was gonna have to look you know as good as we can get do all the shots work probably not but it's overall the feeling and there's like 1700 visual effects shots in that which is pretty amazing for an independent film. We had teams working here in Australia like around the clock right up into the point where I had to literally pull it off them to deliver the film. What can I say I mean it's amazing stuff you can do these days I pushed the guys really hard they came through for me and you know that's the sort of movies I want to make and I was trying to emulate you know a blockbuster film um all packaged up you know from Australia.
Q : Can we expect a third movie to complete the Occupation universe and Which are your currents projects ?
Luke Sparke : Well at the end of this movie it certainly seems like I’m going to do a third one isn't I mean look without spoiling it and if you haven't seen the movie spoilers. I took the script to my people um and it was huge it was like 400 pages so I did cut it in half and I said let's have a thing at the end to say there's another one coming so yes there is a third one in active development well I won't say a third one I’ll say the second half of this movie in active development with us here and I’m also working on a different project which is a tv series.
Bursting with spectacular special effects and exhilarating action sequences, Occupation: Rainfall unfolds two years into an intergalactic invasion of Earth, as survivors fight back in a desperate ground war. While casualties mount by the day, the resistance—along with some unexpected allies—uncovers a plot that could bring the war to a decisive end. Now, with the alien invaders hell-bent on making our planet their new home, the race is on to save mankind.
Written and directed by Luke Sparke
Produced by Carly Imrie, Carmel Imrie
Starring Dan Ewing, Temuera Morrison, Lawrence Makoare, Daniel GillIes, Zachary Garred, Jet Tranter, Mark Coles Smith, Trystan Go, David Roberts, Dena Kaplan, Izzy Stevens, Vince Colosimo, Jason Isaacs, Ken Jeong
Music by Frederik Wiedmann
Cinematography : Wade Muller
Edited by Luke Sparke
Distributed by Saban Film (USA), Metropolita filmExport (France)
Release date : June 11, 2021 (USA)
Running time : 128 minutes