In a world with a flawed criminal justice system, an alternative parole program that secretly tests the morals of prisoners could become a reality in the future.
This concept developed by Joe Lam, VMA winner for Best Thriller in September, is dramatized in his latest film, Fugitive Zero, an adrenaline-pumped action-thriller. The film deals with an escaped convict who discovers he’s taking part in a live simulation where surveillance cameras monitor his every move, undercover FBI agents act out crisis scenarios to test his morals, and the person who ultimately approves his parole is the mother of the victim he killed.
Joe Lam, established director, writer, and producer of this intriguing film, deepens the story with his perspective on how technology can offer an alternative solution to the criminal justice system.
Welcome and, again, congratulations on your victory at the Vegas Movie Awards as Best Thriller and Best Director in September, as well as Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Poster. Would you like to make a small introduction about who you are and when did your career in the film industry begin?
I first started as an Intern at Paramount Pictures and then graduated from the Academy of Art University where I won my first award for my thesis film. I worked at various production companies starting out as a Production Assistant and then became a Producer in 3 years. However, I never felt satisfied working for a company and what shocked me is that many of my co-workers who were 10 years ahead of me actually wanted to write, produce, or direct their own projects.
So, I left all of that and I decided to start my own production company called Shining Light Pictures, which allowed me to work on a variety of projects from commercials, music videos, promos, and documentaries. In my spare time, I focused on learning the craft of storytelling by writing screenplays and directing short films so I could transition into writing and directing movies.
Your film Fugitive Zero talks about an alternative solution to criminal justice based on proving the real discernment of prisoners through a sort of “simulated reality” where you can also assess the degree of “change”. Could you elaborate on this idea and how it came about?
I know someone who was charged for a crime through a sting operation conducted by the police without an actual victim. I thought to myself, if police can create a simulated event to lure someone into a false crime, why not use that same process to determine the release of a prisoner by secretly testing their morals? That became an interesting idea to measure whether a person improved or became worse during their imprisonment.
Read the Full Interview at Vegas Movie Awards