LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview With Pavel Khvaleev Director Of III
By James Whittington, Friday 28th August 2015
What 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 INTERVIEWS Interview with Julien Seri, director of Anderson Falls
Posted on Tuesday 18th February 2020
Ahead of the UK premiere of serial killer thriller Anderson Falls at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Julien Seri reflects on this, his first 'American' experience, challenging fight scenes and the importance of personal vision.
It has been five years since we premiered Night Fare at FrightFest London, what have you been up to since then?
JS: I worked on two, very singular, projects as a producer and/or director. I signed for both with Wild Bunch, but we've failed to produce them yet. So I keep fighting. And I did a lot of commercials, TV series and music videos.
When did you first hear about the Anderson Falls script and why did you think it was perfect for yo...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Adam Stovall, director of A Ghost Waits
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020
Ahead of the World premiere of A Ghost Waits at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Adam Stovall reflects on getting through depression, creating paranormal romance and the influence of Tom Waits...
You have an interesting CV - from comedy theatre and film journalism to writing for The Hollywood Reporter and second assistant directing. Was all this a game plan to becoming a fully-fledged director?
AS: I've known since I was a little kid sitting in the basement watching the network TV premiere of Back To The Future while holding my Back To The Future storybook and waiting for them to premiere the first footage from Back To The Future 2 during a commercial br...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Simeon Halligan, director of Habit
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020
Simeon Halligan is one of the busiest people working in the industry today. Writer, director, producer, director of celebrated film festival Grimmfest, in fact the list goes on.
His latest film is the neon tinged, blood-splattered masterpiece Habit which is showing on Horror February 14th so we thought we should get the story on how he brought this shocker to the big screen.
HC: When did you first become aware of the book by Stephen McGeagh to which Habit is based?
SH: I read the book a couple of years back and really liked it. A combination of gritty realism and dark fantasy; set within a very recognisable Manchester. There's a juxtaposition in the book; from a kind of soc...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jackson Stewart, director of Beyond The Gates
Posted on Wednesday 22nd January 2020
Jack Stewart's sublime retro horror Beyond the Gates was recently shown on Horror. Jackson is one of the strongest creatives around at the moment but he took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about this contemporary classic and his future movie plans.
HC: Was there one film that you saw growing up which gave you the idea that you wanted to work in the film industry?
JS: There were definitely a number of them; I think the ones that stick out strongest in my memory were Temple Of Doom, Batman '89, Nightmare On Elm Street 4, Raising Arizona, Back To The Future, Marnie, Army Of Darkness, The Frighteners and Dirty Harry. All of them had a big emotional impact on me. Dirty Har...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with acclaimed author Shaun Hutson
Posted on Friday 20th December 2019
The British horror legend Shaun Hutson is back with Testament, a new novel featuring one of his fans most loved characters, Sean Doyle so we decided to catch up with this talented chap about his acclaimed work.
HC: Was there one author who inspired you to become a writer?
SH: My inspirations were always and still are cinematic if I'm honest. Even when I first started writing my influences and inspirations came from things like Hammer films, from TV series like The Avengers (with Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee) and from old Universal horror films. I read the Pan Books of Horror Stories when I was a kid and I think they were probably the first "literary" influences I ever had. I also read lo...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Tyler MacIntyre, director of Patchwork
Posted on Thursday 12th December 2019 On the eve of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Patchwork on December 14th, director Tyler MacIntyre reflects on body image issues. twisting audience expectations and his admiration for current female genre directors.
HC: Patchwork finally gets its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel. Excited or what?
TM: Relieved actually. It's been a long time coming. The third screening of the film ever happened at FrightFest in Glasgow and since then I've had people asking me when it was going to come out. The UK genre fans are among the most diehard in the world, so I'm very excited to finally have it available for them.
