Exclusive Interview With Joanne Mitchell Writer, Producer And Star of Before Dawn
By James Whittington, Monday 27th August 2012

Joanne MitchellJoanne Mitchell is a writer, Producer and actress whose talent has graced some of the UK's most popular TV shows. At FrightFest The 13th she came along with her husband, Dominic Brunt with their first film project together, the unforgettable Before Dawn.

We chatted with Joanne about this and the possibility of more projects from this talented duo.

HC: Are you a fan of horror movies?

JM: I do enjoy a good horror movie but I wouldn't necessarily say I was a big fan. I love to be scared and I'm brilliant company to watch one with (or so I'm told!) as I do literally go through all the emotions from screaming, shouting to jumping out of my seat. But I need a good story and characters to get me drawn in.

HC: Where did the idea for Before Dawn come from?

JM: It was really from a discussion between me and Dom (my husband) about what we did and didn't like about horror and particularly zombie films. I thought it would be interesting to follow the journey of an average couple, going through difficulties within their relationship, keeping it very normal and real, and then we throw into it the fact that one of them gets bit. And then how they both deal with that, both not thinking for a moment it is or was a zombie, but just some crazed rabid lunatic...

HC: Did you watch some zombie movies to get inspiration at all?

JM: Well, to be honest living in our house you can't really miss them! But I have to say I never really 'watched' one from beginning to end, just saw snippets, some of which I enjoyed, some I didn't. I've always been more drawn to character led films, drama, European cinema. Having said that, after writing the story of Before Dawn, I am much more interested in watching the zombie genre, and have to say, could really get into them.

HC: The story has a real human and very dramatic side to it; was it hard balancing this and the more horrific moments?

JM: No not really. It all came fairly naturally. I had a specific idea in my head, and Dom knew the moments when there needed to be say, a jump or some blood and horror etc so we just worked together on that really. It was important that we kept the ball in the air with the tension both within the relationship and the more gory moments.

HC: Before Dawn has been picked up by Metrodome and been shown at several festivals worldwide; you must be incredibly pleased?

JM: Yes of course! I never really expected that. I just decided from the start to enjoy the journey of it all, and anything else that came along was a bonus. And that, so far is amazingly what's been happening.

HC: Are you nervous about it being shown at FrightFest?

JM: Yes I am. Not everyone will like it and you just have to accept that. It won't be everyone's cuppa, but so far we have had positive feedback. I'm just so proud that it's got into such a prestigious festival as FrightFest, and all the others too.

HC: What's it like being directed by your husband?

JM: I had no worries about Dom directing me at all. I totally trust him and his judgement so it was surprisingly easy. I just decided that it was a job like any other, and at the end of the day the director has the final say. It was great because we could really discuss stuff too without fear of offending or upsetting each other and more importantly we had a laugh, there was always a great atmosphere on set!

HC: Would you like to make another horror movie together or would you like to try a different genre?

JM: Yes we would like to make another horror and have a couple of ideas for this. We also have an idea for something slightly different too, more along the lines of a drama/thriller but I'm sure there will be plenty of blood too... if Dom has anything to do with it!

HC: What advice would you give to someone wanting to write their first movie?

JM: I don't think I'm really in any position to give anyone advice, but what I would say is get the story right first. That's the most important thing and then just build around that. And then just do it, be tenacious, and enjoy the ride.

HC: So what are you working on next?

JM: I seem to be doing lots of different things at the moment. I am developing a few storyline ideas, one of which is a boxing film based on a true story which has been great fun, then there's another horror and a drama/thriller. At the same time working as a mum and going to keeping busy, running around like a headless chicken, but having fun with it all...just the way I like it!

HC: Joanne Mitchell, thank you very much.

For an interview with Dominic Brunt click here.

Arrow Video FrightFest 2022 announces bumper Glasgow Film Festival line-up
Posted on Thursday 20th January 2022
FrightFest Glasgow 2022 - headline banner

The UK's No.1 horror and fantasy film festival is back in person at the Glasgow Film Theatre, which for 17 glorious years has been FrightFest's second home, as part of the internationally renowned Glasgow Film Festival.

From Thursday 10th March to Saturday 12th March, FrightFest opens its terror trove to present twelve tasty treasures; an extravaganza of the dark arts, embracing the latest genre discoveries from around the globe, spanning eight countries in three continents, which includes World, International and UK premieres.

Alan Jones, co-director of FrightFest commentated: "It's with great delight and with every single b...

Interview with Sean Nichols Lynch writer and director of Red Snow
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

Final film of Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition 2021 is a fangtastic (sorry) twist on the vampire movie, Sean Nichols Lynch's Red Snow. We had a quick chat about this blood-splattered shocker which has a deep vein of humour running through it.

HC: Where did the idea for Red Snow come from?

SL: I was trying to get a different horror feature financed and was struggling to get it off the ground. It was a frustrating period for me, and I honestly felt like I'd never get to make another film. I happened to run into Dennice, who I knew from my film school days at San Francisco State. We got to talking and I started to think about how great it would be to just drop everything and ...

Interview with Alex Kahuam writer and director of Forgiveness
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Alex Kahuam 1 Forgiveness

Director Alex Kahuam has brought to Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition a brutal and intelligent film, Forgiveness. Almost devoid of dialogue, it's an excursion into the raw side of reality. Here he chats about this movie and his plans for the future.

HC: Was there one movie you saw when growing up which made you want to go into filmmaking?

AK: When we were kids my brother and I my parents took us a lot to the theaters and this is where everything began for me. I just loved the experience so much and till this day I thank them because they triggered this on me and for many years filmmaking has been my life. While growing up Hollywood films have always be...

