DESERTSKI FILMS, LLC

What is Desertski Films?

Desertski Films is a production company focused on creating inspiring content with relevant social messages in fictional worlds. Founded in 2016 by writer, director, and producer Arturo Vargas, Desertski Films focuses on current social, political, and environmental issues across the narrative genres, but not limited to, science fiction, fantasy, and drama, in both short and feature forms.

Given the ever changing social and cultural landscape, Desertski aims to develop and create content that captivates audiences by telling stories that inspire hope for a brighter future. Our goal is to focus on the impact of the human spirit in each of our projects, and to motivate audiences to view the world in a positive and imaginative light.

Gender equality and cultural diversity is a priority in every production by Desertski Films. Equal rights and representation for women and minorities is essential to best exemplify the world we want to live in.

Since it's founding, Desertski has been distinguished in film festivals throughout the world. Our films have screened at Cannes, Worldfest, Hollyshorts, and Irvine International, among others. Having won numerous awards for Best Science-Fiction Film, with distinctions in Direction, Cinematography, Original Score, and Sound Mixing. We look forward to growing in every area of the entertainment business.

What are you working on right now?

Right now we're in pre-production for our short film "Rescatado," a film about an immigrant child living in the U.S. who wishes to escape his abusive reality by bringing his favorite super hero to life.  We also recently released our first comic book titled "Psychic Warriors: Rising," currently on Amazon and local comic book stores. Please check us out and stay updated on our Facebook page! 

"Psychic Warriors: Rising Now On Sale

Hello everyone,

Our first comic book titled "Psychic Warriors: Rising," the sequel to "Aero: Origins" and "Aero" is now available for sale at Amazon and local comic book stores in Los Angeles (CA) and El Paso (TX). We look forward to spread more of our copies throughout both states and hopefully more. For now, here is a direct link to purchase the e-book or paperback version online: http://a.co/7AFrvG

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We hope you enjoy the book. Now we are moving to creating the next chapter "Psychic Warriors: Chronicles" and into pre-production for our next film: "Rescatado." 


 

"RISING"

On the next chapter of Aero, his story continues in the new comic book adventure series "Psychic Warriors: Rising." This issue will be the first part of the comic book trilogy "Psychic Warriors." The story takes place a few days after the events from the film "Aero." It is expected to release next month. Announcement of official release date will be on our Facebook page! Be sure to like and follow as most of our updates are posted there! 

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"Aero: Origins" Chapters II-IV

Hello everyone,

While Chapter I was released on December 23rd, 2016, we hope you enjoyed it for the time being.

Right now we're wrapped with Chapter II, in post-production with Chapter III, and in production with Chapter IV. 

Here are some stills from each chapter of "Aero: Origins" so far. 

Chapter I: Genesis

Chapter II: Escalation

Chapter III: Imperil

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Chapter IV: Flight

Chapter V will begin after animation on Chapter IV is wrapped. We're excited and hope to have it ready for release by early Summer 2017.

Thank you for reading!

"Aero: Origins" Delays and Chapter II Progress

Hello reader(s),

I hope you enjoyed your summer as much as I did.

We are almost wrapped with "Aero Origins" Chapter I and already working on Chapter(s) II and III.

All that is left with Chapter I is to touch up sound and compose music. Christine Hals and I have agreed to use an orchestra and a choir for the series. We're both very excited about the process of it. 

However, the animation process pushed us back to have the episode completely wrapped later this year. We're aiming for late October to release the episode online for a short time.

As of now, we're also working on "Aero Origins" Chapter II: Escalation. Ryan Best is storyboarding while Maria Linero is doing the animation for it, and so far, it looks spectacular. We've also already recorded voice overs for Chapters II and III. With the impressive progress so far, it seems like we will be done with Chapter II in November.

That being said, here are some impressive stills of Chapter II created by comic book artist Ryan Best.

We can't wait to be wrapped up with Chapter I and II this year! It's going to be epic!

Thanks for reading!

-Art Vargas

"Aero: Origins" Progress

Hello all,

It's been over due for an update. So let's get to it shall we?

We recorded all our dialogue in February for "Aero Origins" Episode 1: Genesis with our newest cast members:

Shayan Ardalan, an American voice actor from Los Angeles, as Zephyr (Aero's twin brother).

 

Cosima Kinsey, a British actress from Switzerland, as Aurora (Aero's younger sister) . 

Kerem Erdinc, an American voice actor from Aliso Viejo, as Blitz (Aero's younger brother).

and Julia Verdin, a British film producer and voice actress from London, England, as the Light (Mother of Aero and siblings).

The dialogue has been sent to animation artists: Martin Machàlik and Sim Šebestová for production. All characters have already been crafted for 2d animation. The backgrounds and objects are work in progress, but here are some examples how the animation looks so far: 

 

The ideal plan is to finish all animation by the end of May and begin music/sound design in June and finish the episode by July. 

We can't wait to show you more content! Stay tuned for an official online release date for "Aero"! 

-Art 

 

 

 

Updates

Hello everyone, 

It's been a while since this page has been updated. Therefore, I'd like to inform you on everything that's happening so far this year.

