1stAveMachine Director Baz to Unleash Bloody Tale of Mortality and Mayhem at SXSW with Feature-Length Thriller, ‘Game of Death’

The squeamish might want to proceed with caution for Game of Death (GoD), a new, gory feature-film thriller from 1stAveMachine director Laurence “Baz” Morais and his creative partner, Sebastien Landry, in which playful recreation amongst friends turns deadly, a killing spree ensues and plenty of splattered blood abounds.


Premiering during SXSW 2017’s Midnighters slate of programming, Game of Death revolves around a group of young friends who decide to play the game of the same name, which as its title suggests, has ultimately dire consequences. “Kill or be killed is the golden rule of the Game of Death, which doesn’t bode well for seven decent-looking young friends who decide to play one sunny day,” Baz explains. “They quickly and gruesomely realize that if they don’t murder people, their heads will literally explode. Hence, they go on a killing spree, taking the lives of anyone they meet in their middle-of-nowhere town. The killer-instinct in each of them bubbles to the surface as their search for victims unravels into chaos.”

Shot in Montreal in just a matter of weeks with a cast of emerging Canadian talent, Game of Death, which Baz aptly describes as Jumanji meets Natural Born Killers, also harbors some philosophical elements amidst all the mayhem and bloodshed. “What we really wanted to do was create an entertaining adventure with some substance,” the director says. “It treads somewhat familiar territory for us, being young adults that like to party but also questions their existence on earth – those basic questions about life and death and asking, ‘why are we here?’ We wanted people to reflect on their own lives after seeing our movie. It sounds a bit far-fetched but I think Game of Death has a bit of that in its DNA.”

Game of Death, in all its gory display, serves as a testament to the symbiotic, 10-year working relationship between Baz and his co-writer/director Landry, who conceptualized, wrote and directed the film from start to finish. “We really know how the other thinks,” Baz notes.” We very rarely fight over anything and when we do the result is always the best decision. On set, I don’t even think we complement each other, because we discuss the project so much beforehand that when we are in it, we actually have the same vision.”

Interestingly enough, Baz and Landry don’t consider themselves gore directors, but decided to try their hand at creating a feature-length film within the genre following the attention received by their earlier bloody short film, Caged. “I think that Game of Death can reach farther than just the gore fan,” says Baz. “We are not gore directors so we just made the movie we wanted in the gore world but without trying to fit in with all the codes that go along with the genre.”

While he’s made his name directing music videos and commercials for the likes of Adidas Originals, Facebook and Hellman’s, Baz says feature filmmaking offers its own unique experience. “I see directing commercials as trying to render the agency idea in the best way possible,” he adds. “With film, on the other hand, you’re creating a story and bringing it to life with so many talented people. It’s something unique, something that you do for no particular reason than the need to do it. Still, directing commercials made me understand a lot more about what it means to be a director and how to bring a project to life.”



Created and directed by : Laurence “Baz” Morais & Sebastien Landry
Produced by Philip Kalin-Hajdu
Producers : Pierre-Alexandre Bouchard & Mathias Bernard
Executive producer : Mathias Bernard
Executive producer : Pierre-Alexandre Bouchard
Executive producer : Antoine Disle

Sam Earle
Victoria Diamond
Emelia Hellman
Catherine Saindon
Erniel Baez D
Nick Serino
Thomas Vallieres

Written by : Sebastien Landry, Laurence “Baz” Morais & Edouard Bond
Screenplay adapted by : Philip Kalin-Hajdu
Editor : OG
Director of photography : SPG
Original Score : Julien Mineau

About 1stAveMachine:

1stAveMachine is a mixed media production company and storytelling outfit. They create video, digital, and experimental content for TV, print, web, and mobile, all with a unified singular vision. They have won numerous awards since their formation, including Gold, Silver, and Bronze Cannes Lions, AICP, One Show, and ANDY awards, and many others. Their work has been featured across the globe and during the Super Bowl, and their division 1stAve Content has been instrumental in pairing the perfect influencers and creators with agencies and brands.