Interview with Sarah Appleton co-writer and co-director of The Found Footage Phenomenon
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Sarah Appleton

The final documentary of FrightFest Online Edition looks to one of the most misunderstood genres out there. The Found Footage Phenomenon dissects this often over-looked type of movie with interviews from many key players. We chatted to co-writer and co-director Sarah Appleton about this very informative piece.

HC: Have you always been a fan of horror movies?

SA: Yes, I grew up watching Hammer horror movies and Japanese horror because my dad was a film critic, so I used to look through all his VHS tapes he'd taped off the late night tv and pick something to watch. Evil Dead II was one of the first horror movies I ever saw, aged about 8.

HC: Can you recall the first fo...

Taxi rides and crumbling hotels - Day 5 of Arrow Video FrightFest Online Edition: Part 2
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

As we enter the final evening of Arrow Films FrightFest Online Edition 2021 there's still plenty to look forward to starting with a belter from directors Brad Baruh and Meghan Leon, Night Drive. Ride-share app driver Russell picks up his Hollywood fare Charlotte... and his whole life turns upside down. Slipping him a wad of cash, she hires him for the rest of the evening. Their first stop at her ex's place sees Charlotte running out the door clutching a tiny suitcase being chased. They make their escape, but accidentally run over a pedestrian, setting in motion a chain of gruesome events that will go to places Russell could never have imagined in his wildest dreams. What starts off as a simpl...

Interview with Josh Stifter director of Greywood's Plot
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

There are a number of monochrome movies at FrightFest this year and one of the stand out ones is Josh Stifter's Greywood's Plot so we had a quick chat with him about it.

HC: Was there one movie you saw when you were younger that made you want to be in the filmmaking business?

JS: Beetlejuice. I saw it when I was 5 years old. My family all got the flu and my mom went and rented it. This was back in the day when you didn't have access as easily to movies so if you rented a movie, it often would get watched a couple times before it was returned. Since we had nothing else to do, we all just laid around sick watching Beetlejuice over and over. I became obsessed. It was the first tim...

Interview with Conor Stechschulte writer of Ultrasound
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

Based on his own graphic novel 'Generous Bosom', Conor Stechschulte has written a tight and tense script for Ultrasound which is showing today at Arrow Films Fright Online Edition. We chatted to him about the process of bringing his original idea to the big screen.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to become a writer?

CS: I did! At about 7 or 8 I went from wanting to be a fighter pilot to wanting to be a writer. My formal education is in visual art, but I've always had narratives at the heart of all the creative work that I make and have never really stopped writing in one form or another.

HC: Was there any one person who inspired you?

CS: I can't...

Interview with Rob Schroeder director of Ultrasound
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

The feature debut of Rob Schroeder, producer of Sun Choke and Beyond The Gates, Ultrasound is a startling puzzle box Sci-Fi mystery and playing today at Arrow Films FrightFest Online Event. We chatted to Rob about this chilling movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be in filmmaking?

RS: Not really. When I was young, I loved going to the movie theatre every week, but I didn't see filmmaking as a career because in my town I didn't know any filmmakers. The movies were always so special for me and even sacred, so at a young age I did sense the magic.

HC: How did become attached to this project?

RS: I developed the project, by reaching out to Cono...

Interview with Peter Daskaloff director and co-writer of Antidote
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Peter Daskaloff Anitdote

Peter Daskaloff has brought his nerve-jangling movie Antidote to FrightFest Online Eidtion 2021 so we chatted to him about this complex and intriguing movie.

HC: What is your writing method when working alongside someone else?

PD: I usually write alone. But for Antidote, I had to hire a co-writer because the subject was complex. I needed another set of eyes to look at it from outside my box. Matt Toronto was recommended to me by my executive producer, Ian Michaels, who has worked with Matt before. The collaboration was a bit bumpy, but the resulting script turned out pretty good.

HC: How did you go about casting the movie?

PD: I had a casti...

Interview with Francesco Erba writer and director of As in Heaven, So on Earth
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Francesco Erba As In Heaven director

As In Heaven, So On Earth mixes the found footage genre with incredible animation to deliver a truly unique take on the format. The movie effortlessly moves from its gothic animation to cutting edge technology footage and brings together a tale which is emotional and utterly heart breaking in equal measure. We chatted to its writer and director Francesco Erba as it plays at FrightFest Online Edition 2021.

HC: Where did the idea for As in Heaven, So on Earth come from?

FE: As in Heaven, So on Earth was born not only from one specific idea but, as very often occurs, from many different ones, different influences and life experien...

Interview with Casey Dillard actor and writer of Killer Concept
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

If you managed to catch Driven the other year at FrightFest then you'll need to catch Killer Concept today. Writer Casey Dillard is back alongside director Glenn Payne but this time serial killers are the target. We chatted to Casey about this movie.

HC: It's been a couple of years since we last chatted, apart from Killer Concept, what have you been up to?

CD: Mostly avoiding Covid and trying to find work-arounds so that I can still perform safely.

HC: Where did the idea for Killer Concept come from?

CD: Glenn wanted to make a simple movie with minimal people while our core filmmaking team was unable to go to work so we kicked around a lot of ideas and KC wa...

Interview with Glenn Payne director and actor from Killer Concept
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021

If you managed to catch Driven the other year at FrightFest then you'll need to catch Killer Concept today. Director Glenn Payne is back alongside writer Casey Dillard but this time serial killers are the target. We chatted to him about this movie.

HC: It's been a couple of years since you brought the superb movie Driven to FrightFest, how was that movie received across the world?

GP: Thank you for the kind words! We've felt very blessed by how warm the reception's been for Driven. We knew the story was different, given the entire thing takes place inside one vehicle, but the characters really seemed to resonate with people. I think that's a huge testament to the per...

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