Alex Rivera on SLEEP DEALER

Luis Fernando Pena Jacks In to Make a Living in SLEEP DEALER

Luis Fernando Pena jacks in to make a living in SLEEP DEALER

Whatever happened to cyberpunk, a.k.a. virtual reality? Used to be a big thing at one point, then THE MATRIX came and everybody just seemed to lose interest. Was there a general consensus that it was just too hard a genre to pull off effectively on film? Or did everyone just think the Wachowskis had said it all, and nothing further needed to be added? (Such unanimity in Hollywood, of course, would be an event similar in magnitude to Michael Bay deciding to make a small, romantic comedy. And just as likely.)

Alex Rivera felt that there was more that could be explored in this genre. He looked at the idea of humans jacking into cyberspace, and saw a way that corporations could get their cheap labor without making the workers go through the whole, messy business of crossing the border. Thus was born SLEEP DEALER, a science fiction adventure in which a hapless, Mexican cyberhacker falls afoul of the U.S. government (you don’t mess around with anyone who sponsors a TV show dedicated to relaying live feeds from armed drones), and winds up in Tijuana laboring away in a “sleep dealer,” otherwise known as a virtual factory.

With a mostly Latino cast and a vision of the future that treads the line between BRAZIL-like absurdity and disturbing possibility, SLEEP DEALER makes for one unique indie project. I sat down with Rivera to explore how he pulled it off.



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Well, Someone Else was Fooling Around with Virtual Reality:

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