Chris Barcia co-wrote and directed the short film Mortal Kombat Fates Beginning, which starred Victoria Simone as Princess Kitana.
3 May 2016
Kamidogu: Tell us a bit about yourselves: who are Chris Barcia and Victoria Simone?
Chris Barcia: I’m born and raised in New Jersey, 23-years-old and a self taught filmmaker. I’ve always considered movies and films to be an escape of reality and great way to unwind, connect with others, as well as entertain. Classic and traditional cinema are among my favorites because I like to recall the foundations of what makes today possible.
Victoria Simone: My name is Victoria, I’m a 21-year-old New Yorker that loves animals and video games. I’m a big fan of franchises such as Mortal Kombat, Marvel/DC universes and I’d say I’ve developed a love for Star Wars after binge watching the entire saga.
Kamidogu: How did you originally get into your respective fields?
CB: I got into my respective field in college trying to figure out majors. I thought about what was it that I loved and cinema was the first thought that came to mind. After a few classes at the school I longed for more than the basic introduction so I set out to teach myself the aspects of pre-production, production and post production. I mainly stick to directing and cinematography for most projects.
VS: Well I’ve always wanted to be a performer since age 4, I didn’t necessarily know I wanted to be an actress being that I didn’t know the right term for it. There was a time my parents enrolled me in acrobats and I believed I was going to be an acrobat. By the time I was 14 and auditioned for a performing arts high school I believed I knew my destiny, and the rest is history.
Kamidogu: If you had to choose another career, what else could you see yourselves doing?
CB: If I choose a separate career it would most likely be writing. Still close to my love for movies, writing would be my best next choice both novels and screenplays.
VS: You know honestly, there was never a time I didn’t want to act but there have definitely been moments where I wanted to venture into other things as well. I also took a filmmaking course at my high school and I developed a passion for that as well. That is something I can definitely see myself doing somewhere down the road. I love writing, editing and directing. I was modeling for a bit around 15 until I was 18 and I didn’t really enjoy it that much. There was also a time I wanted to design video games; I then realized the statistics to that happening are slim to none. I can’t draw and I suck at math, the only thing I can really do in relation to video games is take part in the writing aspects of it. I am actually working with my best friend Scarlett on a video game, she’s a very talented animator. I’m helping pitch ideas with the story and I’m doing some motion capture for it, stay tuned!
Kamidogu: Are you long time fans of the franchise? If so, when did you first experience Mortal Kombat?
CB: I am certainly a long time fan of the franchise. I first experienced Mortal Kombat when Deadly Alliance came out. Seeing the special content of the game that looked back onto the classic games made me go play the originals and I’ve been hooked ever since.
VS: Yes, well being that the game came out in 1992 and I was born in 1994 I didn’t get to really experience the birth of Mortal Kombat. By the time I was born the game was already one of the biggest games out there; I’ve been playing it since I was about 4. My dad was and is a huge fan of the franchise, although he’s not very good at it. When I reflect back on my childhood the first thing that really comes to mind is Mortal Kombat. The first game I remember playing was Mortal Kombat 3 so it has to be one of my favorites, although I feel entitled to say the first two games are my favorite after meeting and working with Daniel Pesina haha. I’d have to say the first three games are my favorite along with Deception. I loved playing Konquest in that game because you hear of these realms so often in Mortal Kombat and in Deception you get to actually experience all of the realms and see what they’re actually like.
Kamidogu: When did initial planning for Mortal Kombat: Fates Beginning start? Where did your desire to make a fan film come from?
CB: Me and Victoria had always talked about how cool it would be to do a Mortal Kombat film being such huge fans and it was always one of my dreams to make the new feature for Mortal Kombat. Real planning for the film happened just a couple months prior to our shoot date and then we had heard about the NY urban Action Showcase honoring Mortal Kombat: The Film’s anniversary so we decided now is the perfect time.
VS: Um, not very much prior to filming it. We had to have found out about the festival around early July, late June? The deadline to submit to the festival was the first week in October which did not give us a very long time. We estimated how long post production would take, the basic edit, the visual effects, color grading it and making the score which be roughly around a month and a half. Johnny Alicea (who plays Scorpion) had reached out to me and told me about the festival. I pitched the idea of us making a fan film to Chris and two days later he sends me a twenty page script. It was then that I realized he was serious about it, although we didn’t have much time to plan and work on it. We’re such big fans of the franchise that just so happen to be close friends that are filmmakers. We couldn’t pass up on the opportunity.
Kamidogu: Was there anything you wanted to include in the film that didn’t make the cut?
CB: There were plenty of things for sure. More fight scenes, more Fatalities and more signature moves, you name it. As with any film there are most certainly complications and some things that are out of your control for sure. On top of that we had a time limit on how long our final cut could be for the film festival so we had to make various changes to the original script and so on. When we set to film we decided we gotta keep the essential core of Mortal Kombat and balance the rest so necessary cuts were made.
