Q&A with Alfie Rustom
CEO of ALife Media. LLC.
Family Office Insights sits down with creative mastermind Alfie Rustom to get to the bottom of his latest initiative: Bioman™.
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Tell us a bit about your professional background and how it’s prepared you for your latest venture.
I was awarded a full scholarship by the University of St. Andrews for a PhD in Physics but decided to leave and eventually became an expert in financial technology. So, for 20 years, I travelled the world building teams and consulting for the world's largest financial institutions helping them deploy what would eventually become weapons of mass financial destruction.
As for writing, I had just arrived in New York was and was at ground zero on 9/11. Shortly after, I discovered I had talent for storytelling, and was encouraged by the daughter of the playwright of Elephant Man to take up screenwriting. She introduced me to some luminaries in New York’s indie filmmaking scene and also helped me option my first screenplay to an award winning European indie director. I spent the next decade mastering the craft of screenwriting, as well as deepening my knowledge of the latest awe inspiring scientific discoveries.
What is Bioman™? How did it come about?
Bioman is a visionary superhero franchise that evolves and expands what it means to be human in the 21st century. (Think cyberpunk reboot of Captain Planet.)
I was in Hong Kong for the global financial meltdown of 2008, which woke me up to the fact that something had seriously gone wrong in the political economy . A couple of years later, I managed to get back to New York and was helping a friend with a go-to-market strategy for his super-heroine comic book.
As I dug deep into the superhero genre, I saw a huge need and an untapped opportunity for a superhero with global appeal that explores our deep connection with nature and our ongoing relationship with technology. Then the fun really began, and it took many years to design a story-world with enough depth and richness to take on Marvel and write a visionary Sci Fi script with, as one reviewer wrote, "the most never-before-seen visuals in the industry".
What do you hope to accomplish with it? More importantly, how?
As I see it, the current planetary crisis is one of culture, and culture is made up of stories. A superhero with global reach could have enormous impact on the stories we live by and give us the courage to reconnect with our authentic biological selves and take on the challenge of solving our most urgent environmental issues.
To achieve this, Bioman will be launched as a transmedia franchise and will provide a multi-platform immersive storytelling experience, encouraging tribes globally to connect, explore and rationally discuss topics, and propose solutions that are important to the survival of our species.
How do you see different tribes connecting with Bioman™?
Bioman has been designed to resonate with the global zeitgeist issues of today including Global Sustainability, Global Oneness, Transhumanism, Freedom and Privacy, Technological Unemployment, Internet of Things, Artificial Super-Intelligence, and the Singularity.
Millennials, in particular, know they have inherited an eco-system and political economy that was created by the excesses and ignorance of baby boomers. They see their Gen Z children being programmed by media, consumed by technology and threatened by faceless terrorist hordes.
The constant worrying about the kind of planet their children will inherit leads them to feel helpless. The Bioman experience is designed to change all that. The franchise will allow parents and their children to explore, evolve and expand what it means to be human, encouraging them reconnect with their biological-selves and reclaim their place in the cosmic order of things and gain the courage to take effective action. As psychologist Carl Jung once said, ‘Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside awakens’.
Where are you at today and what’s next for Bioman™?
I'm in talks with a number of studios and large independent production companies about a feature length live action movie. It is an incredibly expensive endeavor, yet it’s easy to see the tremendous profits and social good that could be generated by a Captain Planet like superhero. I’m also building relationships with large environmental NGO’s and academic institutions, analyzing how Bioman can help educate and activate their constituencies.
While the movie is being developed, I'm plan to build out the IP, and the fan base with and the young adult novel, planned for release early next year. We also have a line of sustainably produced merchandising which will be enhanced by killer augmented reality. (Think Pokemon Go on a t-shirt.)
How can the community help?
Movie financing is always the biggest hurdle. So, along with traditional film financing strategies, we're exploring crowd funding under Reg A+, which allows up to $50 million to be raised from accredited and non-accredited investors. We would target parents with pre-teen children, and give them opportunity to invest and profit from a Hollywood blockbuster, and give them the power to decide which superheroes they want their children to role model. I like to think of it as cultural democracy.
When can expect Bioman™ to hit the big screen?
We're aiming for global release of Bioman on Earth Day's 50th anniversary 4.22.2020. With any luck I'll be able to pull in my fellow St. Andrews alums HRH Kate & Will to attend.
Being born into a working class immigrant family, it was his avid interest in science that took him all the way to a full scholarship for doctoral studies in Physics. Prior to completing the PhD, he decided to take up an opportunity Financial technology, and spent the next 15 years travelling the globe extensively consulting for some of the world’s largest financial institutions.
After arriving in NYC a few days prior to 9/11, he experienced the horror of ground zero at first hand. Shortly after, he developed a passion for screenwriting from the daughter of legendary the playwright and author of The Elephant Man.
Years later, he was based in Hong Kong running operations for major software company when the global financial meltdown happened, it was then he realized that he had been unwittingly deploying weapons of mass financial destruction and put in a plan to redeem himself. The plan came to fruition in 2013, when he left financial services to launch ALife Media, a dedicated to developing socially positive media projects.
Bioman™ an eco-superhero franchise is our tentpole property, it is designed to expand and evolve global human conscious through awe and wonder. For more information, please contact Alfie at firstname.lastname@example.org.