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Solis gets its world premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival. Visual Effects House Artem talk about the challenges involved

Back in May I posted the trailer for a new sci-fi film called Solis. It looks like a it is going to be worth a watch and it is premiering at the Edinburgh International Film Festival this week.

Award-winning company, Artem, with branches in Glasgow and London, has provided the physical special effects for sci-fi thriller, the debut feature of writer-director Carl Strathie.

The feature film, produced by Strathie Films and UK-based film group, Goldfinch Studios, opens at the Odeon 4 cinema on 27 June at 8.35pm as part of the festival’s “Night Moves” programme. A second screening will take place on 28 June at 8.45pm.

Check out our EIFF coverage

In Solis, Troy Holloway is trapped aboard a drifting escape pod shooting towards the Sun. With oxygen rapidly depleting, and the craft due to burn up in 90-minutes, is there any hope of salvation from a rescue party in frantic pursuit? And does the recently-bereaved Holloway even want to be saved?

The film stars Steven Ogg (GTA5, The Walking Dead) and Alice Lowe (Prevenge, Sightseers).

Obviously, such a story demands considerable special effects expertise – more so considering Strathie was very specific about his requirements, as he explains: “We wanted to have as many practical elements on screen rather than ‘fix it in post’ CGI.”

Artem, which had already provided special effects for films such as T2 Trainspotting, Paddington 2 and Macbeth, quickly appeared as the number one choice.

Artem’s CEO, Mike Kelt, reveals some of the challenges that this presented: “As the story revolves around a person drifting through space in a capsule, a lot of the SFX we produced involved helping to recreate the effect of weightlessness, with various overhead flying rigs and harnesses being built to cope with the restricted studio space and sets. Sometimes we mounted the actor on long moving horizontal poles and used wires from above that could track the actor over the set. In addition, there were pyrotechnic and breakaway effects and CO2 gas jets.”

“We worried that a huge SFX house like Artem wouldn’t be the right fit for our project,” explains Strathie, “but they are incredibly supportive of independent filmmakers and managed to provide us with everything we needed to accommodate our budget and get the results that we wanted on screen. The results were a triumph.”

After the hugely successful collaboration on Solis, Strathie didn’t hesitate to work with Artem’s SFX team again for his follow -up feature, The Encounter.

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