Interview: Richard Clabaugh, director of Eyeborgs

Disc Dish spoke with filmmaker Richard Clabaugh about his effects-filled, futuristic science-fiction thriller Eyeborgs (Image Entertainment; DVD $27.97, Blu-ray $29.98; released on July 6, 2010). Directed and co-written by Clabaugh — as well as produced by the North Carolina-based company Crimson Wolf Productions (, which Clabaugh co-founded five years ago — the movie offers a story of a near-future U.S.A. in which terrorism and crime have given way to a battalion of autonomous, roaming surveillance robots that act as law enforcers. Not surprisingly, a detective (Adrian Paul, Highlander: The Source) discovers that something is very, very wrong with the system when he stumbles onto a plot to assassinate the President.

DD: For a low-budget sci-fi thriller, Eyeborgs is quite expansive and expensive-looking. Lots of action and lots of effects.

Clabaugh: Thank you! Yes, we gave the film as much production value as we could, to make it look as good as it could. I also want to point out it was funded independently.

DD: Those independent funds went a long way…

Clabaugh: We really tried to make them good, fast and cheap. Or you can choose two of them if you’d like.

DD: You’ve directed three movies over the years, but you’re primarily known for your work as a cinematographer for the past two decades. Was it difficult handing over cinematography duties to director of photography Kenneth Wilson II for Eyeborgs?

Clabaugh: You cast a cinematographer and you give them the creative freedom that you want when you’re doing the cinematography yourself. I wanted it to have a different cinematic style than I give my projects. When I was teaching, Ken Wilson was one of the first students I had. I wanted him for Eyeborgs.

DD: Did you enjoy the division of duties?

Clabaugh: I like filmmaking, in general. I love working as a cinematographer, and I also love directing and working with actors and editors. For me, being a filmmaker is one job. Whatever aspect it is, I love telling stories.

DD: With its themes of government surveillance and invasion of privacy, there’s a notable political undercurrent to Eyeborgs.

Clabaugh: There is, but we tried not to get too serious with the politics. I’m a long-time sci-fi fan, and we wanted to do a fun, engaging killer robot movie. RoboCop and Starship Troopers had a lot of influence on me and [Eyeborgs]. The best sci-fi movies have great stories going on, but they also have a commentary on what’s going on at the time the film was being made. They should be fun and enjoyable, but not completely without something to say.

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