If I were to describe Dylan Howard in a word it would be passion.
I met Dylan Howard a little over a year ago while being part of the film crew for Benjamin Hayden’s Agophobia. Dylan is from Maine, and he flew out to Calgary to film this with pretty much nothing more than a wing and a prayer. Meeting and chatting with him I found him to be energetic and passionate about the things he’s doing. His enthusiasm about film and what it could do were the things I caught on with the most. Once Agophobia was filmed, I left the filming wondering just what he would come up with on his own.
One year later and I see him doing his very first short film King of Oneiros. Seeing that it was on Kickstarter I thought I’d interview Dylan about his film and some of his goals for it. One thing about this whole conversation that made me smile reading it was that that passion and enthusiasm hasn’t dissipated at all. If anything, it’s become more focused and deliberate.
Joshua Pantalleresco: What is King of Oneiros about? Why should we support it?
Dylan Howard: King Of Oneiros is a love story that takes place in a lucid dream where A man reconnects with his lost love after her tragic death only to find himself in a Lucid Dream where he commands his own universe.
The film is unique in its over all concept connecting themes like sacred geometry, astro projection, and Lucid Dreaming.
We are trying to make this short film stand out with the less is more approach and putting lots of subtext and symbolism in what people wear and say in the film as they all relate to the dreamer in some way pushing him to find enlightenment in that he is everyone and everything.
Much of the Character & Costume Design comes from scared geometry and duality in the form of body painting, literally the characters wear what they deeply are. Many inspirations have come from artist Alex Grey’s life works, and gods & goddesses from Ancient Sumerian, Egypt, and Ancient Greece.
The environment constantly mirrors the consciousness of the dreamer for in this instance the environment is the dreamer, they are one flow.
The core theme of the film is Unity, the one, the still eternity, the mirror of wonders, the underlined thread the connects all things as one, the dreamer is literally the way shower of conscious evolution. The Lucid dreamer is at the forefront of all possibility of experience itself and that is the key to his own empowerment to let go of the great love he thought he lost, replacing it with the infinity that lies within his soul.
A lot of thought and hard work has gone into the film attempting to create a kind of visual meditation for any viewer watching it descending into the realms of great dream space where limitations do not exist with the right perspective.
JP:Is this your first film? Can you tell me a little bit about your filming history?
DH: Before making this film I started off making documentaries about artist and important issues they fight with their art; one film being “Sculpting Peace” hitting the national PBS circuit starting next summer about an artist sculpting amazing bronze pieces to mirror world peace.
I have been waiting for years before I was ready to descend into the unreal and start making film about what I care about deeply which is my connection to dreams and the magic that takes place on a whole other level of existence that apparently is so similar to this world. I feel our dreams are the keys to our own spiritual empowerment kind of like a 6th path to a form of clarity and enlightenment, convinced that whatever is happening in the inner realms is real in some way.
King Of Oneiros is my first attempt to capture this concept through profound beauty that i experienced first hand. I’ve been preparing for this for the past 5 years, attending tech school for film in high school, and later Attending the New York Film Academy giving my the tool and confidence to make my dreams a reality.
JP: Anything creative usually involves a lot of learning. What has doing King Of Oneiros taught you as a filmmaker?
DH: The biggest lesson I learned is how filmmaking is primarily a collaboration, of artists upholding themselves to a common vision. I had the honor to create and direct the vision and i learned just how emotionally invested I could become on a project that is so thought out and reflects so much that you saw in your mind, you can’t help but lose your mind to the process of seeing something imaginary from you mind come out in the open becoming as real as you are standing next to it.
It has been amazing making this film and having it come together. I was also learning to take in hard questions where I had seconds to react filled with adrenaline getting past obstacles especially time. I felt I was not myself making decisions, I felt I was channeling this other energy the steps in height of the process of one take and move on in the face of losing an entire scene to loss of time.
This was a huge ambitious project to be able to say that I did this in 6 days of production is a miracle that I owe to a lot of sweat and tears and no sleep fueled only with passion that I was laying down the foundation for the rest of my filmmaking career. My biggest lesson of all was becoming a calm leader in the face of a giant wave of obstacles.
JP: You have a very interesting view on how dreams connect. Is there an experience that connects to your belief or is this something you’ve always felt?
DH: I draw from a lot of personal experiences of lucid dreaming into this film. One of my biggest epiphanies in a dream was the concept of meditation within the dream. When i became lucid and meditated, the intensity was so great that I was literally approaching a speed of light to the center of my core where I found the source and driver behind so much of the astro universe. It was mainly a light source and very intense to stay in that perception and eventually it caused fear that I may not return, it was like dissolving into a vast ocean becoming everything, seeing everything and feeling everything at once.
Other times I could tap on the shoulder of a dream character and ask to show me a past life and I see my essence at another time. Some characters would tell me profound things that I could never know, answers to big picture questions and meeting dream guides that would say they always watched me while I dream. So many of my experiences in dreams have been written down later painted and now currently visualized in film. I only hope to show and empower others to a bigger picture that is all around us possibly bridging the gap between this world and our separation from a greater aspect of our selves just waiting to be rediscovered.
