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Interview With Dan Berk and Robert Olsen Directors Of Body
By James Whittington, Friday 28th August 2015 Body is one of the real stand-out movies of FrightFest 2015. Its a strong mix of suburban horror and traditional thrills that combine to make a film that's outstanding. Here directors Dan Berk and Robert Olsen chat about this brilliant movie and plans for the future.
HC: When did you two first work together?
We met as randomly assigned roommates our freshmen year of college. When we graduated, we started a production company with a few close friends with the goal of one day making feature films. We eventually started to write together and it just kind of grew from there. We realized that we were better when working together, so our partnership expanded to include, writing, directing, editing - now we share a credit on anything we do.
HC: Who came up with the idea for Body?
As with everything we do, it was a team effort. We never pitch fully formed ideas to one another. We share our thoughts very early on in the creative process. That way we can both influence what the final outcome is. Many times the film we wind up with only barely resembles the initial idea. Body is no different - we wanted to make something in a limited location and just bounced ideas back and forth, taking bits from every idea and letting it snowball into a final product.
HC: How long did it take to write?
The writing was relatively quick. Once we had the concept, the story kind of wrote itself. We went through a few drafts, sent it out for some notes, did a few more, but the entire process was only a few months long.
HC: Did you have specific actors in mind whilst writing it?
Helen Rogers (Holly) was a close friend. We've always been huge fans of her and try to work with her whenever we can. That role was absolutely written for her. Other than that, we had always hoped we could get Larry Fessenden for Arthur, but that was more of a long shot because we'd never worked with him before and he's a busy guy. Luckily it worked out. Having his veteran presence on set really made everyone involved, cast and crew, really step their game up.
HC: What sort of budget did you have for production?
A very, very small one. We knew that would be the case as we would be raising the money ourselves. So we tried to make a film that had limited locations and focused more on performance than effects.
HC: Was it a long shoot?
It was a particularly short shoot actually. We shot the whole film in 11 overnights. We were able to do that because the vast majority of our film took place in one location. That allowed us to not have to load in/out every day. Being able to just walk off set and walk back on the next day and start shooting basically turned our 11 day shoot into a 15 or 16 day shoot in terms of effective shooting hours.
HC: This is your first full length feature, what lessons did you learn about the craft during the production?
The biggest difference is the physical grind over a longer shoot. When you're shooting a short film/music video/commercial, you don't have to take that into account as much. The days can be as long as they need to be because there's only a few of them and everyone involved would rather just get everything done in as few days as possible. It's tempting to do the same when you're on a feature, but it doesn't work that way. You have to make sure that everyone is getting enough rest. Otherwise you'll get to the 6th or 7th day and your entire set will be out of gas.
HC: What would you have done if you were the female characters in this movie?
That's the question that we want the audience to be asking themselves. We really wanted to explore the moral gray areas involved in a situation like this. Who the viewer sympathizes with (and if those feelings change) is a big part of the viewing experience. All that being said, I think we'd most likely chicken out, then again, we don't have a friend like Cali...
HC: Do you get nervous before your work is shown at a festival?
We definitely get butterflies every time. You never know how a certain audience is going to react and you have this recurring nightmare of half the audience walking out or some other AV disaster taking place. Luckily that has yet to happen, but any time people are seeing your work for the first time, it's a nerve wracking experience. A lot of nail-biting and knee-bobbing from the two of us.
HC: What advice would you give to budding directors and writers who want to make their own movies?
Know your limitations. You want to accentuate what you can do well at this point in your career, both creatively and financially. If you get too ambitious with the story you're trying to tell, it can blow up in your face. Try to base your characters on real people. We can write people in their mid to late twenties much easier than we can write young children or older characters because that's who we spend most of our time with. Maybe you work at a preschool or an old folks home and it's the opposite. Just try to stay in your comfort zone early on. You can experiment as you continue your career, but you might only have one shot at making a feature, so you have to put your best foot forward. Financially, the same method applies. You only have 50 grand to make your feature? Make sure you come up with a concept you can execute. A small, limited location thriller is going to be easier to pull off than an elaborate, effects heavy movie about a jewel heist. We're not saying you can't be ambitious, just don't try to bite off more than you can chew. Use whatever edge you can to make your film look better. For instance had a connection to this incredible mansion, so we got permission to shoot there and tried to showcase that whenever possible. We built a film around a resource that was available to us. Maybe your good friend is an SFX make-up artist, or your dad works at a diner you could shoot in - use whatever is available to you that would otherwise cost someone else more money and lean into it. You've gotta stretch your dollars early on.
