LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Interview with Marc Price, director of Dune Drifter
By James Whittington, Saturday 24th October 2020
Marc Price

Marc Price, the guy who once made a movie for £50 (remember Colin?) is back and this time he's delivered a far-out sumptuous sci-fi flick, Dune Drifter. Here he chats about this amazing movie.

HC: Where did the idea for Dune Drifter come from as its very different to what you've done before?

MP: I'm a big sci-fi fan. It's a genre I've always felt quite close to. The storytelling tropes appeal to the way I enjoy structuring films. World building and character all in one explosion of information and behaviour is something I tried to do in Colin and it's something I've always found myself flirting with. Even in Nightshooters there was a degree of world building when getting across the Film Making world and the Gangster world so that both collide in a way that's tense and exciting for the audience. Dune Drifter's premise was one where I could do the same thing AND scratch that sci-fi itch. I'm interested and terrified at the notion of technology being all that keeps you safe from an agonising exterior. Whether that tech is a rickety Starfighter or a space suit or a plane here on Earth in present day. I tried to put a little of that fear into the atmosphere and use it as the backdrop of this of someone coming to terms with their situation.

HC: Was it a difficult movie to cast?

MP: It ended up being more difficult than it started. I had written Adler for an actor we'd worked with previously, but something cropped up that would have made shooting quite tricky. So we decided "Let's skip this film and we'll do the next one". We started looking for someone who would fit the role of Adler. Phoebe had sent a great self tape for a different role. It didn't take long to think of her as a perfect candidate. After checking she wasn't claustrophobic, in regards to playing someone in a helmet for a few weeks, I offered her the part about 8 minutes into catching up over a coffee. The rest of the cast has done a lot with us before. The pilots on the monitors during the battle are all actors who have appeared in other films going as far back as Colin.

HC: This is a very ambitious movie with some incredible SFX sequences, how long did it take from pre-production to locked picture?

MP: Pre-production was mainly organising costume and shooting plates of pilots for the opening space battle sequence. We started the main shoot a few weeks later in September 2019. The first block was 7 days in Iceland whilst Nicky Evans (actor from TV's Shameless) was at my flat building the Starfighter set. Aside from a couple of days shooting in a tent, the rest of the film was shot in my living room. This whole time David Ross was building miniatures and creating animatics based on compositions I made using Star Wars toys on broom handles. We finished the film at the end of August this year. It was meant to have been delivered last April. But we shot the film in a specific way to reduce the amount of postproduction visual effects. Projection was used instead of green screen and we needed to shoot a few elements involving the actors last. Lockdown meant we had to rethink a few bits and pieces it wouldn't have been responsible to shoot. By that stage we only had pick ups and inserts to shoot.

It also allowed the VFX team a lot longer to tinker with shots. David is a perfectionist and poured his heart and soul into the space battle sequence. Phil Wray and Ollie Pajtra repaired, enhanced and created a lot of VFX shots for the planet sequences. We could have finished it in April, as planned. But the post team were as excited about the end result as I was and we leaned into the opportunity to spend more time on it. George Davies came up with some spectacular sound design which was mixed and enhanced by the incredible Ben Baird at Aquarium Studios and really added some depth to the atmosphere.

HC: The battle scenes seen in the first half hour of the movie are incredibly intense and populated by some jaw-dropping SFX, how difficult is it to direct such intricate and compelling moments?

MP: This was some of the most fun. The first stage was scripting and sending it to David Ross (Miniature Effects Supervisor) to see what was feasible based on the parameters we were working within. Then David encouraged me to put together visual references to cut into the sequence. Footage from existing films or animatics. I hit up the toy shop and bought an A-Wing and Cylon Raider then gaffer taped them to a broom handle and shot some bits in front of green card. It was a blast! David was so receptive to those shots. From there we worked on David's laptop at the BFI bar and plotted out more precisely timed animatics. The days started with coffee and ended with beers!

Then David worked through what could be a miniature and what could be CG and shot them using a motion control rig. But all of that is only held together with the emotional beats of the story. If you don't know or care about the characters flying and shooting, then it's just some VFX and tech-speak. The biggest worry was how much the human eye needs in order to recognise other people. Our helmets only showed the face. No hair or ears! I cast actors to play pilots who looked distinctly different so the audience could figure out who was who fairly quickly once the action kicked off. To help with that geography we designed a different engine hum for each Starfighter and gave each character their own "signature camera angle". Ben also mixed the sound to pan and reposition to help keep positions as clear as possible. We also kept the action travelling left to right, so cutting to a gunner sat in the back, wouldn't feel jarring.

HC: Did Phoebe Sparrow who plays Adler have to train for the film as she has an incredibly physical role?

MP: Phoebe was physically fit to start with. She does triathlons and runs up mountains before breakfast! Pitting her against Si Dwyer (who played all the Drekk Villains) was something that ended up working out because there is such a contrast in their height. It helped make the bad guys seem more imposing and enhanced the notion that Adler had to be tactical in her confrontations. That all came from Si's body language and Phoebe's performance.

