FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS | BOOTH'S BLOG Interview With Pavel Khvaleev Director Of III
By James Whittington, Friday 28th August 2015
What 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 INTERVIEWS 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...SHARE: READ MORE 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...SHARE: READ MORE 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 Interview with Dominic Bridges, director of Freehold
Posted on Wednesday 4th October 2017
One of the stand out movies from Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 was the psychological chiller, Freehold. Dark and at times truly unnerving, the film caused quite a stir and will be released onto DVD on October 9th. Here the film's director Dominic Bridges talking about this superb debut.
HC: Where did the idea for Freehold come from?
DB: Based on personal experience my wife and I suffered a miscarriage whilst trying to buy a house in London whilst the Estate Agents had us bidding against ourselves... I reacted badly which was embarrassing to my wife and myself it all felt like too much fighting for a roof over our heads just tainted the whole of London for us and we moved also the realisation...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 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 Interview with legendary actress Barbara Crampton
Posted on Tuesday 15th August 2017
Ahead of her eagerly awaited presence at Horror Channel FrightFest 2017, genre icon, actress and producer Barbara Crampton talks exclusively about her latest film Replace, battling chronic fatigue syndrome and her passion for supporting new talent.
Q: Replace raises questions about beauty, body image and growing older, issues that many feel plague the Hollywood movie industry. What is your view on this subject?
BC: The best movies reflect our inner world, our hopes, our good intentions, trials and our demons. Growing old and the fear of death is endemic to all, not just the movie industry. Just when you begin to figure it out your back aches, your skin starts to wrinkle and you gain weight...SHARE: READ MORE Exclusive interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of See No Evil 2
Posted on Tuesday 4th April 2017
Jen and Sylvia Soska are two of the most exciting creatives around at the moment. Their work is visceral, dynamic, exciting and above all bloody entertaining. We've chatted to these multi-talented Canadians about their work to date in the build up to the UK TV premiere of See No Evil 2 this Friday on Horror.
HC: It's been while since we last chatted and apart from See No Evil 2 what have you both been up to?
SS: It has been a while, but it's really cool that we get to chat again. We hosted a reality horror gameshow from Matador, GSN, and Blumhouse called Hellevator that was like Saw: The Gameshow!. We had a blast making it. I really can't even believe that was a job a person could have. We're st...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with 'Life' star Rebecca Ferguson
Posted on Wednesday 22nd March 2017
Previously starring opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and Emily Blunt in Girl on the Train, Ferguson steps out as the lead, standing firmly in front of her co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds in the Horror/Sci-Fi spectacle Life, which opens in cinemas across the UK this Friday.
Starring as Dr. Miranda North, Ferguson plays the last astronaut on-board an International Space Station which has recently caught a space probe containing the first sign of extra-terrestrial life. Studying the life form quickly turns from fascinating to a complete catastrophe, as the organism rapidly grows strength and intelligence - with the desperation to prey upon those within its reach.
We spoke with Fergus...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Wednesday 28th February
Thursday 1st March
Sunday 25th February