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Code 8: Being Special Isn’t Always a Good Thing

Still of the police force from sci-fi short film Code 8, which is being made into a feature film

Sci-Fi Movie Code 8 might begin production this coming May.

We all grew up wanting to be awesome. OK, maybe not all of us. Some of us (cough, cough, not me, cough cough) grew up handsome and awesome (OK, fine, to be fair most people earned it), but for the rest of us plebes, awesomeness was the bedrock of our dreams. Super strength, flight, healing powers, energy projections; having powers was the ticket to a better life. Not so, says Jeff Chan.

Wait, what? Well, last year, Chan co-wrote (with Chris Pare) and directed a short film called Code 8, which had a very simple, and very intriguing premise: Having superpowers (or, as the short film first refers to them, ‘people with power’) doesn’t guarantee a better life. In fact, the 4% of the population (as we’re told in the film’s compact text opening) that does have powers are generally looked down on by the rest of the population and subsist just above the poverty level.

Still from sci-fi short film Code 8Code 8 feels too brief, and not totally satisfying from a story perspective. But, at just over 10 minutes, there is a lot that has been packed into the short, and much to respect. A moment where star Robbie Amell (cousin to Arrow’s Stephen Amell) is talking with co-star (‘level-2 brawn’ super, and the talented and severely underused) Aaron Abrams, which abruptly shifts into discomfort as a police drone flies by overhead; a brief montage of supers using their power on the job; the functioning of a scarily efficient police state aided by technology and drones.

The Original Code 8 Short Film

Any Additional Details?

Though Code 8 ends too soon after setting up an intriguing premise, there is a silver lining. Chan, Robbie Amell, and cousin Stephen started moving forward with a movie after a successful IndieGoGo campaign last year for a feature film adaptation raised more than $1.7 Million. And now, they have just secured another important piece for the film puzzle: international financing. XYZ Films, who just acquired the international rights, is now shopping the feature to the European market at the currently running Berlin Film Festival.

And, according to Deadline, it looks the movie is now eyeing a May shooting start date in Toronto. In addition to directing, Chan will also be producing along with the cousins Amell and screenwriter Chris Pare. And, apparently, in addition to producing, Stephen Amell will also be joining the cast. I say ‘apparently,’ because in the Deadline piece, it says that Robbie’s character, who is forced to work as a day laborer to make ends meet “is recruited by a criminal (Stephen Amell) who teaches him how to use his powers to pull off a series of crimes.” However, having just rewatched the short, that character is mentioned, but never actually shown. So it looks like, in the movie, that’s who Stephen will be playing. In addition, they’re saying actor Sung Kang will be returning as well, in his role as the cop chasing Robbie’s character.

All in all, I’d be pretty interested in seeing how Code 8 turns out.

Featured Images: courtesy of the Code 8 team

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