HC: Where were the exterior scenes shot and where did the space craft designs come from?

MP: The exteriors were shot in Iceland for the most part. A few other bits were shot in our front garden in Streatham. We had a backdrop of the Black Sands in Vik and the rest were done using a few sneaky angles and a reflector. David Ross worked on the Starfighter design along with Nicky Evans, who was constructing the cockpit section. Those guys needed to match a few things and tried avoiding complex curves for ease. In fact, during Lockdown Nicky was bored and tried his hand at some 3D modelling. He sent me a few attempts, for shits and giggles, but he'd created something pretty awesome. I asked if we could use it as the massive Earth battleship and he said "Sure thing!" David added some texture to it and it helped lend a sense of scale to that opening battle.

Of all the designs, our Drekk Cruiser was a lot of fun! David knew how much I love the 80s Roger Corman stuff. So he worked on an imposing kit-bashed look. I remember asking for some sort of low-hanging face for the front of the cruiser and loved what he came up with. The most pleasant surprise was when I sent him a rough assembly of the 18-minute space battle sequence and temp scored it with sections from Battle Beyond the Stars. David called me excitedly and said "I've been listening to the same score whilst building the miniatures!" I remember thinking "We're definitely on the same wavelength!"

HC: The film is all about endurance, the trauma of war and the fight for survival, bleak tones indeed, so what was the atmosphere like on set?

MP: Not as bleak! Iceland was a tough shoot. The weather conditions changed every 15 minutes and slowed things down. The last day was done during what we initially thought was mist, but it turned out to be teeny droplets of water that were so light that instead of dropping to the ground, they swirled in the air and soaked up to our bones! Through waterproofs! I remember saying to the crew that if we could get through that shoot, every film after would feel easy. Our sound recordist and all round fix it genius (Danyaal Shah) worked on a project where he had to record sound underwater and told me "it was a piece of p**s" compared to Iceland. Despite the brutal weather conditions we had a tight shoot that was only made possible thanks to the organisational skills of our producer Michelle Parkyn. She kept everyone fed and looked after. The end of our days involved planning for the next over gin!

I like to laugh a lot on set and think the most fun was had shooting the pilots in the space battle. It felt so goofy sitting in my living room pretending there was a space battle out the window when it was a freshly boiled kettle and mountain of biscuits! That section was where a lot of actor friends came in and played various pilots and gunners. Marcus Shakesheff (fight coordinator for Dune Drifter as well as Wonder Woman, Krypton and Hanna) cameoed as our cowardly pilot Melyn, which is welsh for the colour yellow. Daisy Aitkens got to fly a Starfighter, which was a blast to direct. And thanks to Lea James and Nicky Evans we had some safe, in-camera practical explosions.

HC: What, in your opinion is the greatest sci-fi movie made?

MP: That's a rough one. I love such a range of sci-fi from massive blockbusters like Star Wars, Star Trek, 2001 and Spielberg sci-fi to low budget strokes of genius like Moon and Cube. There are also fun movies like Arena and Corman sci-fi. Battle Beyond the Stars was a direct influence. I like a lot of sci-fi!

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

MP: I'm writing mainly. Michelle has managed to line up a few projects for us. So my job is to write them and whichever one she says we make is the script I'll tidy into a shooting draft and we'll get started. But after a year working on Dune Drifter I have to admit that my days involve a lot of catching up with some film and TV.

HC: Marc Price, thank you very much.


MORE FRIGHTFEST
Interview with Sean Nichols Lynch writer and director of Red Snow
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
RedSnow-poster

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 ...

SHARE: READ MORE
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...

SHARE: READ MORE
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...

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

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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Josh Stifter director of Greywood's Plot
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
GreywoodsPlot-1

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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Conor Stechschulte writer of Ultrasound
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Ultrasound-1

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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Rob Schroeder director of Ultrasound
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Ultrasound-1

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...

SHARE: READ MORE
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...

SHARE: READ MORE
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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Casey Dillard actor and writer of Killer Concept
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
KillerConcept-2

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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Glenn Payne director and actor from Killer Concept
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
KillerConcept-poster

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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Chad Crawford Kinkle writer and director of Dementer
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021
Chad Crawford Kinkle Dementer Image 2

A movie which is bold not only with its storytelling but its casting is playing today at FrightFest. Dementer from Chad Crawford Kinkle, is an emotional, raw and very real feeling movie built around a care home which delivers some of the most effective acting you'll see at the event this year. Here he chats about this superb film.

HC: Where did the idea for Dementer come from?

CK: The idea was really years in the making. I had always wanted to do a film with my sister but my mind always went to doing a documentary of some sort. Then one year at Sundance, I watched the movie The Tribe and it sparked an idea that I could set a narrativ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Frightfest Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
PICK OF THE WEEK
Spring
SPRING
Saturday 11th December
10.50 PM
The Darkness
THE DARKNESS
Saturday 11th December
9.00 PM
An American Werewolf In Paris
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS
Tuesday 7th December
9.00 PM