Trini director releases sci-fi film, Lumina, in LA

Gino McKoy, right, director and screenwriter, with actor Eric Roberts, centre, and first assistant director Badr Balafrej, left, on set in Marrakech, Morocco.  -
Gino McKoy, right, director and screenwriter, with actor Eric Roberts, centre, and first assistant director Badr Balafrej, left, on set in Marrakech, Morocco. -

Trinidadian-born Canadian film director Gino McKoy released his new film Lumina, in Los Angeles last month, which explores the adventure of a man in search of his girlfriend who disappeared in a flash of light.

McKoy explained that this science fiction film takes the protagonist Alex and his three friends deep into the desert where they encounter life-changing truths.

"I wanted to examine how it would affect certain individuals psychologically, if they had someone or a significant other disappear or be abducted by aliens and I spoke to Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), which is basically the alien network, and they have a lot of people who claim to have been abducted and experienced this type of phenomenon.”

McKoy said no viewer will experience a dull moment while watching the film as it's science fiction that touches on the psychological impact of having a loved one disappear.

He said, "You should also expect to see some comedy, action, and even a love story. There’s an underlying love story because the movie is about a man looking for his loved one.”

Lumina was filmed in Marrakech, Morroco and this decision was highlighted by the country's business paper L'Economiste for restarting film production there. This comes as there was an 18-month dry spell with no production or job opportunities in the country. McKoy added that his movie was shot during the covid19 pandemic with nationwide curfews being in place to prevent the rise of infections.

Aside from Lumina, McKoy was working on rewriting the script for Spidersweb, another science fiction film that he wanted to personalise with his love for the genre and action.

"This story was originally written by Michael Sloan, creator of the Equalizer TV series and feature films Equalizer – parts one and two – with actor Denzel Washington. I rewrote this script which has more science fiction and action. It's now in pre-production and I will also be directing this movie."

Science fiction is his comfort as this has been an interest of his since he was a child and now he gets to share his interest with all who are willing.

Gino McKoy, director and screenwriter, with his director of photography Raquel Gallego on location in Marrakech, Morocco -

"Writing science fiction is a big thing for me. That’s my first love. I grew up watching Star Wars which was a big inspiration to me as a child. Reading Star Wars books at the age of three. My mum, Lynda McKoy, even has tape recordings. I always wanted to do science fiction and I always wanted to do something that was unique. That inspired me to write this screenplay and shoot this particular movie."

Not only was he inspired by the Star Wars franchise, he also credits films such as Predator, Bladerunner and Alien for his interest. McKoy told Sunday Newsday that Lumina was only given life after he wrote his first ever feature film script – Little Mizz Innocent.

"This project went into developmental hell, but Little Mizz Innocent will be produced in the next year."

He chose not to reveal anything about this movie to keep the mystery alive, but closer to its release, all the information will be made available. But McKoy noted that because of this turmoil with Little Mizz Innocent, it prompted him to create Lumina which was privately screened at Regal Cinema in Los Angeles where he resides. He added that the film and the music, which he was also responsible for, scored highly with the audience that was invited to the private screening.

McKoy said he felt drawn to film and music as opposed to other careers.

"I also felt like I had much more talent in these both areas than anything else. So I guess, it really pushed me towards these careers. It wasn't overnight but it was also a long time before I realised this is the path I needed to take."

Being in the artistic field is not the easiest, McKoy said. "Is there anything I didn't go through?"

He said there were many struggles he faced while trying to "bring Lumina to light."

When asked how he felt about accomplishing this, he said, "I thank God for it, it feels great to overcome so many obstacles to get to this point in my life. I also feel I'm just getting started. God willing, there is much more to come from me."

McKoy said some of his major milestones include signing his first music publishing deal with BMG Rights Management in Germany and a worldwide sub-distribution deal with Sony Music.

As for Lumina, he said he is anxious for the worldwide release.

"I want the world to see it and hear it."

McKoy touched on his musical career and said that it all started when he began imitating opera singers as a child, and now he's a classically trained lyrical tenor because of his father, Hudson McKoy, who also composes music.

"I decided to co-compose with him, on his portfolio of songs, I also co-wrote the lyrics and sang the songs. Our initial three non-commercial songs were Prelude to Carnival, which was composed for the UK steelpan competition in 2004 and placed third. In 2005, we wrote the Soca Warriors anthem for the World Cup in Germany, this song was rated as a favourite on the New York Times.

"In 2006, we also composed a song for the World Cup Cricket, played in the West Indies called West Indies Forever which was played on the opening day of the cricket. We moved on to commercial songs in 2007."

He added that five of his songs are included in his film with his father being the co-composer and a family friend, Matthew Sargent, who helped in the music scoring of the film.

McKoy offered advice to young people who may be interested in entering the field and said, "Don't ever walk away. Pray and stay focused and never let anyone sway you from doing what you love. Never give up. God is always with you."

For more information of the movie, people are urged to visit the movie's official website at www.luminamovie.com.

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"Trini director releases sci-fi film, Lumina, in LA"

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