LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Interview With Pavel Khvaleev Director Of III
By James Whittington, Friday 28th August 2015

Pavel Khvalee director of IIIWhat I love about FrightFest is the chance to catch films from all over the world and the more diverse they are the better. Pavel Khvaleev is a director with an extraordinary eye for visuals and his movie III will be getting its UK premiere later today. We spoke to him recently about this movie and what the horror movie business is like in his native country.

HC: When did you decide that you wanted to be in the film making business?

PK: Being a member of the electronic project Moonbeam, I’ve directed about 30 music videos through all these years, so one day it was decided to shoot a feature film, and the first one was a mystery drama The Random. In the end, this work was released by the Dutch distributor Black Hole Recordings in 2013. Then, together with my wife Alexandra Khvaleevа and our close friends Evgenia Mustafina and Oleg Mustafin, we decided to put on a different genre hat and switch from drama to horror. Since we are big fans of such directors as Christophe Gans, Tarsem Singh…

HC: How did the project for III come about?

PK: After several hours of heated discussions, we finally agreed on the topic that was interesting to all of us – Shamanism and self-healing, and mixed it up a little with the interconnection between two sisters. We were very impressed by the monsters from the first part of Silent Hill, and that’s why in our film there also special make-up effects made by Evgenia Zakharova. It was her first experience in a feature film.

HC: The film is a very surreal, multi-level movie, how much planning did you put into it to make sure the story flowed?

PK: It was our original plan to immerse the viewer in several worlds: the real world and the world of the subconscious, and the Shamanism story helped us a lot with this. During the three months of writing, the script changed several times. The final big change was the introduction of Ayia character, as initially only Mirra and Father Herman were involved in the plot. It happened when we were casting for the role of the main female character, and once we saw Polina (Ayia), we decided to complicate the story and add another protagonist.

HC: Where did you find such stunning locations?

PK: In Russia, we had to drive about 1,000 kilometers in search of suitable locations for our film. We were so lucky when we found a historical place, Priklonskie-Rukavishnikovy Manor House, and we were allowed to shoot there. An abandoned mill, a cave and even a burned forest – all these objects are real and unique in their kind. But, of course, it couldn’t have been done without computer graphics. In fact, in terms of technical specifics of the film III, we tried to use computer graphics as little as possible and to create a special atmosphere of the world of the subconscious on site, choosing the most artistic scenes. For shooting in Germany the producer of the movie Frank Ellrich helped us to find the right places after I sent him several storyboards. We shot some parts in the city called Marburg, which I first saw when I was visiting Frank in Germany. It is the city of his birthplace and it has a lot of old historical buildings. It perfectly matched the dark & mystic atmosphere we needed for our story.

HC: The film has some very ambitious set-pieces; did you have a large budget?

PK: We will reveal one of the secrets of our film: the budget of the film III was only 15,000 Euros, as all the visual effects, music, editing and colour correction was done by me within the year. Besides, the entire film crew was working out of pure enthusiasm. For us, this project became a real adventure, great time spending and, at the same time, a test. I still can’t believe that the shooting team consisted only of eight people, who proved to be multifunctional specialists. This versatility of our crew is noticeable in the credits, where the same people feature in various capacities. For example, Alexandra Khaleeva is a scriptwriter, and she also sewed nearly all the costumes for the characters. Oleg Mustafin helped with the script, at the same time he was responsible for almost all the props and safety during complex scenes and also helped with make-up. Evgenia Mustafina, an executive producer, was also the coordinator responsible for the translation of subtitles into other languages.

HC: Its dark, slightly grim in places, did this affect the tone on set?

PK: Despite the fact that during almost all the days of shooting we were accompanied by rain, the crew was always in an excellent mood. But we really freaked out when we met the paranormal creature while living in Germany in Rosenthal village. Two people really heard someone’s breath and steps at night in the old house, which was more than 100 years. One more mystic thing happened when Lyuba, who plays a sick sister Mirra, caught real chickenpox at the beginning of shooting. For some scenes we had to shoot her on a green background, and that really complicated the process.

HC: This is your second feature, were you more confident directing III compared to your first movie?

PK: To be honest, my first film The Random was a good experience for the creation of the next feature film. I think that any director has to get into other’s shoes and understand professionally every area of film production workflow: operator, editor, colourist, actor, screenwriter, it is necessary in order to lead the whole project and be able, in the end, to deliver your vision as close as possible to the viewer.

HC: How big is the horror movie industry in Russia?