JP: Considering your beliefs on dreams, does this film explore the question of what is real?
DH: The Film explores the similarity of so called “reality” and dreams. The spirit of the film is the essence of personal spiritual empowerment and freedom of self proclaimed control systems that keep us back from our true potential. In a way the film reflects and projects the idea that we are all one and mirror each other in so many ways creating the sensation that we could indeed be living in and sharing an huge interactive lucid dream like world where limitation is the product of limited imagination and fear based societies.
The film takes the more spiritual neo Buddhist approach to the journey with in experiencing the one. It’s a big picture concept reflecting some Gnostic beliefs as well. When talking and describing this stuff could be a never ending discussion because this is truly where my fascination of dreams come from and still trying to grapple my own experiences by first expressing them in a visual way. I know I’m not the only one that has had these experiences, I believe them to be truly universal.
JP: Absolutely not. It’s interesting just how into this idea you’re at. I admire the passion for it. What are your influences?
DH: This story is intended to be told in a kind of visual meditation similar to the huge inspirations of the more recent “Tree Of Life” by Terrance Malick, “Baraka” by Ron Frick, and “Samsara” By Ron Frick. The Way those films captured the world in such a profound way has left a profound influence on how i see and feel the world around emotionally and spiritually within the “now moment”.
Besides my own experiences much inspiration for the dream world architectures come from the book “Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self” by Robert Waggoner The book is the account of an extraordinarily talented lucid dreamer who goes beyond the boundaries of both psychology and religion. In the process, he stumbles upon the Inner Self.
JP: What do you hope people take from your film?
DH: This Film is a short accumulation of much grander concepts, like sacred geometry, Equality of the genders, and the beauty and sovereignty of the “Now Moment” and the human spirit. “It has been the driving force behind my passion to be a filmmaker, showing the magic of immeasurable possibility in imagination. Our goal when finished, is to inspire imagination and spiritual freedom in many different forms through the depth of this project”.
The story will remain an open interpretation for people to draw new stories and positive ideas from. At a deeper level we will inspire positive consciousness, living within an infinite expressive universe with all its interconnection.
I mainly want people to leave their seats with empowerment.
JP: I take it you’ve filmed it. So what’s left? Why Kickstarter?
DH: The biggest challenge with King Of Oneiros was producing combining all elements, such as location, make up, actors, and crew, to create lucid dream world. The footage that we have so far came out much greater than our expectation. All crew and cast are so excited about it.
We have completed 80% of The Film’s production. We are funding the remaining 20% of the production budget through Kickstarter.
Since we are fresh filmmakers and producers, promoting and marketing film will be challenging. We hope that kickstater will help us to build our audience even some niche areas.
Since the film is already nearly done, and it’s already looking good, our main challenges will be earning the final funding we need to finish the films post production needs & VFX and getting the film out into the world. It’s important for us to submit it to a large number of festivals, promote it online, arrange local screenings, and reach out to the press. We have a list of about a dozen film festivals (large and small, prestigious and niche) we are going to apply to in order to guarantee that our film will be seen, even if it doesn’t get into the biggest ones out there.
Our primary goal for this film is for it to be used as a marketing tool to get the filmmakers access and recognition at all the top movie studios and production companies. We expect the film to be shown at major film festivals across the world – Sundance, Cannes, Telluride, Tribeca, LA Film Festival etc. We also endeavor to utilize the online avenues and arenas to get the film across as many platforms as possible. Because of its short duration, we feel it would be perfect material for today’s booming New Media market.
We need some finishing funds to complete the VFX, do a final color correction, finalize the sound and musical score, and basically get the film locked.
JP: Will you be directing again?
DH: I’m hooked from this point on in the magical art form of filmmaking, I think a lot more could be conveyed in film then any political office. Film and media can reshape and influence a society’s direction as we have been seeing in the last few decades. So much is possible with the power of film, i think it has the potential to unite us through common experience in the most positive ideal of filmmaking. I feel I have many more stories to tell and this will be just the foundation to start building them.
My next film I’d like to attempt is a short film about a story that takes place within the “Hollow Earth Theory” Seeing so much opportunity and amazing imagination in the conspiracy and spiritual arenas have inspired such beautiful visualization that I can’t wait to start on soon. I want to try to push the boundary of what is possible starting with just below our feet, in the realms of Agartha, Telos, and Shamballa, sticking with my hyper visual ideas and influences taken from dreams and my mediations
JP: Is there anything else you want to say about the movie?
DH: I truly hope people will relate to the film in their own way putting their own subtext within a hyper visual journey of symbolism, and self awareness lead by a greater picture at heart. I hope people will also support its completion, this is a film dear to my heart and feel so honored to be at this point to make it happen and share it, film truly is a beautiful thing to be apart of. It has been an honor.
To support this film head over to Dylan’s kickstarter page: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dylanhoward23/king-of-oneiros-the-lucid-dreamer. All images here are a taste of what you are supporting. Click and give it some support.