Do you enjoy Aussie sci-fi films? The Gateway is one of the very few you’ll be able to watch this year.
I wouldn’t say Australian movies are rare, but they’re certainly not everywhere (does that rhyme? I think that rhymes). In our list of the best Australian movies ever, the only sci-fi inclusion was the Mad Max franchise. And that’s not bias; we love sci-fi. Okay? OKAY!?
John V. Soto, speaking at a Q&A screening of his new sci-fi movie The Gateway, explained a few reasons for the lack of Aussie sci-fi.
There is naturally the issue of funding. Australian filmmakers simply can’t amass the huge budgets of American movies, and as a result are forced to steer clear of expensive, CGI-heavy plots. As you can imagine, the special effects and CGI costs to set some of these sci-fi films in space or on some elaborate spaceship is about as expensive as… as… a really expensive movie. Nailed it.
And sci-fi, unfortunately, has a bit of reputation. Soto explained the way A-list actors prefer to steer clear of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, fearing they’ll “look silly”. People deem sci-fi to be too much of a risk.
Couple all of that with both an Australian and global hesitancy to watch Australian-made films, and it’s hardly a recipe for success.
But The Gateway has managed to get its foot in the door.
What is The Gateway about?
Soto, who had always held a love for sci-fi and a desire to create a sci-fi movie, recognised the difficulties he would face with the genre. Making a movie about people living on Mars would be about as difficult as actually living on Mars.
This landed him and his co-writer, Michael White, on the fascinating concept of parallel universes. If the characters in their film travelled between near-identical universes, the setting could literally remain the exact same, saving time and expenses. Plus, it’s a mind-blowing concept in and of itself, so yeah, that’s probably more important.
In The Gateway, protagonist Jane Chandler is a particle physicist, working on teleportation. She’s played by the very-established Jacqueline McKenzie, breaking the trend of great actors refusing sci-fi roles.
Very early on in the film, Jane’s husband passes away in a car accident. This times nicely with her discovering how to teleport between parallel universes, and, well, you can imagine what she attempts next.
Unfortunately for Jane, travelling universes to find a carbon copy of your dead husband doesn’t always go according to plan, and very soon the you-know-what starts hitting the you-know-fan.
The Gateway has been selected for a number of sci-fi film festivals. It’s available in select Australian cinemas now and on a bunch of online platforms.
So if you like the sound of this rare bit of Australian sci-fi, check it out!
Have a read of our article listing the best movie adaptations of sci-fi and fantasy books.