HC: You were in attendance when Patchwork, your directorial feature debut, rece...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with James Moran, writer of Tower Block
Posted on Monday 25th November 2019
Writer James Moran is about to do what few other writers have done in the past, the Horror Channel Triple! He is one of the few creatives who has had three of his movies play on the channel; Cockneys Vs Zombies, Severance and now Tower Block which is playing on November 29th. So, we decided to chat to this talented chap about this superior thriller and the rest of his career.
HC: Your first movie, Severance is a huge favourite with Horror Channel viewers, were you ever tempted to pen a sequel?
JM: Thank you, I'm really glad that people can still discover it with every new screening. Everybody wanted to do a sequel, we actually had several meetings about it. Nothing came of it, they carried on with...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Gary Dauberman, writer and director of Annabelle Comes Home
Posted on Saturday 23rd November 2019
Gary Dauberman has been the scriptwriter for some of the most successful horror movies of the last few years including IT: Parts 1 and 2, Annabelle and The Nun. His latest movie, Annabelle Comes Home which is also his directorial debut, has just been released onto DVD and Blu-ray. We caught up with this talented chap about his career to date.
HC: What was it about the horror genre that grabbed your imagination and made you want to become a writer?
GD: The earliest movie going experience I can remember was my parents taking me to Raiders of the Lost Ark and I was 4 or 5 or something and I had to sleep with them for a week, you know the opening up of The Ark and the face melting, a rea...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Cameron Macgowan, director of Red Letter Day
Posted on Friday 1st November 2019
FrightFest 2019 exposed a lot of new talent in the movie industry and one of the stand-out pieces was Red Letter Day from Cameron Macgowan.
HC: Where did the idea for Red Letter Day come from and did it take long to write?
CM: I have long been a fan of the 'Humans Hunting Humans' subgenre of film (Battle Royale, The Running Man, Hard Target, etc.) and was inspired to set one of these films in what many people consider the 'safe' location of the suburbs. Suburban communities feel like the perfect setting for a horror film as you can walk for miles without seeing a single soul all while knowing that you are surrounded by many people. This mixed with a desire to satirise the current socio-political climate ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Carlo Mirabella-Davis, director of Swallow
Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2019
Ahead of the UK premiere of Swallow at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, director Carlo Mirabella-Davis reflects on the personal inspiration behind his feature debut, healing psychological wounds and his empathy for the genre.
HC: Swallow is your directorial debut. How difficult was it to get the project off the ground?
CMD: Getting a film made is a fascinating process. My late, great teacher at NYU, Bill Reilly, would always say "script is coin of the realm". The early stages involved perfecting the screenplay as much as I could, writing and rewriting until I felt confident sending it out. The sacred bond between the producer and the director is the catalyst that brings a film into being. I ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Paul Davis, director of Uncanny Annie
Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2019
Ahead of the International premiere of Uncanny Annie at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2019, director Paul Davis reflects on working for Blumhouse, bemoans attitudes to British genre film funding and reveals the movies that inspire him the most...
HC: Tell us how Uncanny Annie came about?
PD: Uncanny Annie is my second movie for Blumhouse as part of Hulu's Into The Dark movie series. I had the opportunity to actually kick off last October with a feature adaptation of my short film The Body (which had its world premiere at FF in 2013). The concept was to release a movie a month, for twelve months, with each revolving around a holiday or particular day for the month of its released. With The Bod...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Lars Klevberg, director of Child's Play (2019)
Posted on Thursday 10th October 2019 It was the remake everyone was against! The interweb was ablaze with negativity but director Lars Klevberg and his team managed to pull off one of the best horror movies of 2019. Here he chats about the smart shocker, Child's Play.
HC: How nervous were you taking on a re-imagining of such a beloved concept and franchise?
LK: I was in fact very nervous the minute I signed on to do the movie. Before that, I worked relentlessly for weeks to get the job, but immediately after getting it my body had a very stressful reaction. I was fully aware of the legacy I was about to re-open so, I didn't sleep one minute that night.
HC: W...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Sunday 1st March
Sunday 1st March
Friday 6th March