Chris Vlahonasios is the owner of Transfigure Media and founder of the Byazanfest film festival, the world’s only online Orthodox Christian film festival streaming the very best short and feature-length films.
Stephan and Andrew Robinson, under the combined name of ‘The Brothers Robinson’, are two filmmakers from Australia. In 2016, they were commissioned to create a fashion centred piece for Canberra’s annual ‘Fashfest’ event. As Orthodox Christians, the brothers see their faith as the underlying foundation of all their creative endeavours, and this was no different.
The resulting short film, ‘The Alternate’, is an artistic film that was inspired by the Transfiguration. The brothers aimed to show, in a subtle way, the power of Christ’s truth in transfiguring the lives and world around us. Interwoven through the story is an idea of an ‘alternate reality’ in which the truth of faith balances together the many strands of our fractured society.
In an interview Stephan said, “It’s a veiled parable. Making it was an act of worship for us, and by a ‘coincidence’, the first day of shooting fell on the feast of the Transfiguration. We spent the morning in the liturgy, and the next three days filming.”
In a clear nod to their source of inspiration, a montage at the heart of the film features shots filmed in an Orthodox church. It’s a short but sweet glimpse of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Canberra, and is the more obvious of the Orthodox images in the film. The others are harder to spot. “During the VFX [visual effects] sequences where the world changes, there is a warping effect that happens around our main character. If you watch carefully, or pause, you’ll see there are distinct diamond and square shapes in the image. These are modelled directly on designs that normally represent light beams in traditional Orthodox icons of the Transfiguration.”
Enjoy watching ‘The Alternate’ and subscribe to the brothers’ channel, which features mini-films alongside their bigger works. Amongst their varied sketches are light-hearted comedies, dramatic pieces, and films of faith. The brothers are currently finishing up post-production on a new short film set in the Viking Age. Once again, it takes strong inspiration from their Orthodox faith and keen eyed viewers can expect a few visual clues.