VS: Of course, there’s a bunch of things I was upset about that didn’t make the cut. Unfortunately it happens, when you have only two days to film a twenty page script it’s expected to happen. We had actors flying in for this project that had to return back home.
Kamidogu: How much training was involved for the cast in preparation for the film’s fighting scenes?
CB: In such a short preparation time we only had a day of rehearsal to get the crew ready. We took down everyone’s skill sets and saw who had stage combat versus who needed more guidance and learning. That’s where Daniel came in: he had everyone’s information and experience so he tended to those who needed more attention while the veterans rehearsed in the background. This went on during set filming as one did their takes; people were rehearsing behind us for the entire shoot rotating out to make sure they got their stuff down.
VS: Again, not very much. Daniel Pesina flew in from Chicago the night before we had to shoot. We did a rehearsal the night before and a bunch of times the day of shooting.
Kamidogu: How did it feel to work alongside a Mortal Kombat legend like Daniel Pesina?
CB: Working with Daniel Pesina was a true honor. We got so much insight about the original Mortal Kombat games and he gave 110 percent on set. The production value skyrocketed just by having him on board. It will truly be a highlight of my career always.
VS: There is something about him that is just gold. He is really a breath of fresh air, there were so many moments we were all down about things; I mean it happens with every production but he always found a way to make some sort of light out of it. He’s also a very excellent instructor, he’s very patient and understanding. Whenever he speaks or is demonstrating a move and is teaching, you just feel so engaged in his presence. I would love to visit any of his dojos.
Kamidogu: What do you think Mortal Kombat fans appreciate most about your film?
CB: I think MK fans appreciate the nostalgia. They are going to see the original seven characters as well as the classic Courtyard arena. They get to see the original Johnny Cage, Daniel Pesina back on the screen. All in all they would appreciate the homage it pays to the pillar of the franchise that exists today.
VS: Besides Daniel Pesina, I think they would appreciate us honoring the first game (with the exception of Kitana since she doesn’t appear until the second game) and the fact that it was made and funded by fans.
Kamidogu: In your opinion what makes Mortal Kombat so special?
CB: Mortal Kombat is special in my opinion because it broke new ground. When it first came out nobody had ever seen such a game before and it was something new that paved the way for what it is today. No matter what anyone says like it or not, the game is one of a kind and no one can take that away from it. That makes it special to me.
VS: I’ve always been very driven to the story, all of the character bios and descriptions, all of the signature moves. I mean I started playing Mortal Kombat at age 4 and I wanted to become one of those characters. I enrolled in martial arts shortly after because I wanted to be as badass like Kitana and hey, I turned out alright. I’m not a super violent person or anything.
Kamidogu: What are some hobbies you enjoy outside of work?
CB: Hobbies I enjoy outside of work is writing, hearing classic rock music and adventuring on nature trails and hikes.
VS: Well being best friends with such film buffs like Chris, all we do is watch movies haha! I don’t mean to sound like a total bore but I play a lot of video games, besides Mortal Kombat I love Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, Silent Hill and many other franchises. I’m not really into the whole club scene but I do love to dance, I love live shows and I love to sing. I’m kinda always singing, I don’t ever really shut up. It’s kind of annoying.
Kamidogu: What are some of your favourite TV shows and movies?
CB: Breaking Bad, Doctor Who, and Tales From the Crypt. As far as movies go theres Hitchcock’s Stranger on a Train and Barry Gordy’s The Last Dragon.
VS: My favorite shows that are airing now are Daredevil, Gotham and The Affair, coincidently they are all shows taking place in New York. I’m not really big on reality TV but I do love The Bachelor! My favorite movies are Fight Club, Mean Girls, Titanic, E.T and any Star Wars movie.
Kamidogu: What is your favourite food?
CB: My favorite food is cheeseburgers. Everywhere you go everyone has their own signature way to make it so it always changes.
VS: That’s tough, I’m Italian so I feel obligated to say Italian food. Besides that I love Thai food, sushi, Mexican and Indian food. So pretty much everything ? Oh and Chris’s mom’s rice!
Kamidogu: What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
CB: Film between train cars. I was doing an interview video when I was first starting out and to get my shot I needed to be between these two train cars that were parked on the track. I set up my camera and began filming when the train started up to move and I almost got crushed! Luckily I made it out with my camera unscathed but needless to say I did not film that shot again.
VS: I bought a trip to Orlando last year to go to CEO because I wanted to meet Ed Boon, and then a big audition came up and I never went to Florida, haha!
Kamidogu: What is something most people don’t know about you?
CB: Most people don’t know that I at one point was going to be a business owner in retail.
VS: Most people don’t really know I’m 21, everyone thinks I’m older. People also think I’m a cosplayer, I’m not a cosplayer I did one cosplay. Besides that most people don’t know I also have a passion for filmmaking.
Kamidogu: Do you have any famous last words?
CB: Innovation is the true key to immortality.
VS: Wish everyone lots of love and success in 2016!