On the eve of the release of Alien: Covenant, the eighth entry in the popular sci-fi horror film franchise, Fox has released BIOTIC, a 90-second short film written and directed by Zev Deans, primarily know for his groundbreaking music videos for artists such as Behemoth, Ghost and Portal. To create the short, Deans assembled an all-star team including cinematographer Christopher Raymond (Logan, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), producer Monica Teszla-Goursin, avant-garde CGI artist AUJIK and extreme composer Mario Diaz de Leon (Luminous Vault). The result is a hard-hitting mini epic that depicts Alien's xynomorph as the center of a religious cult. It premiered on CryptTV and Fox's Instagram account, and can be viewed below.
We talked to Deans about how the project came together and his love for H.R. Giger, the Swiss artist who designed the xymomorph and created the aesthetic of Alien.
REVOLVER How did your involvement with the Alien franchise come together?
ZEV DEANS Fox tapped me. I got an email after the video for Ghost's "Square Hammer" came out with the subject heading "This email is on the level." They wanted some kind of unconventional promotion for the movie and what we finally decided on was for me to make this weird short film.
Did you write the narrative?
I came up with a concept, made a bunch of storyboards and just worked from there.
You have some heavy hitters on the creative team. How did you put that together?
I was introduced to the producer Monica through a friend of my fiancée. She brought in the director of photography, Christopher Raymond. The real thing I love about this is Mario Diaz de Leon's original score. There is AUJIK, the Japanese CGI artist who I've know for a couple of years — we collaborated on some projects that never came to be, [but] we stayed in contact and BIOTIC was the perfect opportunity to do so.
Does this tie into the continuum of the Alien story line?
I read the script of Covenant and created something that was inspired by the themes within the movie. I'm imagining that the artificial intelligence character from the movie at some point will make his way to Earth and finds a way to convince humans to sacrifice themselves to the xymomorph using religion as a tool for manipulation. Though I haven't spoken with Ridley Scott personally, his team has been communicating with me and giving me notes from him.
Do you think someone at Fox was a fan of Ghost and that's how they might have connected the dots?
That's exactly what happened, I think. Someone is a fan of some of the bands I worked with and was aware of my work. Oddly, they seemed surprised when I told them that H.R. Giger was an inspiration to me.
At the end of the video for Behemoth's "Messe Noire," you actually paid tribute to Giger. Considering how much of an inspiration he has been to you, how excited are you to be part of a project like this?
It doesn't feel real. I don't even understand why it happened, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.