Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Volition – The Movie (2019)


The upcoming science-fiction feature film VOLITION - Directed by Tony Dean Smith and co-written/produced with his brother Ryan W. Smith just won BEST FEATURE at the Philip K. Dick Film Festival!

A man afflicted with clairvoyance tries to change his fate when a series of events leads to a vision of his own imminent murder. 

Executive producer: LAURENCE “PALY” PALESTRANT in association with SMITH BROTHERS FILM COMPANY


ADRIAN GLYNN MCMORRAN (The Revenant, CW’S Arrow, CW’s Supernatural, Woody Woodpecker)

MAGDA APANOWICZ (Caprica, Kyle XY, Continuum, Butterfly Effect) 

ALEKS PAUNOVIC (War for the Planet of the Apes, Van Helsing, Percy Jackson, Siberia, Dirk Gently, Continuum, The 100)

JOHN CASSINI (Seven, Continuum, Get Carter)

FRANK CASSINI (Good Fellas, Watchmen, Blackstone)

BILL MARCHANT (Chappie, Strange Empire) 


VOLITION — a mind-bending science fiction thriller, where the line between fate and free-will blurs. When you know your world is predetermined, it’s hard to care about your choices.

This is true for James Odin. On a rain-soaked night in 1991, two cars collide, leaving all drivers dead on the scene, including the mother of the lone survivor — a child — James Odin

It’s a tragedy. But what’s more tragic is that seven-year-old James foresaw the accident happening two months prior. He tried to prevent it, but who’s going to believe a kid who claims to see the future?

Twenty-plus years later, James is a product of the failed foster care system. Knowing that the events of his future are predestined, he’s getting by, using his ability for petty crime and cheap thrills. But when a prescient vision reveals to him his own imminent murder, James must go on the run.

Together with a new friend, Angela, he must change the fate he knows is fixed.

My Recommendation 

Volition is a compelling sci-fi film that will grab and hold fast your attention from the start through to the very end. It deals with themes we are familiar with in science fiction: time travel and notions of free will vs destiny and Fate. Instead of finding ourselves along with the characters stuck in the usual endless temporal loop, the action rapidly moves between time periods in a novel and interesting way. The essential clues are there and do make sense and not everything is necessarily what it seems. 

The actors give very competent and strong performances and you’ll find yourself thinking for each one, “I’ve see that actor before.” Chances are you’ve probably seen them in a number of roles in many other fine films and series. 

Volition works well not just as faced-paced entertainment but also on the cerebral level as it forces us to consider aspects of own existence: To what extent are our lives and indeed our possible futures determined by the choices we make and the free will we exercise? OR Is free will just an illusion and are we merely playing roles that have been predetermined along the road towards a fate that is set in stone? 


“I have always loved social and cerebral science fiction, all the way from The Twilight Zone to Black Mirror. What I love about these stories is how they position a character in direct opposition to his/her belief system – forcing them to look at their choice-points in the most creative of ways.

“I’ve also been fascinated by the existential debate of fate vs. free-will. If we have free-will, do we exercise it? How do we know we aren’t fated to do so? On the surface, VOLITION fits into this mold. It’s is a cerebral science fiction thriller about James, a man afflicted with clairvoyance, who is spurred into action after seeing a vision of his own imminent murder.

“From its origin, this premise had enough of a hook to grab me, yet it’s not what drove me to spend years developing the story alongside my brother Ryan W. Smith (co-writer and producer).

“What compelled me was something far deeper and, ultimately, something entirely personal. It took me a while to realize it, but I was really telling my own story. Like the character in VOLITION, there was a time in my life when the world felt fated and deterministic. The more I leaned on this fixed mindset — a belief that I “knew” how my future “should” transpire — the less active I became. My worldview became a self-fulfilling prophecy — sometimes as a boon, but more often as a hindrance.

“For me, VOLITION works as a metaphor, challenging us to face our greatest fears and to take a leap into the unknown. We hope VOLITION takes the viewers on a mind-bending adventure, allowing all to partake in the choice-points that shape our characters. I also hope that, like the stories that inspired me, this film lingers just a little bit longer... allowing our audience to think about the ideas of fate versus free-will and how the notion that the very thing we think about ourselves (positive or negative) becomes our worldview and therefor, our world. And though this vision may seem fated, there is always time to break free.”


TONY DEAN SMITH — DIRECTOR / CO-WRITER / EDITOR / PRODUCER Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tony Dean Smith is a Director, Screenwriter and Editor, living in Vancouver. His first 35mm short film, “Reflection” — a paranormal thriller — was granted the Directors’ Guild of Canada “Kickstarter Award.” It went on to earn five Leo Award nominations and First Prize at the Spiritual Cinema Festival, run by Producer Stephen Simon ("What Dreams May Come").

Tony’s feature film directorial debut is “Volition” — a science fiction psychological thriller, which he co-wrote with his brother, Ryan W. Smith. The film is the culmination of Tony’s years of experience with directing short films and television and working in post-production.

As a seasoned editor, Tony’s strong story sense has shaped over 100 hours of features, indie-films and TV movies for companies such as NBC, Universal, Syfy and, most recently, for Neill Blomkamp’s company, Oats. Tony and his brother are also winners of the Superchannel Super Catalyst Award for their screenplay, "The Sensational,” a project they are currently developing.

RYAN W. SMITH — PRODUCER / CO-WRITER Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Ryan is a writer for film and television, living between Los Angeles and Vancouver.

Recent credits include: Adapting a confidential political drama feature for Anonymous Content; writing on the animated feature, "Next Gen,” starring John Krasinski and Constance Wu (Netflix Original); Co-writing and Producing the feature sci-fi thriller, "Volition" (Smith Brothers/ Paly Productions) with his brother, Tony Dean Smith, the film’s Director; writing and serving as Senior Story Editor/Writer for "ReBoot: The Guardian Code" (Netflix Original); serving as Supervising-Producer/Writer on "Some Assembly Required" (Netflix Original); and as Senior Executive Story Editor/ Writer on "Mr. Young" (Disney). 

Between the above series, Ryan has written on over 150 episode of television, and received two Leo Awards. He is also the winner of the ScreenCraft Fellowship and an Austin Film Festival Semifinalist for his historical thrillers, "Jacaranda" and "Black Messiah." Ryan and his brother Tony are also winners of the Superchannel Super Catalyst Award for their screenplay, "The Sensational.


Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tony Dean Smith & Ryan W. Smith are the Smith Brothers, a creative partnership forged in the fires of sibling rivalry. The brothers moved to Vancouver, Canada in 1990, where their childhood collaboration began, making short films that Tony would direct, with Ryan acting. As their love-affair with film making developed, they combined their talents to write various short films, television concepts and features films. This led to each of them working as professionals in the film and television industry for the past decade. 

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