"Sundays" is an ambitious proof-of-concept short film that has won critical acclaim and set the Internet abuzz in Mexico for its haunting visuals depicting a dystopian version of Mexico City after some futuristic disaster.
The film was produced thanks to $50,000 in crowdsourced funds raised on Kickstarter by fans who fell in love with the screenplay, storyboard and concept art.
Dutch director Mischa Rozema told Fusion the Mexican capital's architecture and society inspired this nightmarish film, which follows the unraveling of Ben, a young American who undergoes an existential crisis as he questions the reality around him.
"Mexico City was in there right from the beginning of the project," says Rozema. "I needed an urban structure to serve as a base for the Sundays’ future I envisioned. It’s a very polarized city, inhabited by the very rich and the very poor."
"I was very inspired by the brutalism in ghetto constructions," the director added. "These lawless and chaotic buildings that show a surprising amount of order once you view them from a distance. All these unique little houses and alleys become a sort of gigantic structure."
The short film showcases some of Mexico City's landmark buildings, as well as its most notorious slums. Rozema and his post-production team layered the real cityscape with raw futuristic visuals to achieve the film's eerie feel.
"I wanted to root the story into some kind of reality. For me, the Mexican culture still has a mystique where I can make the unbelievable a bit more believable," Rozema said.
"Prior to filming, I had never been in Mexico, but hovered over Mexico City for years as I did my location research on Google Maps. That’s how I found a lot of the locations where we shot Sundays."
"What completely surprised me was the people," he added. "That’s something you don’t find on Google Maps. Meeting a lot of people from all social backgrounds and ages made me completely fall in love with Mexico."