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 Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.
The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a writer?
MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Gary J. Tunnicliffe, writer and director of Hellraiser: Judgement
Posted on Saturday 20th February 2021
Director and long-time Hellraiser franchise SFX artist Gary John Tunnicliffe has a new entry into the Hellraiser series for us all to enjoy, Hellraiser: Judgement. Here he chats about this gritty horror.
HC: Was there one person or film which inspired you to want to be in the effects industry?
GJT: I can't remember one film that directly inspired me to be in the effects industry, it would definitely have been around 1982 (when I was 14) when The Thing AND American Werewolf in London came out (as well as a mass of FX laden movies) but more than anything it was when s...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Chee Keong Cheung, director of Redcon-1
Posted on Wednesday 17th February 2021
Fast-paced British zombie thriller, Redcon-1 will be having its UK TV premiere on Horror on Saturday 20th February so we decided to chat with its writer and director Chee Keong Cheung about this acclaimed movie.
HC: Where did the idea for Redcon-1 come from and are you a fan of zombie movies?
CKC: I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre and in particular, Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later', Zak Snyder's 'Dawn of the Dead' and of course George Romero's original works which helped to pave the way for the genre and was a real inspiration for me growing up. I remember watching 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Black Hawk Down' on TV and had always been drawn to the men on a m...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Scott Reiniger star of the original Dawn of the Dead
Posted on Sunday 15th November 2020
On the eve of a stunning new 4K box set of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead from Second Sight Films, we chat to one of its stars, Scott Reiniger about this incredible film.
HC: How did you first become involved with Dawn of the Dead?
SR: Well, I was in New York, I was a stage actor in New York and I went to college with Christine Forrest, who later became George's wife and she asked me if I wanted to audition for this film called Dawn of the Dead, she wanted to know if I knew who George Romero was and I said, "Yeah, he was the guy who directed Night of the Living Dead". So, they sent the script over and I read it and it was pr...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Steve Speirs, star of Concrete Plans
Posted on Sunday 1st November 2020
Welsh, Scottish and Ukranian dialects clash in Concrete Plans, a stand-out movie from Will Jewell which has just been released by FrightFest Presents via Signature. Its a super and very dark thriller with an outstanding cast headed up by Steve Speirs. Here he chats about this amazing piece.
Be warned this interview contains some spoilers about the movie. If in doubt watch the movie before reading. You have been warned!
HC: Was there one actor of one film you saw when you were younger that made you want to be an actor?
SS: Oh, I've never been asked that actually. When I started to get into watching films, I'd always wanted to be an actor for as long as I can ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Shayne Ward, star of The Ascent
Posted on Thursday 22nd October 2020
A special ops team on a mission in a war-torn country find themselves trapped on a never-ending staircase that they must climb - or they die! This is the premise for Tom Paton's superb, action-packed horror The Ascent which is having its UK TV premiere at 9pm on October 23rd. Here its star, Shayne Ward tells all about his career to date and how he became involved in this sci-fi shocker.
HC: How much did the X-Factor change your life?
SW: Oh, like anyone can say who has been on it, who has done well on the show, it does change your life because it catapults you into the limelight, into the public eye. One day you are relatively unknown...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Ryan Kruger, writer and director of Fried Barry
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Anyone who as been to Grimmfest will know that the team behind the event try their very best to bring to their audience films that challenge and push as many envelopes as possible. Fried Barry from director Ryan Kruger is such a movie. Packed with mind-bending imagery and and emotional punch, this polarizing movie has to be seen just for its creativity and strong storytelling. Here, Ryan chats about this incredible movie.
HC: Where did Fried Barry come from?
RK: Fried Barry was born out of total frustration where I was in my career. I am known in South Africa as a music video director for doing narrative story telling within music vids and sharp visuals. Although I al...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Deiondre Teagle, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Grimmfest 2020 is packed with new talent and one actor that stands out is Deiondre Teagle who styars in Charlie Steeds' grindhouse homage, Death Ranch. Here Deiondre explains his role and what it was like being part of such a bold movie.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an actor?
DT: I've definitely known my whole life I've wanted to be an actor. One of my favourite movies of all time is the original Men In Black. When I was little (about 3 or 4 years old), I would re-watch my VHS copy of that movie over and over and over again. I would re-enact every scene. Since then, my love for acting and film has just grown. I have such a love for the...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Faith Monique, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Grimmfest 2020 is packed with world premieres and none so bold as Charlie Steed's Death Ranch. We chatted to one of its main stars, Faith Monique about her role in this brutal and brilliant movie.
HC: Was there one person you saw at a young age who inspired you to want to become an actress?
FM: Funny fact, I grew up without a TV! So, at a young age, I never had an actor that inspired me and to this day I still don't. Acting did not become a dream of mine until 2016 and for inspiration, I like to dig deep into my own soul to find truth to bring into each character.
HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies and were you aware of grindhouse and e...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Charlie Steeds, writer and director of Death Ranch
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
Horror movies and controversy always go hand in hand but when they tackle serious issues by using extreme violence to hammer home a point they can be very worthy. Death Ranch from Charlie Steeds is having its world premiere at Grimmfest so we chatted to him about this very strong movie.
HC: What inspired you to write Death Ranch?
CS: I'd always wanted to try making a movie with a 70s Grindhouse/Exploitation style and was watching old Grindhouse trailers for inspiration. I came across the movie Brotherhood of Death, where black characters fight back against the KKK for some of the film (the tagline is 'Watch these brothers stick it to the Klan!') and that conce...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Nicholas Santos, writer and director of It Cuts Deep
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
At Grimmfest we're used to comedy horror but none as well written as It Cuts Deep from writer/director Nicholas Santos. Here he chats about this true dissection of a romance going terribly wrong.
HC: Have you always been a big horror fan?
NS: I've been a big horror fan since I was a little kid. Some of my favourite childhood memories are seeing Event Horizon with my dad when I was in second grade, being absolutely terrified by Chucky from Child's Play at every waking moment and watching Psycho for the first time on VHS when I was 7 years old.
HC: Where did the idea for It Cuts Deep come from and did it take long to write?
NS: It Cuts Deep is a hor...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Robert Woods, director of An Ideal Host
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
Ever had the dinner party from Hell with people you don't really relate to and seem alien? Well this is the premise of the the hilarious horror comedy An Ideal Host from director Robert Woods. Here he tells Horror about this cracking movie.
HC: What did you think of the script when you first read it and what made you decide that this would be your first project as a director?
RW: Tyler and I had been writing theatre together for a decade, but movies are our first love and we wanted to give it a crack as well. Tyler came up with the initial idea but we worked on the story together and it evolved a great deal from the initial pitch. As it was my first time directing, I think we were j...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Thursday 20th May
Wednesday 12th May
Tuesday 18th May