PK: Today in Russia there are a lot of fans of horror genre among the younger generation. But at the same time they are prisoners of the situation caused by the absence of horror film industry in this country. Over the past 10 years, almost none of the Russian horror films have been paid off at the box office, which results in film companies being afraid of investing in this field.

HC: Are you nervous that its playing such a big festival?

PK: Mhm... It is similar to my gigs for my music project Moonbeam. I am a bit nervous only at the very beginning, but after a while I calm down and relax quite quickly. Of course, it was a new situation for me to introduce my work with a microphone at the cinema to the audience. And every audience is a bit different. Anyway, I enjoy it a lot to see so many new cities and to meet new and interesting people.

HC: So what projects are you working on at the moment?

PK: We are now in the process of writing the script for the next film of the same genre. I’m not going to disclose the idea, but I can say it will be something new in its kind. We will definitely engage professional actors for the shooting in order to make this movie really dramatic. And since the idea of a new film is quite ambitious and difficult to implement, this time it cannot be done without investors.

HC: Pavel Khvaleev, thank you very much.


MORE FRIGHTFEST
See how music can kill in Sound of Violence
Posted on Friday 23rd July 2021
Sound of Violence Cover

In thrilling new horror Sound of Violence, a young girl recovers her hearing and gains synthetic abilities during the brutal murder of her family. Finding solace in the sounds of bodily harm, as an adult she pursues a career in music composing her masterpieces through gruesome murders.

From the mind of talented new writer-director Alex Noyer and featuring a stunning lead performance from Jasmin Savoy Brown (2022's Scream, The Leftovers), Sound of Violence is being billed as one of the most original and shocking horrors of the year.

After its UK premiere at Arrow Frightfest, Sound of Violence on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from 30th August than...

SHARE: READ MORE
Arrow Video FrightFest 2021 announces second wave of films for August Cineworld event
Posted on Thursday 22nd July 2021
Bloodthirsty-WEB3

It's full scream ahead as Arrow Video FrightFest 2021 announces its second wave of hugely anticipated Discovery Screen and First Blood titles - a summer collection of provocative, edgy and transgressive entertainment to die for. There are fourteen World and ten European/International premieres amongst the thirty-four films on offer.

Eleven countries are represented, with titles ranging from Canadian entries Bloodthirsty, Amelia Moses' simmering LGBQT+ werewolf movie and sinister isolation thriller Motherly to Francesco Erba's As In Heaven, So On Earth, a stunning Italian blend of live action and Gothic puppet animation. Then there's Peter Bergendy's sumptuous Post Mortem, an epic Hu...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest resurrects its New Blood quest for new writers
Posted on Tuesday 13th July 2021
New Blood 2021 - logo

As Arrow Video FrightFest stalks the dark recesses of the big screen again, the search resumes for new writers in the horror genre through its New Blood initiative. New Blood reunites FrightFest with Giles Edwards of Queensbury Pictures with its mission to find emerging UK-based writers dedicated to the genre and nurture their projects from script to screen. Queensbury is ultimately interested in buying the finished script rather than the idea, and so, this year all successful final candidates if selected should be able to send even a rough draft of the first ten pages of their script through with their acceptance.

Already the scheme has delivered two new projects: Broadcast ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Arrow Video FrightFest unveils first wave of twenty-five films for August 2021 Cineworld event
Posted on Thursday 8th July 2021
FrightFest 2021 - Poster art-1

Arrow Video FrightFest, the UK's biggest horror and fantasy film festival, is back at the Cineworld Leicester Square from Thursday August 26 - Monday 30 August for five days of the very best of global genre cinema.

The internationally renowned event leads the way in attesting to the versatility of the genre and, despite the interruptions caused by the pandemic, this year is no exception as the twenty-five films to be presented in the main screens are revealed. They include four world premieres and eight International/European premieres.

Global events over the past eighteen months have not only altered most people's lives but have had a profoundly i...

SHARE: READ MORE
Graham Humphreys' stunning artwork for Arrow Video FrightFest 2021 celebrates the festival's cinematic return.
Posted on Friday 2nd July 2021
FrightFest 2021 - Poster art-1

Arrow Video FrightFest is proud to present Graham Humphreys' stand-out poster design for 2021, which marks the 13th appearance for his iconic Monster.

Graham revealed today: "We have a happy monster this year. Though how happy a monster should be in a horror film festival raised the question, what would make the monster happy? Last year's event was not 'live'. This year, with a return to the social interaction that makes the festival such an important event in the annual calendar, it's as if we have bypassed 2020 in a time machine, full throttle, into 2021. To celebrate - a bottle of champagne! Although the monster would probably prefer a full-blooded vinta...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Adrian Langley, director of Butchers.
Posted on Tuesday 27th October 2020
FrightFest-Halloween-2020

Butchers is a superb piece of horror cinema from Adrian Langley. Here he chats about this grim and gruesome piece and his plans for the future.

