Interview With Dominic Brunt Director And Star Of Before Dawn
By James Whittington, Sunday 17th February 2013

dominic_bruntDominic Brunt is known to millions as Paddy from the hit ITV soap Emmerdale. Last year he brought his stunning directorial debut Before Dawn to FrightFest and gained a new legion of fans. This superb zombie shocker was a real highlight and is due for release onto DVD on February 25th.

We caught up with Dom to talk about making his first feature, of showing the movie at festivals and what plans he has for the future.

HC: You're a massive fan of the zombie genre, what are your top three gut-munching movies?

DB: I watch an awful lot of awful zombie films in preparation for the Leeds Zombie Film Festival (now in its sixth year). There are so many brilliant and original ones that stick out from the pile though. Obviously Dawn Of The Dead is a classic and I could probably quote every line from the film. We're hoping to show the Argento cut this year. I thought the German film Rammbock was a great film which came out of nowhere for me. Braindead is still a supreme zombie film which we showed last year. It went down an absolute storm with the audience cheering and laughing all the way through. A total one off gem. It's difficult to have just three as that would be ignoring Night Of The Living Dead, Flesh Eaters, Colin, La Horde, Zombie Land, Night Of Terrors, Planet Terror, Shaun Of The Dead, Re-Animator, Pontypool, Dead Set, Maniac Cop etc etc etc

HC: Before Dawn is your directorial debut, were you inspired by any other directors' style?

DB: We wanted to make it as British as we could and I really love the films of Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Shane Meadows. They manage to make situations come alive and get naturalistic performances from their actors without any grandstanding or over the top American action film gurning. It was important to us that this unlikely situation was to happen to a believable couple you could relate to with everyday problems of their own. Then throw the living dead at them and see what would really happen.

HC: How did you manage juggling your day job with this project?

DB: Emmerdale and specifically Gavin Blyth (then Producer) were right behind the project from the beginning. I was allowed to do Inbred first, much to my surprise as it's quite brutal, then I passed him the script for Before Dawn and he basically said "Great, yeah, good luck, go for it". There were no time limits for the preproduction as we were working for ourselves so I could really plan the thing to within an inch of its life and go looking for funding. The schedule done by Nader Mabadi was a life saver and we knew that if we stuck to that, we wouldn't go wrong. I finished work on the Friday night, met the cast and crew for dinner and went through plans for the first day then on the Saturday we started filming for 15 days solid. We finished on the Sunday night and I was back in work at Emmerdale on the Monday morning fresh as a daisy and feeling excited and proud. Then the hard work really began in the edit and dub over six months.

HC: The camera work is ambitious (such as the "from the air" title sequence) and effects are impressive, did you call in many favours for these?

DB: I called in a lot of favours in making Before Dawn but tried not to take the p*ss because you never know when you might need to ask again!!

HC: Before Dawn has developed quite a following since it was shown across festivals last year. What was it like jumping from city to city with it and did it surprise you how positively critics responded to the movie?

DB: We would have been more than happy to have a couple of festivals under our belt then maybe grab a modest distribution deal or even distributed it ourselves but it just ran away with itself. We showed at Berlin then Cannes but as soon as FrightFest got hold of it we had coverage from Film4 and the Horror Channel then magazines ran articles. We ended up being shown in most cities and doing a mini tour of Q&A sessions along with the screenings. This led to a Distribution deal with Metrodome who have been kind enough to give us a limited cinema release as well as DVD and this ultimately ended up with being shown and distributed all over the world and in different languages. As you can imagine, it's been a thrill and has taken us completely by surprise.

HC: When we first spoke (at FrightFest 2012) you seemed quite shocked by the way the film was embraced by those who saw it. That must have been gratifying to say the least?

DB: We had a sickening worry that we would fail to satisfy the horror audience as there is a strong element of human drama and character based story involved and we had another worry that fans of drama orientated films would balk at so much gore and violence. The horror audience have been amazing and really encouraging. I am a nerdy horror geek and it would have broken my heart if we'd failed with them as I feel part of them. They are the most open minded of all cinephiles and in my experience are willing to accept and be entertained by more than just one element of the genre and so we feel emboldened by their support.

HC: Do you have any tips for first time directors?

DB: Stop talking about it, get out there and press record. Equipment is cheap to hire and it is possible to shoot on broadcast quality gear for very little money now. I know people that have been whining about shooting a feature for years and they have more excuses than ideas.

HC: What projects are you working on at the moment?

DB: We have finished two short films which we’re very proud of (After Three and Grace's Story) and we're in pre-production with our next feature which will be a gory and violent female revenge drama.

HC: Dominic Brunt, thank you very much.

Interview with Richard Elliot, Managing Director of 88 Films
Posted on Saturday 17th March 2018

Recently I've been lucky enough to review some rather tasty Blu-rays from 88 Films. This company has been behind amazing releases of titles such as A Cat in the Brain, Anthropophagous and Don't Go in the Woods...Alone. So I decided to chat to managing director Richard Elliot about 88 Films and how they survive in a cut-throat market.

