Globally renowned production powerhouse RSA Films is pleased to announce filmmaker David Karlak has signed on for commercial representation. The news was announced today by Jules Daly, President, RSA Films. Karlak, 30, first captured attention in 2010 with unsettling psychological thriller The Candidate, which landed him a spot on the prestigious Viewfinder List in 2011 and played at film festivals around the world. He went on to sell action/sci-fi pitch Rise to Warner Bros., then directed a proof-of-concept short to put it on the fast track with Roy Lee (The Departed) producing and the late Anton Yelchin and Rufus Sewell starring. Rise, the feature film, is now in development at Cross Creek Pictures with Karlak attached to direct.
Karlak graduated from art, design and visual storytelling hub SCAD, which plotted his course as a storyteller also nimble in the world of visual effects and technology. His VR experience set in the world of Rise allows viewers to walk through a photo-realistic set from the movie and see the characters up close at an unparalleled level of detail. Rise VR was selected by Oculus to premiere as part of the Storyscapes series at Tribeca Film Festival in 2014. Karlak also directed a custom VR experience for BMW’s design team in Munich. And he is working to develop new VR production tools and software as the Creative Director at Nurulize, a VR software company in downtown Los Angeles.
“We knew as soon as we sat down with David that he was a great fit for RSA,” said Jules Daly, President, RSA Films. “He’s a smart storyteller who can take a genre like sci-fi that’s in our DNA and put his own original stamp on it so you feel like you’re discovering something special. This was evident especially in his short film Rise and its companion VR experience. He also brings a hands-on expertise working in both visual effects and VR software that make him an amazing creative resource for our clients.”
“When I was asked to join RSA, I felt incredibly honored and humbled. Ridley Scott and Alien are my biggest inspirations,” Karlak said. “As a kid, I remember visiting the RSA website and downloading their latest director reels on a dial-up modem. The work contained in those short QuickTime videos was my first glimpse at a new breed of short-form content. These short commercials, these imagined things, felt more like pieces of art and played out like the clipped fingernails of vast cinematic worlds. I was hooked. My goal is to create work that may perhaps inspire others as much as RSA inspired me early on.”
Karlak has already been tapped to helm a fully immersive VR experience for Alien: Covenant with Ridley Scott overseeing as executive producer, through 20th Century Fox’s Fox Innovation Lab in collaboration with RSA Films and Technicolor’s MPC, the team behind last year’s award-winning The Martian VR Experience directed by Robert Stromberg. Alien: Covenant hits theaters May 19th.
“After seeing my short films for Rise, Jules and Jen (Jen Dennis, RSA’s executive producer, branded content and VR) brought me in for a meeting and then almost immediately we began a creative discussion about virtual reality and its potential to tell compelling science fiction narratives,” Karlak said. “They offered me the opportunity to direct the Alien: Covenant VR experience. Alien has always held a special place in my heart, it’s a movie that I was absolutely obsessed with as a kid. It has all of the sci-fi ingredients that I love and merging those with the emerging VR format created a perfect storm in my mind.”
RSA’s Dennis commented, “To work successfully in VR, you need to be a storyteller, creative director and technical director. The genius about David is he can do it all. Not only can he think and create in VR, he completely understands the technology. He will be an asset to our team.”
Karlak is attached to direct a second studio feature acquired by 20th Century Fox called Outliers. It’s based on his idea for a supernatural action film, with a screenplay from Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, and Peter Chernin (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Oblivion) producing.