We added a live orchestra score to "Aero". You can view a sample of the live here, music by Christine Hals.

"Aero" was nominated has won multiple awards at LAIFFA including best science fiction film and best student director. You can look at the awards it won here.

"Aero" has now screened in Oregon, Texas, and Los Angeles. "Aero" earned high praise in McMinnville, Oregon, and El Paso, Texas. It was absolute blast screening in both those areas. Next year, "Aero" will have a screening at a special amazing theater we can't reveal yet in Hollywood. Keep an eye out. 

"Aero Origins" is currently in the making. We're hoping to release a sneak peek by January. Currently, Arturo Vargas has been drawing storyboards and collaborating with animators, Martin and Sim (who worked on the Aero Origins Trailer) to create the first episode. 

Arturo Vargas has also worked on directing another project called "One Heart" written and produced by Deedee Benkovich. It's a short and sweet story about killing with kindness. Here is  a photo from the set.

Finally, we recreated the "Aero" helmets for upcoming media that will explain the universe and saga of "Aero". These helmets were designed by Azlo Studios. 

There you have it! It's been quite a busy and wonderful year and we can't wait to reveal more content for you to enjoy by the end of this December. Thank you for your love and support! Prepare for an amazing journey in the "Aero" universe. 

"Cannes"

It's been several weeks since we attended Cannes Film Festival on May 17th-24th. 

It was a delight to represent "Aero" there as well as a big honor on getting it on a wall at the Short Film Corner. We were fortunate enough to attend screenings of "Sicario" and "Macbeth" as well as attend several networking events to promote Desertski Films and recognize other great filmmakers at the festival as well. We're looking forward to attend more festivals in the future this year if "Aero" is lucky enough to receive more recognition. Thanks for the support. Cheers. 

"Aero" Remi Winner

Hello,

We are back in Los Angeles, and are proud to announce that "Aero" has officially won the Gold Remi Award in the Science Fiction Shorts category at the 48th Annual Worldfest - International Film Festival in Houston. This is a big accomplishment for the cast, crew, and especially the director since its the first award for a film he has earned since he was 13 years old. This is a great start for the saga and hope to keep earning more recognition for what it deserves. Thank you for the support. 

"Aero" Houston Worldfest

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We're here at the 48th annual Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival. "Aero" has been nominated for a Remi Award and we'll be finding out if it wins an award this Saturday at the Gala award ceremony. For now, we're attending screenings, seminars, and networking with others until the ceremony takes place later this week. 

Aero Origins: Concept Artwork

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It took a while, since December, but we finally published official concept artwork and cover art for each chapter of the series. "Aero Origins" is set to be developed into five episodes each, with about 5-7 minutes of animated content. They're based off of five chapters in which the order of the story is meant to be told. You'll have an idea of what is supposed to happen in the story if you've seen the short "Aero." But you won't know the fate of all these characters. Enjoy the artwork on Facebook.com/Desertskifilms and expect a trailer in the summer!

Aero: Origins

And so Aero's saga continues...

I'm excited for this announcement more importantly because this will be a different approach than the previous short film "Aero." Aero: Origins will have the approach of becoming a graphic novel or a motion web comic depending on its progress throughout the year.

Now let me tell you about the story. Aero: Origins was originally written back about 4 years ago as a prequel to a comic series I did called "Heaven's Warriors." This story will also be a prequel for my most recent short film "Aero." However, this time, the main character in this film/series will be Aero himself. Whereas, in the short film, Aero was the supporting character and the heart of the movie. 

Aero: Origins is about the events that happened on Aero's home planet before it was destroyed. How he managed to escape to Earth and survive was a mystery and his last resort.

Aero and his race were one of the first beings created in the universe. They were created for a sole purpose: to protect the sentient life of their universe. Most of their names are wind-related because they are believed to be born into the world as "a breath from God." They appear as super intelligent humanoids exploring another side of the universe that is opposite to the location of Earth. These beings have also supernatural abilities of different elements and abilities that are unique to each kind such as fire, water, electricity, wind, earth, ice, telekinesis and more. However, being in the center of an dark unknown universe surrounded by other life-habitant planets leads them to danger with their home planet constantly getting overrun by demons. At their highest peak of danger, this is when Aero and his brothers take a stand.

In the image above are some of Aero's brothers as well as loyal soldiers from left to right: Blitz, Aero, and Gust.

Blitz is the most stubborn and aggressive out of the three. He tends to get heated easily yet has a big heart for the ones he protects. He likes to use no weapons in combat and would rather use his bare hands to fight his enemies. Blitz has a big amount of his respect for Aero more than any other of his companions.

Gust has the most intellect, yet the youngest out of the three. He tends to be a pessimist most of the time but can solve battle strategies and build technology as fast as typing a problem in a calculator. He tends to sneaky around his enemies and use his psychic abilities against them, unlike Blitz. Gust looks up to Aero and is one of the only few companions he tends to listen to.

At last, but not least, Aero is the leader of his army. He always likes to make his own decisions and strictly convince his brothers to follow them. In combat, Aero is the Vanguard. He strikes first and finds a way to win as a team, but can hardly win by himself. Aero is the most optimistic and never breaks his promises. But at a situation where his home territory is being destroyed, he might just break down.