HC: What shape would you say that the horror movie industry is in?
We think it's in great shape. Unlike some other genres, it's very concept and execution dependent; you're not required to have stars in it. It can be a lot easier to find distribution for an independent horror as opposed to an independent family drama. This is probably because there are a whole slew of moviegoers who want a more visceral experience and only go to see things that make them laugh or scare them. Whether that's a good thing or not is a different argument, but it's a pretty clear that that's part of the reality of this industry.
HC: Dan Berk and Robert Olsen, thank you very much.
MORE FRIGHTFEST Graham Humphreys' beautiful artwork for FrightFest 2018 revealed
Posted on Thursday 14th June 2018
Team FrightFest has finally revealed Graham Humphreys' anticipated poster for this year's event.
The stunning artwork for this year's annual Bank Holiday event, the UK's largest celebration of genre cinema, taking place at Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema between Thursday August 23rd and Monday August 27th.
For Graham, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' seemed too important to ignore: "In the same way that Frankenstein gave life to his monster, horror films stimulate our imagination and give form to ideas that otherwise dare not leave the shadows", he commented. "The painting shows our familiar host enjoying ...SHARE: READ MORE FrightFest and Horror Channel renew their sponsor partnership
Posted on Thursday 7th June 2018
Horror Channel and FrightFest have agreed a one-year partnership deal, which sees the UK's No.1 TV destination for genre fans become the Broadcast Sponsor for the country's biggest and most popular horror and fantasy film festival.
The agreement means that the CBS Studios International and AMC Networks International - UK owned channel continues its long-standing relationship with the festival, which dates back to 2005, and includes a two-year tenure as headline sponsor from 2016-2017.
As part of the deal, the channel will devote thirteen nights in August to a FrightFest Season, broadcasting twenty-six films from past festivals, which will include five UK TV premiere...SHARE: READ MORE Prepare yourself for the Attack of the Adult Babies' stunning artwork!
Posted on Sunday 6th May 2018 Nucleus Films have released the stunning new artwork created exclusively by the legendary graphic artist Graham Humphreys for the slipcase 1-1000 numbered limited edition Blu-ray of Dominic Brunt's Attack of the Adult Babies, which is being released nationwide on June 11.
And, in further good news for genre fans, HMV will be racking the limited Edition Blu-ray in their "Special Edition range" in stores across the country.
Nucleus Films have released the stunning new artwork created exclusively by the legendary graphic artist Graham Humphreys for the slipcase 1-1000 numbered limited edition Blu-ray of Dominic Brunt's Attack of the Adult Babies, which is being rel...SHARE: READ MORE Friendly Beast - FrightFest review
Posted on Sunday 18th March 2018
Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow was a true showcase for world cinema. One of the stand out pieces came from Gabriela Amaral Almeida who wrote and directed Friendly Beast, a film so visceral yet beautiful at the same time, it left an indelible mark on this reviewer's mind.
It's nearly closing time at a struggling restaurant. Staff want to go home while the boss struggles with money troubles and a desire for more power in his life. Enter two robbers, the catalyst for a violent situation, which the boss is initially able to contain and gain the upper hand. Suddenly, the already dangerous and explosive situation turns deadly; sides are taken, and people turn to the most abhorrent behaviour in an instant.
Thi...SHARE: READ MORE Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil - FrightFest review
Posted on Tuesday 6th March 2018
Ever wished that Terry Gilliam made more movies? The man who gave us Jabberwocky, The Fisher King and Brazil gave the world a new perspective and encouraged budding movie makers around the world to make their own visions and to stick by what they wanted to create.
Step forward Paul Urkijo whose demonic movie Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil just had its UK premiere at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow. This film is the closest thing to anything Gilliam has made in the past but at the same time feels so original and fresh that it deserves multiple views just to appreciate the detail and love in every single frame.
Ten years after Civil War in Spain 1833, orphan Usue (Uma Bracaglia) seeks es...SHARE: READ MORE Book of Monsters - Exclusive look at new poster
Posted on Monday 5th March 2018
Those of you lucky enough to make it through the snow to Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow at the weekend were treated to a quick look at Book of Monsters.