HC: How did 88 Films start?

RE: 88 Films started after James and I met working for another label and it was the usual "we think we can do it better than the boss" scenario. So we slowly developed an idea of what we wanted to do after work down the pub and after lots of head scratching and pork scratchings and some setbacks BE Movies was born... which quickly became 88 Films...

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...

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...

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 ...

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...

Interview with Gabriela Amaral, writer and director of Friendly Beast
Posted on Sunday 25th February 2018

As we get ready for the trip to Scotland for this year's Horror Channel FrightFest Glasgow I've been lucky enough to chat to Gabriela Amaral about her powerful movie Friendly Beast which is getting its UK Premiere at the event.

HC: Was there a certain piece of work or person that inspired you to work in the industry?

GA: Yes, there was. I am a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock and I decided to study cinema because of him. In the beginning, I didn't know what would I do with movies. Would I be an academic? A film critic? A director? I just knew I had to live doing something that had to do with movies. I graduated in Communication Studies in Brazil where I studied horror movies and literature (specific...

Interview with Ruth Platt, director of The Lesson
Posted on Wednesday 6th December 2017

On the eve of Horror Channel's network premiere screening of The Lesson, director Ruth Platt talks about the decision to quit RADA, why her film isn't 'torture porn' and what the future holds.

The Lesson received its World Premiere at FrightFest. How did you react when it was chosen? And what was the experience like?

RP: I was really excited when I found out we'd been picked - we got a call from the team, and they were passionate about the film, and they are such a knowledgable and experienced small team, Greg, Paul, Alan and Ian, and it meant so much. Especially when the making of it had been such an arduous and difficult process! I had no idea how people would react to the film - it was su...

Interview with John Shackleton director of Panic Button
Posted on Wednesday 15th November 2017

As social media horror feature Panic Button gets a remastered DVD and Download release, writer and producer John Shackleton reflects on the film's inspirational journey.

To start at the beginning, what was the genesis or the seed of the idea for Panic Button?

JS: The model of how to make a film actually came before the concept. I'd made a short film with a group of trainees using a bunch of self-imposed restrictions for practicalities sake, to make sure we completed and delivered within the three-week timeframe of the training scheme, who were my employers. The rules were quite simple - no more than five minutes' walk from the office (we couldn't afford a van), no dialogue (we did...

Interview with Damien Leone director of Terrifier
Posted on Saturday 28th October 2017

Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film Terrifier at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event today, director Damien Leone talks about the 'Art' of extreme clowning, his debt to Tom Savini and a terrifying Halloween experience...

Art, The Clown initially appeared in your 2008 short The 9th Circle, then the 2011 award-winning short Terrifier and in your first feature All Hallow's Eve. What made you decide to give him a fourth outing?

DL: Up until this point I never felt like I fully showcased Art's potential. I believe between the short films and All Hallows' Eve, there only exists about 20 minutes of Art the Clown screen time. For a character who's done so little, he seems to really resonate with horr...

Interview with Mathieu Turi director of Hostile
Posted on Wednesday 25th October 2017

Ahead of the UK premiere of his debut feature Hostile at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Mathieu Turi shares his admiration for Tarantino, describes the challenges of filming in three continents and reveals his 'magic hour'.

You were born in Cannes so you grew up with film all around? When did you know for sure you wanted to direct?

MT: I think it's always been there. As a child, I used to steal my dad's VHS camera to make mini-movies. They were basically all about my Jurassic Park toys eating my dog or invading the garden. Later, I did more elaborate short films with friends, instead of studying. Then, I remember watching Braveheart and the making of the ...

Interview with Marko Makilaakso director of It Came From The Desert
Posted on Tuesday 17th October 2017

Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film It Came From The Desert at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Marko Makilaakso shares his admiration for Roger Corman, love of B-Movies, spoofing and overcoming homeland obstacles.

It Came From The Desert is inspired by Cinemaware's cult 1980s video game, which in turn was motivated by the giant creature feature craze infesting 1950s Hollywood. What was the main inspiration for you?

MM: There's so many movies and makers which inspired ICFTD, but the main inspiration was exactly that; creature feature infested 1950s Hollywood films, and the legendary Cinemaware Desert games and creature features and action comedies I grew up with in the 19...

Interview with Can Evrenol director of Housewife
Posted on Thursday 12th October 2017

Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film Housewife at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Can Evrenol tells us why film is a 'pervert's art' shares his feelings for Fulci and reveals his contribution to Horror anthology, The Field Guide To Evil.

Was it important to make your follow-up film to Baskin in the English language?

CE: I wanted to make the film available for a wider audience and to test myself with a different language movie. I thought it was a fun thing to do.

How do you describe Housewife? What would be your perfect pitch line?

CE: Man, I had this crazy f****d-up dream last night! Do you want to see it?

Like Baskin, Housewife shares man...

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