Interview with Alex Kahuam writer and director of Forgiveness
By James Whittington, 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 been something that I've liked. For example Steven Spielberg's films. There's many films that made me want to become a filmmaker. But if we talk about horror I would say Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a masterpiece. The way I felt after watching that film is something I will never forget. Maestro Tobe Hooper rest in peace you are a legend. David Lynch and Dario Argento are masters of the craft too and their movies are a HUGE influence in my work.

HC: Where did the idea for Forgiveness come from and how would you describe it?

AK: The idea from this film came by an accident. At the time I had another movie that we were working on (3.6 years ago), but we weren't getting the financing that we needed so I was getting frustrated with the situation and it was one evening that I kept thinking about it while I was driving on the freeway in LA and suddenly this car hit me and we ended up in a collision accident. I remember opening my eyes after the crash and saying "this is it". The accident was bad luckily nothing happened to me or the other drivers but it made me realize "why are you waiting to tell stories?" "Why don't you make a different film with locations or things you have access to". "Why don't you make a film that you don't require a studio budget?". So then I started to think about everything I could use in Mexico and the USA for a film and that's where the plan and the idea was born. My only rule was to do something different from the other feature screenplays that I've already written before. I had thrillers, psychological thrillers, slashers, but I was missing something. I wanted to do a film with a lot of metaphoric elements and a film that will show how I felt at the time. It just felt like a nightmare so I wanted to portray the same on the screen in a horror film. My film is raw and I know it will divide. It won't be for everyone because it's a metaphor about many things: Life, Death, religion, good, evil, hell, violence, human trafficking many many things that divides the human kind.

HC: The movie is very dreamlike and raw, did it take a long time get the script right?

AK: I would say that the script took about 6 Months. I just wanted to put on paper as many elements as possible that will reflect how I felt at the time and this nightmary effect that humanity is or has.

HC: Was it a hard movie to cast as there are some pretty raw scenes in the movie?

AK: I was very lucky to count with a great casting director named Silvia Gil. I sent her the script and she found great talent for the film. It took us a couple of months to find everyone but I'm really happy with the casting that we got. As you are saying we have difficult scenes in the film and I needed great actresses/actors who were capable of facing dark moments. I was straight forward with all of them and told them that it was not going to be easy but at the same time that it was going to be a great experience with the way I approach my films which is with the use of long takes.

HC: The three female leads really do go through some challenging moments, what was the atmosphere like on set?

AK: It was tricky because yes we have 12 minute long takes no cuts and challenging raw scenes. The vibes on set were great, everyone knew the message that we were going to be spreading and there wasn't tension in between takes. I would like to thank Alejandra Toussaint, Alejandra Zaid and Jessica Ortiz because throughout all the chapters there's difficult moments on screen. They believed in me and went all in. I was right behind all the female leads and behind my cinematographer Diego Cacho, I was holding a wireless monitor so I was really close to them throughout all the scenes and the shoot. Me and Diego know each other since the age of 11 and we were raised with the same values and Mexican old principles. We never wanted anyone to feel uncomfortable. And I think we created this really nice trust between our crew and the cast.

HC: The film has virtually no dialogue, what challenges did that create for you as a director?

AK: It was very challenging not only as a director but also as a writer. I always throw a lot of dialogue on my scripts so this was new territory for me however I really liked it and I would love to explore it again. I'm not sure if soon but down the road I will.

HC: Where did you shoot it and was it all on location?

AK: We shot on location and as I previously mentioned I thought about what we could I use in Mexico or the USA. I had access to a hospital in Mexico. From my dad's side the majority of the family are doctors. Back in the day my grandfather founded a hospital and now my dad is the owner. I asked the family if we could shoot the movie there and they were really supportive and allowed us to film Forgiveness there.

HC: The film has been described as having influences of Carpenter and Argento, how does that feel?

AK: It feels AMAZING! Are you kidding me? Having those 2 names being reminded from your work and getting people talking about it is INCREDIBLE. John Carpenter and Dario Argento are masters of the craft.

HC: What is the film industry like in Mexico?

AK: The film industry was really good before Covid, but then as any other country everything stopped but now is getting back to its feet.

HC: So, what are you up to at the moment?

AK: I'm working on my next 2 films: one called "Red Light" based on a proof of concept/short film that has had more than 30 official selections around the world including SITGES official selection in 2020 and this year BIFFF official selection 2021. My Producing partner is legendary horror icon Ted Raimi and producer Marco de Molina, we are confident that next year is looking great for our film. And the other film is called "Stay With Me" and I'm producing that one with my Mexican hermano, filmmaker Adrian Bodegas whom he produced with me my first feature film Escondida. We are trying to do everything on our end to luckily start pre-production before the end of this year but we'll see. Everything changes with this weird covid times but for sure we are making a film soon. These 2 films are the opposite from Forgiveness in many different ways but both are genre films. I'm super excited about 2021 and 2022!

HC: Alex Kahuam, thank you very much.

Related show tags: FRIGHTFEST
Tom Paton, director of G-LOC chats about his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman
Posted in Features, Interviews, Tuesday 14th September 2021
Tom Paton on the set of G-Loc-3-1

Ahead of the Horror Channel premiere of his sci-fi action thriller G-LOC, director Tom Paton reflects on why making movies is like solving a puzzle, his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman.

Horror Channel will be broadcasting the UK TV premiere of your Sci-fi adventure G-LOC. Excited or what?

It's honesty so strange to me every time Horror Channel debuts one of my movies. The channel has been such a big part of my life growing up and informing my taste in films, that it's always a "pinch myself moment" when I see something that I've made appear on their TV listing. G-LOC is much more of a SCI-FI adventure than any ...

Escape From New York score to be released on blue vinyl
Posted in News, Wednesday 8th September 2021

Originally released on the 31st of July 2015, the vinyl edition of John Carpenter's classic 1981 thriller, Escape From New York mirrored the expanded CD release from 2000, with over 20 minutes of previously unreleased music plus music from scenes deleted from the final print and original dialogue highlights.

The masters for that CD were re-mixed from the original multi-track session tapes by long-time Carpenter associate Alan Howarth.

This is the first time on coloured vinyl for this LP, all previous pressings having been on black vinyl and will be released January 21st, 2022 thanks to Silva Screen Records.

Interview with Sean Nichols Lynch writer and director of Red Snow
Posted in Frightfest, 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 Sarah Appleton co-writer and co-director of The Found Footage Phenomenon
Posted in Frightfest, 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 in Frightfest, 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 in Frightfest, 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 in Frightfest, 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 in Frightfest, 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 in Frightfest, 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 in Frightfest, 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 in Frightfest, 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 in Frightfest, 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...

Articles Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
The Rezort
Tuesday 28th September
10.45 PM
The Remaining
Saturday 25th September
9.00 PM
Avalon - Beyond The Abyss
Sunday 26th September
6.40 PM