Another character, not revealed in this image, is Zephyr. Zephyr is Aero's closest brother as well as the co-leader of Aero's army. When it comes to battle tactics, Zephyr is almost similar to Aero's. He plants strategically and fights as a team. However, he tends to make more risks and sacrifices unlike Aero. His personality is quite opposite and at times can be reckless. This leads to Aero's concern growing bigger for Zephyr when they're in desperate measures. In fact, a important factor of this story will be the relationship between Aero and Zephyr. Their decisions as well as their brothers will impact the fate of their home planet. The biggest question: was Aero the only one that made it out alive? 

Now in development with an estimate release date in 2015.

Stay tuned.

-Arturo Vargas

 

 

A little bit of "Aero" backstory

It's Friday and we're close to finishing up "Aero" for an official screening!

As of now, "Aero" is nearly complete with visual effects and will have its last color correcting session today. Over the weekend, Christine Hals will wrap up Aero's music. On Tuesday, we'll go into final mixing both sound and music together for a surround sound experience in the theater. So I guess as a post-production experience we're all pretty excited to finally see it all come together.

For those who haven't read up on what "Aero" is actually about, here is the logline:

A troubled rookie drug dealer, Chase, encounters a supernatural being, Aero, who can solve his life-threatening problems if only he can restore its health.

As "Aero" is nearing completion, I like to reflect on when I started writing it originally in 2003. Therefore I'd like to give you a little bit of history on how I began writing this as a series.

Aero was inspired by three video games: Earthbound and Golden Sun, mainly, with some influence from the Halo series. I know, it's silly right? How can video games create a movie or a series of movies? Well in a lot of ways, actually. Most video game movies have turned out to be flops (Doom for example). However, their concepts can create a lot of ideas for different stories. If you guys know don't about Earthbound and Golden Sun, they're actually pretty similar. They're both about a group of kids/teenagers with supernatural abilities that go on an adventure to save the world. Earthbound takes place in the 90s (with made-up town names and creatures) whereas Golden Sun takes place in the medieval ages in a fantasy realm. However, they all have their different elements in making the game unique. Earthbound has very bizarre antagonists and obstacles that the heroes come across, for example, in one level, there is a giant pencil statue that block the heroes path which leads them to having to fight a giant monster made out of a pile of puke. Weird right? Golden Sun on the other hand has a lot of backstory in their realm called Weyard with mythical creatures and stuff. So like Final Fantasy, basically.

The characters of these games are how the concept of "Aero" sort of began. I actually started writing this series not writing about the character, Aero, but myself as the lead character (Because that's what 13 year old kids do of course). Anyways, the story takes place in the future where humanity is spread across the galaxy and is at its peak of destroying itself. Aero comes into play as a character who watches over humanity and plays as its "guardian angel". He selectively grants his powers to teenagers who he believes to have the ability to prevent the world from ending. This is where he comes in selects "me" as the "chosen one" to save humanity from extinction. "I" go on a journey with a fellowship of other teenagers to stop terrorist and alien attacks across the universe (That's where the Halo influence comes from). The short film "Aero" takes place hundreds of years before the original story. In fact, it takes place in the present, where the original story takes place around the year 2400. Since 2003 I've written about 23 books of 200 pages of comic books to this series as well as  a 140 page feature script that has copyright and stored by the Writers Guild of America. So of course, I still have future plans for the series as a whole and will continue to pursue it once the short film is completed.

There you have it, "Aero" is a dear film and character to me, and when the film is officially released, I can only hope you can continue to follow up on the series when the time comes.

Thanks for reading. Final teaser trailer for "Aero" coming next week.

-Art Vargas

Behind the Name

Finally! I have my first own website. I must say, it feels pretty good to publish something with a domain name. I thought of doing this for a quite a while, ever since I developed a series as a kid called "Aliens vs. Bush" (I'll explain later). 

First off, when I started off thinking of names for the website I was in the Oasis Desert of Santa Teresa, New Mexico, which is about 10 minutes away from my house. I sat on top of my dad's car writing ideas for new stories on a notepad. I already knew for a fact I wanted to think of a name after the place.

Oasis Desert? Nah. Desert Sky? Nah. Desert Sunset? Nah. All those names were already taken in some form or another that meant the same thing. I had to come up with something unique and catchy.

Then I remembered, I'd often see a blue bird called a Scrub Jay in the area. Every time I saw one whether it was at the Oasis Desert or outside of my house in El Paso, my day after seeing the little bird would make it a whole lot better for some strange reason, yet, I embraced it. Then I came up with the name Scrubjay Pictures.

Unfortunately, when I first started the Facebook page within the second week of having the page up I was confronted by a humble individual who had his the name already established on his site. Therefore, I quickly came up with another name at it became Desertski.

It was always another name I had in mind when I came up with Scrubjay however it was only a made up thing I created. But made up created things can always be a good thing, right?

Thus Desertski Films was born. 

On my next blog post I'll talk about films I did in the past up to now. 

-Arturo Vargas