From the team that brought us The Creature Below a couple of years back, this female lead, action-packed monster movie draws inspiration from the cult horror cinema of the 80s and 90s including such classics as Scream, Gremlins and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. With sick, gory practical creature effects and a dark comedic edge, the film promises to be a fun, bloody and sexy trip back to a time when making it through high school was truly life or death.
The film was successfully funded through Kickstarter in August 2017, raising £45,000 and became one...SHARE: READ MORE Pyewacket - Frightfest Review
Posted on Monday 5th March 2018
You know the feeling you get when you see a film that you know nothing about, not even the title gives anything away and you view with an open mind and then it blows your proverbial socks off? Well this is exactly what happened to me with Pyewacket.
Confused and infuriated for being forced to move away from friends after the death of her father, Leah (Nicole Munoz) performs a blood incantation calling on an evil entity to punish her grieving mother (Laurie Holden). Immediately regretful, she realises she can't reverse the ritual curse and an unholy presence now stalks them both in their rural home.
Where do I start with such a movie? Well, let's begin with the sc...SHARE: READ MORE Attack of the Bat Monsters - FrightFest Review
Posted on Saturday 3rd March 2018
For a movie that's had a longer gestation period than any project I've known of, Attack of the Bat Monsters looks as if it could have been made yesterday, or the 1950s where its set! More on this later, here's what the film is about:
The movie follows schlock impresario Francis Gordon as he and his intrepid crew attempt to shoot an impromptu monster movie in the three days left over from the film they've just wrapped. This is the 1950s Z-Grade movie industry as its never been seen before.
From the Saul Bass opening title homage (which is worth seeing by itself) the movie perfectly encapsulates the era of post-World War II guerrilla film-making. Attack of the Bat Monsters ha...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Paul Urkijo, director of Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil
Posted on Thursday 1st March 2018
One thing that Horror Channel FrightFest prides itself in is by championing new talent. This year's Glasgow event is no different with a whole host of newbies bringing their first features. A real highlight is Paul Urkijo's Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil which is a sumptuous piece that Terry Gilliam would be proud of. Here he chats to us about this stunning movie.
HC: Where did the idea for Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil come from?
PU: I was inspired by the Basque story "Patxi Errementaria". He was registered by JM Barandiaran, an anthropologist priest who dedicated his life to recording stories and legends of the Basque Country. It is a legend about a blacksmith who was so ev...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Adam MacDonald, writer and director of Pyewacket.
Posted on Wednesday 28th February 2018
There have been a number of occult and demonic movies over the last few years but none have come close to the tension and terror of Adam MacDonald's Pyewacket. The superb piece of cinema is showing at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow this week so I had a quick chat with Adam about this superior shocker.
HC: Have you always been a horror fan?
AM: It really started when I was about 7 years old when my older brother showed me Evil Dead. I couldn't believe what I was watching, it truly rocked me. The card scene in the film did not leave my mind for days. That film is stained on my brain. I was terrified. But then I had a realisation that I loved that feeling. It was primal. Then I watched The Shinin...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Kelly Greene, writer and director of Attack of the Bat Monsters
Posted on Tuesday 27th February 2018
Making movies can be a tough business but to have to wait almost two decades to release your work takes true dedication. At Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow this weekend Kelly Greene's Attack of the Bat Monsters is finally unleashed. Here he tells us the story behind this celebration of 1950s creature features.
HC: You were inspired to write Attack of the Bat Monsters when you were researching 50s movies, did it take long to write?
KG: It took quite a while because I was working 50 to 60 hours a week at a video production facility while raising a 2-year old and 8-year old, along with my wife, who was also working. I would write at night between 9 and 11pm, and maybe a little more ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Patrick Magee, writer and director of Primal Rage
Posted on Monday 26th February 2018
There's been a spate of "bigfoot-style, beast in the woods" types of movies recently but none have come anywhere near Primal Rage. This superior creature feature from Patrick Magee will be having its European Premiere at Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow this Friday so I decided to have a chat with this very talented and creative person.
HC: Did you know from a young age you wanted to work in the film industry?
PM: Since a very young age I was always into, even obsessed, with movies. Specifically horror movies, monster movies really. As a hobby, I got really into special make-up effects and drawing. It got to the point where I was so obsessed with it, I decided when I was a teen that I ha...SHARE: READ MORE Frightfest Archive: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
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