ARTICLES

FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS | BOOTH'S BLOG


Interview With Pavel Khvaleev Director Of III
By James Whittington, Friday 28th August 2015

Pavel Khvalee director of IIIWhat I love about FrightFest is the chance to catch films from all over the world and the more diverse they are the better. Pavel Khvaleev is a director with an extraordinary eye for visuals and his movie III will be getting its UK premiere later today. We spoke to him recently about this movie and what the horror movie business is like in his native country.

HC: When did you decide that you wanted to be in the film making business?

PK: Being a member of the electronic project Moonbeam, I’ve directed about 30 music videos through all these years, so one day it was decided to shoot a feature film, and the first one was a mystery drama The Random. In the end, this work was released by the Dutch distributor Black Hole Recordings in 2013. Then, together with my wife Alexandra Khvaleevа and our close friends Evgenia Mustafina and Oleg Mustafin, we decided to put on a different genre hat and switch from drama to horror. Since we are big fans of such directors as Christophe Gans, Tarsem Singh…

HC: How did the project for III come about?

PK: After several hours of heated discussions, we finally agreed on the topic that was interesting to all of us – Shamanism and self-healing, and mixed it up a little with the interconnection between two sisters. We were very impressed by the monsters from the first part of Silent Hill, and that’s why in our film there also special make-up effects made by Evgenia Zakharova. It was her first experience in a feature film.

HC: The film is a very surreal, multi-level movie, how much planning did you put into it to make sure the story flowed?

PK: It was our original plan to immerse the viewer in several worlds: the real world and the world of the subconscious, and the Shamanism story helped us a lot with this. During the three months of writing, the script changed several times. The final big change was the introduction of Ayia character, as initially only Mirra and Father Herman were involved in the plot. It happened when we were casting for the role of the main female character, and once we saw Polina (Ayia), we decided to complicate the story and add another protagonist.

HC: Where did you find such stunning locations?

PK: In Russia, we had to drive about 1,000 kilometers in search of suitable locations for our film. We were so lucky when we found a historical place, Priklonskie-Rukavishnikovy Manor House, and we were allowed to shoot there. An abandoned mill, a cave and even a burned forest – all these objects are real and unique in their kind. But, of course, it couldn’t have been done without computer graphics. In fact, in terms of technical specifics of the film III, we tried to use computer graphics as little as possible and to create a special atmosphere of the world of the subconscious on site, choosing the most artistic scenes. For shooting in Germany the producer of the movie Frank Ellrich helped us to find the right places after I sent him several storyboards. We shot some parts in the city called Marburg, which I first saw when I was visiting Frank in Germany. It is the city of his birthplace and it has a lot of old historical buildings. It perfectly matched the dark & mystic atmosphere we needed for our story.

HC: The film has some very ambitious set-pieces; did you have a large budget?

PK: We will reveal one of the secrets of our film: the budget of the film III was only 15,000 Euros, as all the visual effects, music, editing and colour correction was done by me within the year. Besides, the entire film crew was working out of pure enthusiasm. For us, this project became a real adventure, great time spending and, at the same time, a test. I still can’t believe that the shooting team consisted only of eight people, who proved to be multifunctional specialists. This versatility of our crew is noticeable in the credits, where the same people feature in various capacities. For example, Alexandra Khaleeva is a scriptwriter, and she also sewed nearly all the costumes for the characters. Oleg Mustafin helped with the script, at the same time he was responsible for almost all the props and safety during complex scenes and also helped with make-up. Evgenia Mustafina, an executive producer, was also the coordinator responsible for the translation of subtitles into other languages.

HC: Its dark, slightly grim in places, did this affect the tone on set?

PK: Despite the fact that during almost all the days of shooting we were accompanied by rain, the crew was always in an excellent mood. But we really freaked out when we met the paranormal creature while living in Germany in Rosenthal village. Two people really heard someone’s breath and steps at night in the old house, which was more than 100 years. One more mystic thing happened when Lyuba, who plays a sick sister Mirra, caught real chickenpox at the beginning of shooting. For some scenes we had to shoot her on a green background, and that really complicated the process.

HC: This is your second feature, were you more confident directing III compared to your first movie?

PK: To be honest, my first film The Random was a good experience for the creation of the next feature film. I think that any director has to get into other’s shoes and understand professionally every area of film production workflow: operator, editor, colourist, actor, screenwriter, it is necessary in order to lead the whole project and be able, in the end, to deliver your vision as close as possible to the viewer.

HC: How big is the horror movie industry in Russia?

PK: Today in Russia there are a lot of fans of horror genre among the younger generation. But at the same time they are prisoners of the situation caused by the absence of horror film industry in this country. Over the past 10 years, almost none of the Russian horror films have been paid off at the box office, which results in film companies being afraid of investing in this field.

HC: Are you nervous that its playing such a big festival?

PK: Mhm... It is similar to my gigs for my music project Moonbeam. I am a bit nervous only at the very beginning, but after a while I calm down and relax quite quickly. Of course, it was a new situation for me to introduce my work with a microphone at the cinema to the audience. And every audience is a bit different. Anyway, I enjoy it a lot to see so many new cities and to meet new and interesting people.

HC: So what projects are you working on at the moment?

PK: We are now in the process of writing the script for the next film of the same genre. I’m not going to disclose the idea, but I can say it will be something new in its kind. We will definitely engage professional actors for the shooting in order to make this movie really dramatic. And since the idea of a new film is quite ambitious and difficult to implement, this time it cannot be done without investors.

HC: Pavel Khvaleev, thank you very much.


MORE FRIGHTFEST
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...

SHARE: READ MORE
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 ...

SHARE: READ MORE
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...

