A visually rich world populated by surreal landscapes and impossible characters, Sam Mason’s Sinking Ship short film for King Deluxe trio YGT sees the New York based multidisciplinary artist provide a tantalising peek into the mythology of his ongoing multi-collaborative project Zuma. Enthralled by this sumptuously designed unreal word, DN invited Sam to pull back the curtain a little on this instalment in his ambitious passion project.

On the foggy margins of the ancient and the new lies the world of Zuma, where the masked Truskan people, a once rich civilization, rot away, or where the forgotten Wazoh bird-men roam the desert ruins. In the mountains, deep in complex cave networks, dwell the Tholotec ape-men, and by the forests live the silent Mani who dawn themselves in outfits made of hollow reeds that whistle as they wander.

Sinking Ship is a piece, birthed out of an interest in collaborating with musicians on an ongoing project, called Zuma. I’ve been at work on this project for years, with film being one of the ways in, but I hope to expand into other mediums as well. It’s inspired by the alt-fantasy of people like Jim Henson, Sergei Parajanov, Miyazaki. My intention is for Zuma to outlive me. But for now I’m thinking of it as a sandbox, and I plan to continue giving the world glimpses of it, and sort of seed a mythology that can begin to open up and spring new stories along the way.

I like to think of my workflow as collage.

I like to think of my workflow as collage, I used primarily digital tools on Sinking Ship, though I love working with people costume and sets. The visuals were created in 3ds max with 3D scanning for the sets, motion capture and cloth simulation for the characters. I work with simple gestural movements, and think of the digital characters as performers, almost a dance. As the story unravels and more is revealed we’ll move closer in and see the intentions and thoughts inside them.

But for now, I like to just give little glimpses of the world of Zuma.

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