The high concept animated feature film MAX BEYOND, produced by Hasraf ‘HaZ’ Dulull’s  HaZimation is getting its release on April 22nd 2024 on Digital platforms.

“Max Beyond tells the story of Max, a young boy held captive in a research facility, who uses his ability to create rifts in the fabric of spacetime, across parallel universes, looking for the one in which his brother Leon, a former marine, manages to rescue him. With attempt after attempt ending in Leon’s death, the strain starts to take its toll on both brothers. When Max discovers his captors are using his power against him, he realises he must stop focusing on how the story ends and rewrite the story from the beginning.”

This is a movie that was made during the pandemic. When Hollywood shut down, the team at HaZimation kept pushing ahead with filmmaking by switching mediums from live action to animation.

“I had to keep making stuff, I was not going to let the pandemic stop that! The team at HaZimation shared the same passion, and as soon as we did the test animation scenes and shared it with people, we knew we had a compelling story and a way of telling this story to enable us to go straight into production from the get go,” says HaZ Dulull.

They looked into their development slate, and picked a treatment outline that HaZ wrote back in 2018 called BROTHER, which was very difficult and expensive to shoot, and was considered as their big budget live action movie, that mixed intense action with the multiverses concept.  So, they pushed this into development as an animated feature film.

The entire team worked remotely, from voice actors recording in their makeshift ADR booths at home, to motion capture being performed and directed via Zoom, whilst the animation team working directly from the Cloud utilising the latest in real-time cgi animation technology.

When it came to financing, we knew the pandemic was not the best time to approach financiers, as most of them were not even sure what the state of Hollywood was going to be. We also knew we had to keep the budget tight, so we were very fortunate that our first feature film THE BEYOND (distributed by Gravitas Ventures), was a commercial hit since releasing in 2018, and was still bringing in revenue, so with the profits from the movie, HaZ and his business partner Paula Crickard used their producer earnings to finance the movie, and whilst in production were able to raise additional financing via tech grants such as the Epic Mega Grant as well small equity financing from executive producers they had worked with previously.

The team also knew that the animation market would be hard and competitive to play in and had no intention of sitting alongside the other animated feature films out there, so HaZ and his CG team developed a style that mixed 3D with a 2D / Anime inspired energy, in order for the animation to have its own unique vibe.   The Netflix anthology series – ‘Love Death & Robots’   was a huge inspiration for HaZ and the team to create something that was bold, brave and have its own identity and not worry about conforming to the conventional style of CG animation films out there.

Visually the film utilises Unreal Engine. Using this approach has also enabled us to take a Transmedia view to expand the story and universe of MAX BEYOND into a video game (Consoles + PC).

The spin off video game of MAX BEYOND, is in active development with a release date of mid 2025.  The game was signed on the ID@ Xbox programme back in 2023.

MAX BEYOND is directed and produced by Hasraf ‘HaZ’ Dulull (Disney’s FAST LAYNE, indie sci-fi features – THE BEYOND & 2036 ORIGIN UNKNOWN),

Written by Stavros Pamballis (SIEGE ON LIPERTI STREET) and produced by Paula Crickard (JOLT, THE PROTEGE).

The film’s executive producers are Yariv Lerner (RAMBO – LAST BLOOD, THE HITMAN’s WIFE’s BODYGUARD), Amy Gardner (IDENTICALS) and Jason Potter.  The film was graded by colourist Vanessa Taylor (THE NORTHMAN).

The voice cast includes BAFTA-award winning actor, Jane Perry (CYBERPUNK 2077, HITMAN, RETURNAL), Dave Fennoy (THE WALKING DEAD) and Cade Tropeano (BLACK BIRD).   Motion capture performances are from Ace Ruele (ETERNALS) and Alex Kong (WHAT IF).

The music score is by MIROSHOT.

Jon Creamer

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