Filmmaking Dynamos Enter a 'Synkhole' in Upcoming Sci-fi Adventure

New ensemble film shot on location in Texas and California caves

Online PR News – 09-October-2015 – LOS ANGELES – The forthcoming sci-fi adventure, "Synkhole," is a compelling feature film with all the ingredients that make for extraordinary, classic cinema.

From Mark Dennis and Ben Foster, the directing duo who delivered 2011’s dramatic thriller “Strings,” which took home eight prestigious film festival awards, “Synkhole” is an ensemble piece done in the vein of “The Goonies” and “The Maze Runner.”

The film tells the story of a group of students who venture into the depths of remote caves in Texas in search of an archaeology professor who has inexplicably gone missing while searching for the Fountain of Youth. In their pursuit, the students unwittingly rappel into a break in the space-time continuum, where time passes slower than on the surface. Without hope for rescuing, the group descends far into the cave and uncovers the most coveted urban legend in history, but in doing so, they find themselves in the crossfire for its control.

"The best sci-fi films are the ones that unfold and still maintain a discernible reality to them," said Foster, "Synkhole" co-director and producer. "The characters in some of my favorites like Close Encounters, Ghostbusters or even Back to the Future are all encountering these supernatural forces, but they're doing so in the confines of a reality that we're all familiar with."

Co-directed, produced and scripted by Dennis, “Synkhole” is now in post-production and is due out in 2016. From Pad Thai Pictures, the film stars Cassidy Gifford (“The Gallows”), Brianne Howey (“Horrible Bosses 2”), Reiley McClendon (“Pearl Harbor”), Hans Marrero (“Warrior”), Olivia Draguicevich (“Strings”) and Max Wright (“Dealin’ with Idiots”).

“Synkhole” was shot in caves in Texas and California, which allowed for a great cinematic atmosphere, but brought with it production challenges.

"A cave is a tough location not only because of the terrain, but because there is no natural light to work with," Foster said. "All the light in the cave scenes was added by our Director of Photography, Mike Simpson."

Along with Simpson, colorist/post-production supervisor Roy Yu Sun was called upon to deliver the appropriate visuals, a job of critical importance to the film.

"Roy is the 'hub' of our post production on Synkhole. In addition to being a great colorist, he's been able take control of and streamline our pipeline from editorial to VFX, color and post sound," said Foster. "Mark and I are editing the film ourselves, so Roy's deep familiarity with each aspect of post – sound, VFX and color – makes him a perfect link with those departments. He's able to have conversations on a technical and a creative level. This is often very difficult to find."


Sun, a native of Wuhu, Anhui (China), has been constructing an impressive career in the specialized role of colorist for many film and television productions of renown. Working with one the Hollywood’s leading production companies – Roush Media – Sun has performed in in color grading, finishing, mastering and digital intermediate conform artist roles for titles including the now playing hit, “War Room,” “Lady Bathory” (AKA “Lady of Csejte”) starring Isabelle Allen (“Les Misérables”) and Svetlana Khodchenkova (“The Wolverine”), “Beyond the Mask,” the award-winning “Faith of Our Fathers,” the three-time award-winning romantic drama, “Old Fashioned” and UPtv’s movie-of-the-week, “Love Finds You in Charm.”

Regarding “Synkhole,” Sun says, "Our job is really hidden behind the fancy stuff. We make sure everything works with each scene that is shot. If we're doing our job, not many people would notice. We are delivering the picture under the kind of mood that is so natural that the audience doesn’t even notice it."

The process features a collaboration between Sun, the directors and the visual effects unit. The end goal is to make the picture look real, natural and as authentic as possible.

"The most interesting thing is the industrial, technical part," Sun said. "I will deliver a plate for visual effects called a Cineon log space. And when VFX artist finishes, he will deliver the same kind of picture back to me. All the details, highlights and shadows are condensed into a certain wrench. The picture would look really gray and washed out, but that’s good. All the details are hidden in it."

And the challenge behind it?

"The hard part is they were shooting in three different caves. Each cave has a different texture and tone, and it's hard to balance it. They shot with the RED camera. The challenge is always having the camera to have a more 'film' look," said Sun.

Sun applies the theory that because “Synkhole” is a sci-fi film, the tone becomes more embedded into the color. "It’s a summer blockbuster look,” he said. “You have to always get the blue and cyanish color into the whole film."

Performing as colorist, Sun helped shape the visuals for the short, “Gone with the Sin,” from award-winning producer Melissa K. Webb. He served as colorist for the award-winning film, “Aero,” from director Arturo Vargas, and for TV episodes of the Why Wait Productions series “2Fur1” and “Dating Disasters.”

Last year, Sun was colorist for Lorenzo Pomari’s award-winning short comedy, "The Washing Machine." Last month, Sun’s color work showed up in an exclusive GQ magazine promo video for the German fashion brand, Philipp Plein.

He’s also recently completed colorist and post-production supervisor duties for Ryan Taylor Lopez’s feature drama, "Shadow Boxing."

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