Film and TV

Local Filmmaker Clay Liford Prepares to Beam His Buzzed-About Earthling to SXSW

With less than a month until Earthling's world premiere at SXSW 2010, the indie sci-fi film, by Dallas-based writer-director Clay Liford, is already garnering plenty of positive buzz in the movie-blogosphere based on the film's two trailers alone.

But with descriptions such as "haunting," "magical, and "strangely beautiful," it's no wonder that Earthling was one of only eight films selected out of 831 submissions for screening in SXSW's Narrative Feature Competition. So far, the film certainly seems to be riding the current wave of interest in low-budget sci-fi fare such as Moon, while also drawing positive comparisons to other meditative offers, among them The Clone Returns Home and Solaris.

After the trailer landed on the popular on Monday, we contacted Liford to find out more about the film, which, as he's fond of saying, is science-fiction without the three R's of "rockets, robots or rayguns." Still, aliens and, you guessed it, the city of Dallas will make appearances.

Though the film takes place in an unnamed city after a global brown-out, it turns out Earthling was shot last April almost exclusively in Dallas and the Mid-Cities. And, while Liford says the city won't be "recognizable" in the film (no landmarks), he says savvy viewers will probably recognize some of the film's location shots, among them Expo Park and Dyer Street Bar.

Of course, the trailers and more Earthling info will be after the jump. Oh, and, did we mention that the film's original, otherworldly score (which can be heard in the trailer) was written by Curtis Heath of The Theater Fire?

Lately, Liford's been making waves on the festival circuit with his short film My Mom Smokes Weed. And, at this year's Sundance Film Festival Cinematical listed the short as one of the 10 most exciting shorts.

But, as soon as Liford got back to Dallas from Sundance, he had to switch gears and get back to work finishing Earthling, which, by the way, stars a few names readers may be familiar with, including Rebecca Spence (Public Enemies, The Break-Up), Jennifer Sipes (W) Peter Greene (Pulp Fiction, The Mask) and, most famously, William Katt (Carrie, The Greatest American Hero).

"We're in the process of finding a rep for the film, and getting ready for South by, but the biggest priority right now is with finishing the film," Liford tells Unfair Park. "We're shy two effects shots which should be done this week, and there's the score. We're extremely close. We're down to things like the audio mix and the soundtrack, which we were recording with an orchestra over the weekend."

When asked how he felt about the film's frequent comparisons to Moon, based mostly on the fact that it's a low-budget sci-fi production, Liford laughs: "When people actually see the film that will be the first thing to fall by the wayside. But, hey, that's better than being compared to a bad film."

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Daniel Rodrigue
Contact: Daniel Rodrigue