Director’s Statement

Since I was a little boy, I’ve always had a “thing” for robots.
I’d dream of piloting my giant robot across the universe, in search of space treasures, rescuing mankind from a robotic war, or simply chilling with my bot at a hill side ledge over-looking a city bathed in the rays of sunset.
I like all sorts of bots:
big ones/small ones,
retro ones/slick ones,
cute ones/deadly ones…
well very much to the point that even my sis & bro-in-laws would get me robot stuff for Christmas and birthdays.
My wife and little son (yep he learnt about Daddy’s fave) would make me robot cards and crafts for Fathers’ Day and my birthday. There are just robots everywhere in my office.

Sadly, when most of us grow up, our little “imaginary friends/monsters in the closet/ kingdoms in the forests” get left behind with our innocent carefree days of childhood.
The monsters we fight become real in the office, the kingdoms we seek are forged on the mountain of material possessions, and innocence is replaced by skepticism.
The once upon a time thought of never growing old in the spirit, is killed by our very own sword of jadedness.

After taking a long sabbatical from the film industry, I wondered what story I should tell in my “return”.
I wondered if I should tell that story that may be a film festival favorite, or how about that interesting comedic one that might be popular online, or how about that genre piece which will attract the most audience.
Subconsciously, I had drifted away, and replaced my freedom of imagination with others’ expectations.
I had grown old.
I’m still surrounded by things that remind me of the flight in dreams, but
I had chained myself down by my self-consciousness, fears, and what is christened by the world as “the Practical”.
The robots, rockets, space guns on my walls and shelves will always remain inanimate, unless they are given the breath of life from a heart that is free.
Free to fail, free to be criticized, free to imagine, and simply free to tell their story as my heart would allow.

As I threw off my heavy cloak of weary inhibitions, I found the key to the forgotten door.
The door that has been covered with overgrown vines of cynicism and apprehension, but the key still fit.
It’s a little rusty, but it still turns.
It’s a little creaky, but it still opens.
It’s been a long time since I met them, big/small/retro/slick/cute/deadly ones, but they have always been waiting for  me to return. And I enter.

– Rich Ho
Director/ Writer/ Producer
“The Boy And His Robot”

小弟的机器人 (THE BOY AND HIS ROBOT) is the first of a planned trilogy of online feature films set in the same fictional time and universe that will lead to an eventual feature film shown in the cinemas. In this online feature film, which is essentially about a friendship between man and robot, we are introduced to Recruit Kai of Mecha Corps Earth, who will eventually play a major role in the stories set in this universe.

Despite being in a fantastical 80% computer-generated environment, the story is grounded by my fundamental intent to tell the relational tale of a friendship that developed between Kai and his robot. Much time was spent in ensuring that the action and limited dialogue will convey the characterizations and drive the story. Special care was also taken to create interest points as a lead up to the following two online feature films and cinema feature film.

I wanted to show a different universe where the story takes place. And in my mind, the world will be one full of lush countryside scenery, waterfalls, horses & cattle, and simply a different science fiction world. Thus I went about shooting the movie as if I were filming a traditional epic like "Gone with the Wind", or "Ben Hur", and shot with the original aspect ratios of Cinemascope from that bygone era. I didn't want to have wet, dark, mechanical hangars or teal-tinted environments that audiences might have come to expect from science fiction movies. I try to paint this world with an out-of-the-world alternate universe colorful palette, while presenting an unexpected environment, where robots and battles take place.

This story is brought to life by partnering companies/institutions that produce ground-breaking technologies, and who would like to be part of this experimental but groundbreaking film project.
To date, the Nanyang Technological University’s Multi-plAtform Game Innovation Centre (MAGIC), NVIDIA, SONY, OTOY’s OctaneRender, Technicolor, Muse Pte Ltd, ISP, Act-3D B.V., and iPi Soft have come on-board to experience this journey.
Led by my production company Richmanclub Studios, together, we seek to produce and showcase the world’s first live-action movie, with on-screen visual effects that are almost entirely rendered by GPUs.
This just might change the environment of traditional film production.

Production Partners

  • iPiSoft
  • Act-3D B.V.
  • ISP
  • Muse
  • Technicolor
  • OctaneRender
  • Otoy
  • Sony
  • Nvidia
  • Multi-plAtform Game Innovation Centre (MAGIC) at Nanyang Technological University
  • Richmanclub Studios