FLAVA | Cyberfunk Sci-Fi Dramedy | Cedar Falls, IA

FLAVA follows Raekwon, an actor behind a mega advertising pop star named Lil Pooky in a dystopic city nicknamed “The Bottoms”. After being challenged by a news host to do better for the city, Raekwon decides it’s time to take a more political approach with Lil Pooky. The giant media corporation he works for, Tenko, has similar thoughts and reveals that Lil Pooky will now be the mascot for the next big product to hit the market: terrorism!

FLAVA was inspired by many areas of turmoil in today’s climate. The experience of black actors and actresses within the entertainment industry was the initial issue we wanted to explore in this film, heightened to the extremes that only a sci-fi film could provide. From there we began branching out the story to look at capitalism, law enforcement, and the media’s impact on the masses. We wanted a film that would be entertaining and fantastical, but still had a very human core to it.

When designing FLAVA we set out to create a cyberpunk narrative piece filled with an interesting world and characters with less than $50 and a crew of only 3 to 4 people. This meant having to find low budget alternatives to give the illusion of a bigger budget. The film was also shot in Iowa, which is about as far from a mega metropolis as you can get.

FLAVA was filmed in 6 shoot days during Iowa’s signature winter weather, which meant one day could be 83 degrees and then next could feel like -4. The aspect of the film that was the most fun to shoot was the fake advertisements that fill the world. This task resulted in us creating dozens of fake companies and advertisements (our favorite being ReLeaf, a cannabis store, and Soul Burger, a fast food restaurant). This gave us the chance to really stretch our creative muscles in interesting ways as we figured out what exactly the city’s overall advertising aesthetic would be. Cyberpunk commonly draws on Chinese designs, so to counter that we instead leaned on more American, Spanish, and Japanese advertisements.

For the future with FLAVA we hope to get it in front of as many eyes as possible. This was one of the first projects we produced that we felt had such a strong message that we wanted people to sit with it’s themes and discuss it. As filmmakers, being able to give our perspectives on the world and discuss it with people who agree or disagree is always the end goal. 

Website: https://flavashortfilm.weebly.com/

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS2c9Ca06LI

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