Brand New Exclusive Interview With Clive Ford Director Of Cold Call
By James Whittington, Wednesday 17th August 2011

Clive FordWerewolves, bats, bugs, nasty orphans, zombies, homicidal blind dates and bananas that have gone bananas – yes, it's the FrightFest International Short Film Showcase, an eclectic mix of worldwide cutting edge short films, this year presented by Horror Channel.

One of the shorts showing is Cold Call from Clive Ford which is an unpredictable and atmospheric chiller. Here he chats about where the story came from and the next project he's working on.

HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies?

CF: I'm a huge fan of horror movies. Being bought up in the 80s when cinema was on it's knees, local fleapit cinemas used to let anyone over about 12 in to see any film, no questions asked. I grew up on supernatural horror films like The Exorcist and The Omen as well as the schlocky Friday 13th series and the plethora of video nasties that pervaded during that time. Nowadays I tend to prefer the films with the old school suspense like The Orphanage, The Descent and Let The Right One In over the current 'torture porn' craze. Saw and the like definitely have their place but beyond the gross out fun they just aren't scary.

HC: Where did the idea for Cold Call come from?

CF: Originally Cold Call was presented as a short stage play. I started at the end (don’t want to say what that is as it would spoil the surprise) and worked my way back. It has influences as diverse as Withnail & I, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane the Hammer films of the 70’s and the plays of Tennessee Williams. I think fundamental religious fanaticism is every bit as scary as terrorism and I wanted to do something about that. Adding a supernatural element gave the preacher something to rally against and an argument to explore.

HC: Why did you film with shades of black, white and red?

CF: I always envisaged the film as being old fashioned, almost stately, no jump cuts but lots of long shadows and close ups. My original idea was to make the film in black and white and then add red for the bloodletting. Luckily my editor and producer talked me out of that and we settled on a very de-saturated colour scheme.

HC: Did the script take long to put together?

CF: Surprisingly once I had decided on the idea the script flowed. As the play had to start rehearsing straight away there wasn’t time to fine-tune it. The film script was just a process of opening the story up for film and trimming off the big speeches that would be redundant on screen.

HC: How did you decide on the cast?

CF: I have known Lorna (Alice) for many years and she is a good friend and a fantastic actress. Once she was on board I needed someone to contrast with her. Originally the parts were written for younger actresses but it seemed I was missing a trick not to make Eve, the harridan of a mother, a lot older. My own mother is a keen actress and when I mentioned it she jumped at the chance. When they read together it was obvious they had great chemistry and the age gap made perfect sense. Directing your mother to snort cocaine and swear at a baby was a challenge but we are still speaking to each other so it worked out well. The preachers I found through conventional auditions, they both seemed perfect for the parts, Jamie’s intensity complimenting Fintan’s more sensitive portrayal.

HC: It uses some rather subtle special effects, how were these achieved without using too much budget?

CF: Martin Gordon, who did the special effects, is also producer (we had literally no money so people wore many caps). Before shooting the film we discussed the effects needed and he advised me the best way to shoot the scenes to make the effects work. I know that the new technology has made it possible to make effects from the comfort of your bedroom. I personally don’t understand what he did but he’s a bit of a genius and his ideas always surpassed what I’d hoped for.

HC: Do you think, if you had the budget that this could evolve into a full length feature?

CF: I’d love to turn it into a full length feature. I think actually that would work really well. You could go far more into the characters pasts and create something darkly funny and unsettling.

HC: How nervous are you about the film being chosen to play at FrightFest?

CF: Very, particularly as I have to get up and introduce the film and I’m petrified I’ll dry up. Mostly I’m elated to have been chosen. It was hard work but we ended up making the film we wanted to make. As soon as it was finished the festival I most wanted it to be accepted for was FrightFest and when they told me it had been I was overjoyed. Also the Empire is my favourite cinema and I saw many of my favourite films there so to see my film up on that hallowed screen is a bit of a dream come true.

HC: So what projects are you working on next?

CF: I have two scripts in development at the moment, one a rom-com/ thriller/ road movie set on a night bus and a new horror script I am putting the final touches to about a Satanic cult provisionally called Scapegoat. It’s nice to balance out the dark stuff with a bit of comedy once in a while.

HC: Clive Ford, thank you very much.

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