HC: Where did the idea for Butchers come from?

AL: Butchers came from two of Daniel Weissenberger's old screenplays - he writes a lot - and I remixed them with some ideas that had been kicking around in my head after having read those scripts a long time ago.

HC: Did it take long to write?

AL: Not at all. Because Dan's scripts were so full already, the initial working draft only took about two weeks to put together and then I did a lot of rewriting during the prep process to streamline it to what...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Andrew Thomas Hunt, director of Spare Parts.
Posted on Tuesday 27th October 2020
Spare Parts

FrightFest is all about the diversity of movies, none more so than Spare Parts from director Andrew Thomas Hunt. This superb mash-up of gladiator-style fighting and a scorching soundtrack is desitined to become a cult classic so we chatted to Andrew about this movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the film industry?

AH: I did - from the age of 16. I was a huge fan of David Cronenberg's films, and when I discovered that he was not only from Toronto, but made his films here, it made me realize you didn't have to be from Hollywood to make movies.

HC: How did you become attached to this wild project?

AH: It was pitched to me at TIFF (Toronto Int'l ...

SHARE: READ MORE
And the winner is... Benny Loves You!
Posted on Monday 26th October 2020

The winner of the FrightFest Horror Channel First Blood Award 2020 is... Benny Loves You!

Here, Channel Manager Stewart Bridle chats to its very talented director, Karl Holt.

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Liam O'Donnell director of SKYLIN3S
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
skylin3s-poster

FrightFest Digital Edition 2 concludes tonight with an out-of-this-world premiere, SKYLIN3S. Here its writer and director Liam O'Donnell talks about this and the other entries in this sci-fi series.

HC: You've been involved with the Skyline series of movies from the start, where did the initial idea come from?

LD: Initially the idea just came from, we were sort of do it ourselves film makers and I had been living in the building we ended up shooting in. We had already been illegally shooting on the rooftop helipad for a pitch that we were developing and when Greg's (Greg Strause, director of Skyline) unit on the top floor and he walked in and saw this big, expansive view of LA...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Paul Tanter director and co-writer of The Nights Before Christmas
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
The Nights Before Christmas-poster

Prolific creative Paul Tanter has delivered a real treat for FrightFest pass holders today, the blood-splattered shocker, The Nights Before Christmas. Here he chats about this cracker of a movie.

HC: Have you always been a fan of the horror genre?

PT: Absolutely. One of my first cinema memories is my dad taking me to see Fright Night in 1985 and there being a promotional pack of vampire teeth on every seat. I was five at the time so I'm not sure how he snuck me in there, considering it's rated 18. I grew up watching The Omen films, in parts enthralled and terrified by them. I still can't pass that church in Fulham without keeping an eye on ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Simon Phillips, star and co-writer of The Nights Before Christmas
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
The Nights Before Christmas-poster

Seasonal slashers are once again coming into vogue but none as brutal as The Nights Before Christmas. Here, its star and co-writer Simon Phillips tells all about this movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the film industry?

SP: I don't know if I ever was sure I was going to be in the film industry but as a child I sure liked talking a lot and my teacher once shouted at me "They'd better pay you to talk when you grow up, because you sure like the sound of your own voice"... So perhaps it was always on the cards!

HC: Are you a fan of horror movies?

SP: To be honest they terrify me... not the o...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Elza Kephart, director and co-writer of Slaxx
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
SLAXX_Elza_(C)photoB-Calmeau_0125FrightFest is all about originality and new talent and 2020 has been a belter of a year for such things. Slaxx from Elza Kephart is a prime example of the new and exciting creative talent that's out there at the moment. We chatted to Elza about this superb shocker.

HC: Are you a big horror movie fan?

EK: Yes, huge! I started my horror adventure when I was a pre-teen, reading Agatha Christie, R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Anne Rice. If there wasn't a death I wasn't interested. From that, I migrated to horror films; when I was about ten, I watched Aliens, the Fearless Vampire Hunters, Exorcist 2. I might have been a little too young, I remember being re...

SHARE: READ MORE
Frightfest Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
PICK OF THE WEEK
Deliver Us From Evil
DELIVER US FROM EVIL
Sunday 8th August
9.00 PM
The Prince
THE PRINCE
Saturday 7th August
9.00 PM
Star Trek: Voyager
STAR TREK: VOYAGER
Friday 13th August
7.00 PM