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Interview with Bernhard Pucher, director of Ravers.
By James Whittington, Wednesday 22nd August 2018
FrightFest 2018is only but a few hours away and the buzz around Leicester Square is already as loud as ever. So we decided to have a quick chat with Bernhard Pucher, the director of one of the films that gets its world premiere on Saturday, Ravers.
HC: Where did the idea for Ravers come from and are any of the characters based on people you know?
BP: My writer, Luke Foster, actually had an idea for a short story idea called Poppers, where people went crazy because of a contaminated batch of poppers that people were taking at festival. I really loved the basic idea of that and thought it could make for a great feature film. It resonated with me especially because I was a DJ and techno producer for many years, so there were a lot of things that I felt I could bring to a story like that.
HC: How did you go about casting the movie?
BP: My policy when it comes to casting has always been to open a role up to anyone who could audition for the role. I like to see if someone can do something interesting with the character in the script. For Becky's character, I was looking for someone with beautiful eyes and interesting eyes, and Georgia's eyes grabbed me immediately when I saw her audition tape. Once we skyped, I knew instantly that I wanted to cast her for Becky. Danny got cast for Ozzy because he brought a "stoner" quality to the character that we hadn't really written in the script. Ozzy was more of a skinny lab-nerd type character in the way we wrote him. But Danny's audition was so funny, I had to just meet him. When he came to my office for a chat, we just had a laugh, and I found out he was a real-life scientist! He was just the perfect fit. But the most interesting shift came with casting Vince, played by Kamal. Vince in the script was just a scheming, unsympathetic drug dealer who you just didn't like from the very get go. He was British too, which was mostly my idea to cast a 'British villain' in a movie. But it just wasn't working in the auditions, so we decided to open up the role for Americans and see who we can find. And when Kamal auditioned, he changed the character completely and I immediately fell in love with his audition. He made him charming and friendly. Someone you like and can empathise with, who then over the course of the story repeatedly gets pushed into situations. And THAT idea I loved. I knew he had to play the part.
HC: This is only your second feature, what mistakes did you make on your first movie that you made sure you didn't make on this one?
BP: Oh my, there are so many! Ha Ha! But it was also a very different experience. My last film was a tiny little film with two characters inside a flat. This one had hundreds of extras, a fairly large cast, prosthetics, stunts, visual effects, special effects, fire, a huge set etc etc. It's almost impossible to compare. If I had to pick one thing, it's just keeping in mind constantly what the point of the story is and not get lost in details that don't really matter. Despite the complexities of the shoot, how to keep things simple. Oh, and yeah... don't work with kids or pets. I had both on my first movie. REALLY didn't want to do that with this one on top of all the other things in this film. Ha Ha!
HC: What was the hardest part of the shoot?
BP: Probably making the story for this budget work. There were constantly things where this needed to happen or that needed to happen and so we were always figuring out how to get what you need without spending a fortune doing it. We were stretching every penny as far as we could, and I feel really good about what ended up on screen. The trick is to not think about what you could've done, but think about what you can do, and work towards that. And my team was so awesome they made it all happen for me. Though it was hard, it was very rewarding.
HC: Ravers is getting its World Premiere at FrightFest, are you excited about that?
BP: Hell yes! I mean, it's FrightFest! I'm also really nervous, because I want to make sure the audience is entertained. But yeah, I'm excited alright!
HC: Have you or would you go to an illegal rave?
BP: Oh I have been to a few and I would def go to them again. However I'm not really into the rave scene as much anymore, so I don't really know when and where the illegal ones are happening now. But I totally would! They're great fun!
HC: There's a strong 80s vibe at FrightFest this year with several movies with a retro feel to them, which movie is your favourite from this era?
BP: That's hard. Ask me something else! Ha Ha! I can't pick one, so I'll pick three. The Shining, The Fly and Aliens.
HC: If you were at a party and the world was ending, who would you want to be there with you and what music would be playing?
BP: I would have my kids with me and we'd be listening to Metallica together. There's nothing else I'd rather do than to be with my favourite people while listening to my favourite band. But if you're talking like a proper party/rave type situation. I'd still have my kids there with me, just so they can see what raves really are like. I'd also have my friend Eric (Maceo Plex) there with me so we nerd out to the tracks that are playing on the system, like we used to back in the 2000s.
HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?
BP: As a producer, I'm working with Guillem Morales (Julia's Eyes) on his next film "Wolf Night." Personally, I'm writing two scripts at the moment, which I'd like to direct in the future. One is set during the French Revolution, so it's a film for a bit later in my career. I'm also writing a brief encounter romance, as well as a graphic novel. So yeah, I'm branching out a little. Ha!
HC: Bernhard Pucher, thank you very much.
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