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Exclusive Interview with Jordan Barker, Director of The Marsh
By James Whittington, Monday 16th April 2007
One of the big hits of the Zone Horror Frightfest 2006 was Jordan Barker’s paranormal chiller The Marsh. Sony will be releasing the movie onto DVD this month so we thought you’d like to know what Mr Barker had to say when we caught up with him last year.

ZH: Can you set up the plotline for The Marsh?

JORDAN BARKER: The Marsh concerns a famous children’s author, a sort of J.K. Rowling or even Tim Burton kind of writer who becomes stressed out and decides to go on vacation. She rents a house that for some reason seems familiar and becomes wrapped in a supernatural murder mystery.

ZH: Was there a big budget difference between The Marsh and the first movie you directed?

JORDAN BARKER: Oh yeah (laughs). The first movie I did, (My Brother’s Keeper) the budget was around $350,000 which is still a good sum of money and we were able to do lots, we shot on film and probably had more than enough. For this one we had $4 -$5 million but it didn’t really feel that different.

ZH: Is there a lot of effects in the movie?

JORDAN BARKER: Yeah but what we were pushing for was that the effects shouldn’t really stand out, be as invisible as possible.

ZH: Do you prefer CGI or do you like to use latex and wires etc?

JORDAN BARKER: Oh, the practical effects are more fun when they’re working (laughs) I used to build my own effects when I made films in my bedroom when I was younger.

ZH: Is it hard to describe to an effects crew your vision or idea to what an effect should look like?

JORDAN BARKER: It’s hard when you’re dealing with something on this scale and when you have to hit deadlines. We had a short pre-production period but everyone came through in the end but it was hard.

ZH: Are you happy with the way The Marsh looks?

JORDAN BARKER: Oh yeah, of course. It was a really ambitious project; we were really working at a pace and were running out of time, but yeah.

ZH: Do you like watching your films with an audience?

JORDAN BARKER: I would prefer to watch the audience watching the film rather than watch the film with the audience. It’s tough because you just want everybody to “get it”. It’s like having a child; it’s your baby. People put their heart and soul into a movie and when people criticise it sometimes hurts.

ZH: Do you listen to people’s criticism?

JORDAN BARKER: Well you shouldn’t be too hard yourself but a lot of the time people’s criticism I agree with, if they say something and it’s a fair assessment then that’s OK. It’s never going to be perfect, no matter which director says it is. That’s why DVD is great, you get to listen to why certain scenes were shot or were dropped etc.

ZH: Are you a big fan of DVD?

JORDAN BARKER: Oh yeah, you can learn more from five minuets of a director’s commentary than you can from years of Film School. My collection is mainly movies that had commentaries that I thought I could learn from.

ZH: Would you like to do a really big picture, something with a massive budget?

JORDAN BARKER: I think you kind of dream about that sort of thing but I doubt it’s ever what it’s cracked up to be. But it would be nice to have someone not say, “No we can’t” because of budget. Limitations are sometimes good and help you to become more creative.

ZH: So where are you at in your career at the moment? JH: Right now I have seven projects that are being developed in one way are another, trying to work on concepts that bring out something of Canada in my work. I want to do like a legend of Bigfoot/Wendigo sort of film that’s not just a slasher movie.

ZH: Jordan Barker, thank you very much

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