SHARE: READ MORE
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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2017 event
Posted on Thursday 28th September 2017

Horror Channel FrightFest Halloween 2017 unleashes seven choice shockers for the 7th annual West End Halloween chillorama - a wits-end wallow in all things gruesome, gory and glorious.

This year, the all-day shocktoberfest is at the Empire Haymarket on Sat Oct 28, 2017 and embraces one world, one European and five UK premieres, spanning three continents.

From the emotional making of a low-budget slasher to zombie nightmares, Gothic horrors, an outrageously strange mind cult, a sci-fi alien action extravaganza, a comic strip creature feature and the last word in Killer Clowns, this year-s line-up is an eclectic mix of the quirky, unusual and extreme.

Alan Jones, FrightFest co-director sai...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Damien Power, director of Killing Ground
Posted on Monday 25th September 2017

One of the best from Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 was a superior thriller, Killing Ground. This tension packed movie looked incredible on the big screen so we decided to chat to its director, Damien Power.

HC: Did Killing Ground take a long time to write and did it change as you progressed?

DP: It took eleven years from the germ of the idea to stepping onto location to start shooting. Luckily I wasn't working on it full time! Once we had a draft we were happy with, it took five years to put the financing jigsaw together. It's a long journey! The biggest change was that for a number of years it didn't really have a third act. It ended very abruptly at the moment of maximum jeopardy. Fort...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest Day 5: Organs, pumpkins and emojis!
Posted on Tuesday 29th August 2017

The final day of Horror Channel FrightFest is usually the most anticipated especially towards the final movie of the event, more on that later. There was so much going on with what possibly be the strongest line up of the whole festival.

Anyone with even just the passing interest in cinema couldn't have failed to have been impressed by Lowlife, the superb thriller from Ryan Prows. When a simple organ-harvesting caper goes awry, a twist of fate unites three of society's forgotten and ignored: El Monstruo, a disgraced Mexican Wrestler working as hired muscle for the local crime boss; Crystal, a recovering addict desperate enough to arrange a black-market kidney transplant to save her husband's life; and Randy, a t...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Michael Boucherie writer and director of Where the Skin Lies
Posted on Monday 28th August 2017

More new talent seemed to be around at Horror Channel FrightFest this year and one of the stand out movies for me was Where The Skin Lies from Michael Boucherie. Here he chats about this emotional movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age you wanted to be in the film-making business?

MB: Going to the movies with my family is a favourite childhood memory. There was no cinema in our home town, so it always involved a bit of a car trip. Afterwards we'd recount and quote our favourite scenes, for some movies up to this day. My mother also filmed and edited our home movies on Super 8, and she involved me in that. So, on some level I grew up with it. It didn't dawn on me that this was a v...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest Day 4: No more camping holidays for me!
Posted on Monday 28th August 2017

Sunday is traditionally a more quiet day at Horror Channel FrightFest as the attendees gear up for a fourth day of cutting edge horror cinema.

This wasn't the case as the event packed as much violence, blood, gore, tension, skin-crawling and gory programme of movies yet!

Killing Ground, an Australian bushland nerve shredder is an exceptionally tight piece of work that tells a story retrospectively and then brings everything up to date in one, nail-biting conclusion. It's strange to find a movie set in the open claustrophobic but this truly is. It's also incredibly heartfelt and honest, no one is safe in this movie believe me.

We were back in Blightly for the next premiere which was the v...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest Day 3: It's time for a change
Posted on Sunday 27th August 2017

A day of premieres waited for us on day 3 of Horror Channel FrightFest. It was also the day of two incredibly inventive and most talked about movies of the whole event, Dominic Brunt's Attack of the Adult Babies and Adam Green's Victor Crowley.

Over in the Discovery Screens attendees had the chance to watch a gripping, psychological thriller, Diane. This complex, emotional and satisfying piece concerns one man's descent into a forgotten hell. The two leads, Carlee Avers and Jason Alan Smith bring a real life emotional depth (they are married in real life) to their characters. Played totally straight, the movie touches on areas few movies do and delivers a soulful and emotional conclusion. Another Frig...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Sally Dexter, star of Attack of the Adult Babies
Posted on Saturday 26th August 2017

Sally Dexter is one of the UK's most respected actresses. Her performances on stage and screen have lead to acclaimed and awards over the last few decades. Now, Sally is the star of Dominic Brunt's incredible film, Attack of the Adult Babies, so we chatted to her about this unique movie.

HC: You've had an incredible career gaining huge acclaimed across both sides of the Atlantic, how did you get your first acting break?

SD: I guess it was at drama school- I went to LAMDA and we did a musical 'Babes in Arms' for our final show- I guess it suited my voice or something 'cos I got offers from 13 agents!!! I was flabbergasted!!!

HC: Are you a fan of the horror genre?

SD: I'...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest Day 2: Witness the birth of a legend
Posted on Saturday 26th August 2017

Day two of Horror Channel FrightFest delivered some incredible pieces of cinema and even at times, it was educational!

Freehold is an atmospheric and emotional piece of film. Its begins traditionally enough as a home invasion movie, but it transforms into something far more sensitive. Javier Botet is superb as the stranger in the home of a once happy couple. His bizarre chats to two pigeons (its original title) at first seems odd but you discover the full story behind his reason for being there. I won't spoil it too much but it's a real highlight so far of the festival.

Over in the Prince Charles Cinema (where we'll be broadcasting Facebook Live tonight at around 7pm) we were treated to...

SHARE: READ MORE
PICK OF THE WEEK
Tales From The Darkside
TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE
Sunday 24th December
8.30 PM
Texas Chainsaw
TEXAS CHAINSAW
Tuesday 26th December
10.50 PM
Cockneys vs Zombies
COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES
Tuesday 26th December
9.00 PM