Interview and Film Feature – The Art of Human Salvage

So the other day, yet another æthermail came in asking if I would like to feature a dystopian cyberpunk short film called The Art of Human Salvage. I had not heard of it before but it sounded interesting, so I had a look.

Oh my Cthulhu was I in for a surprise. The short subject is not only one fantastic piece of a cyberpunk, it also features none other than Edward James Olmos, a.k.a. Admiral Adama!

Well, now I was interested, and I also got an interview with the creative mind behind it all, Mr. Dempsey Tillman. Please enjoy the interview and the short film:


Please give us a quick introduction about yourself and the project “The Art of Human Salvage”

I’m Dempsey Tillman the director of the scifi short film “The Art of Human Salvage” starring Edward James Olmos, Jamie Walters and Matthew Boylan. The short film is based on the feature screenplay “The Art Of Human Salvage” written by Ted Dewberry. The feature screenplay was a finalist in the 2011 SHRIEKFEST film festival. Ted and I collaborated to develop a short PROOF OF CONCEPT film that we could use to help raise the budget necessary to shoot the feature film. “The Art Of Human Salvage” like my previous short film titled “Collector” can be found on Youtube and Vimeo.

Where can we find you on the web? And where can we find the film and related websites ?

You can find us on the web at There are fun facts, links to the film, behind the scenes pictures and plenty of fun trivia about the film on our site.

Have you done any other projects that we can find on the web?

My previous short film which was a supernatural thriller starring the late Brad Renfro (Apt Pupil, Bully, The Client) won a bunch of film festivals and can be seen on Vimeo at this link:

What were your inspirations (movie, literature etc) for “The Art of Human Salvage”?

Films like Ridley Scott’s “Bladerunner”, Alfonso Cuaron’s “Children of Men” and Luc Besson’s “The 5th Element” inspired the visuals behind our film. A lot of filmmakers talk about how they only had so little money to make their film but I think having such a shoestring budget forces you to be super creative. It forces you to find a way to get the look you want for your film. A look that sometimes connects better with your audience. A look that comes from being grounded and organic.

How long did it take to realize the project from the first idea to the final short film?

After reading the feature screenplay I had all these ideas zooming around in my head. But I knew that to make a good short film I had to focus these wonderful images into something that could work for a short film. Something that could grasp and hold an audience for 10 minutes and also be something that people would say “wow, I want to see more”. Coming up with something like that took a little time but working with Ted, the writer, we were able to hammer it out on paper within a few weeks.

How did you manage to get Edward James Olmos involved? (I am impressed and in awe!)

Yes, we had Academy Award nominated actor Edward James Olmos in our film. He was amazing. How I got him to be in the film was amazing in itself. Let’s just say, I’m a Rubix cube master to some and he was one of my pupils. I can solve a cube in about 1:30 seconds. I taught Edward and Cameron Diaz at the same time. I made a deal with them both that I’d teach them, if they remembered my name so when I contacted them in the future they would read one of my scripts. The rest is history from there.

Is the movie all funded by you or did you have some sponsors?

We had six producer / investors on the short film. They believed in the project at the even at the short film level. It was fully financed by them. They made is possible and that’s why this was a success.

Are there any plans for a follow up short movie or a full-fledged feature film?
If so, are you considering crowd funding to finance the project (I would love to help spreading the word)?

We are working hard to get the feature film funded. It’s a great script. We’ve got an Academy Award nominated actor interested in the project. It’s scifi! We are looking for an investor who wants to make a movie. Crowdfunding is definitely an option, too. So if you know anyone, send them our way.

Have you got any other (more or less related) future project you would like to tell us about?

Yes, I have several other projects that I’m developing besides the “The Art Of Human Salvage” feature film. A supernatural thriller called “The Blade”. It’s basically Constantine meets Jacob’s Ladder. It’s really exciting project. And Ted Dewberry, the writer of “The Art of Human Salvage”, and few of the other producers of the short and I are developing a ALIEN CONSPIRACY project.

Thank you so much for your time, it has been a pleasure!

And now for the movie itself:

The Art of Human Salvage Trailer – Short from Dempsey Tillman on Vimeo.