LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Interview with Robi Michael, writer and director of Every Time I Die
By James Whittington, Saturday 5th October 2019
Grimmfest 2019 is well underway and one of the stand out movies so far has been Every Time I Die from director Robi Michael. Here he chats about this gripping movie.
HC: Was there one person or movie that you saw that made you want to be a director?
RM: Hard to think of one person or movie, because as long as I remember, it was clear to me that all I want to do is make movies - I was in love with films and decided to pursue it from a very early age. I was too young to realized what it takes to make movies or what is the job of a director. I can say that an early big influence in story telling is the legendary graphic novel writer, Alan Moore. Books like "Watchmen" and "V for Vendetta" really blew my young mind and opened it up to the possibilities of what you can do as a storyteller: the way you tell and unfold a story is just as important as what you actually say.
HC: Where did the idea for Every Time I Die come from and did it take long to lock down?
RM: For some reason, I find myself interested in exploring consciousness and the human mind. Basically, everything that makes us who we are. My mind always goes to those places. So, when I sat down to write my next project, I came up with the idea of exploring one's true self through the bodies of other people. After all, if you're trying to understand who you are, what will be more challenging than to do it when you are not you? When I figured out the basic idea, I got my writing partner (Gal Katzir) involved and together we started a 6-year journey of writing and re-writing the screenplay. There were a lot of different drafts and it took some time to find the right tone. When we started, it was skewed towards a classic possession movie, but it ended up being much more psychological and grounded in reality, which both of us found more interesting.
HC: Drew Fonteiro gives an exceptional performance as Sam, was the part written with him in mind?
RM: When we wrote the screenplay, we didn't know Drew. We found him through a vigorous casting process, headed by our great casting director, Gabrielle Almagor. We saw a lot of actors in LA and NY, but Drew brought a sense of intensity to the character which was very unique. He seemed to have a special connection to Sam's character and could really identify with him. He was also 100% committed to the role. At the time of his audition, Drew was in a very athletic shape. After he got the part, he decided to lose a lot of weight before we started shooting. His new demeanor added fragility and vulnerability to his character, and combined with his intensity, he elevated the role to another level. The rest of the cast did an amazing job as well. They all came through the same casting process and I just couldn't dream of a better ensemble.
HC: Did you have much a of a budget to play with as the effects are quite something?
RM: We originally wrote the idea of this movie with a budget constrain in mind. It was important for us to be able to actually shoot the movie, and not just have a screenplay in hand. So, we were trying hard to not include any scenes or set pieces that will be too complicated to shoot or will cost too much money to accomplish. But the mind wanders. And we ended up writing some stuff that was beautiful and integral to the story, but production wise, it was definitely challenging to include in a low budget movie. The quotes we got from several medium size FX companies were 7-10 times the budget we actually had, so when we got down to the postproduction process, we found out we need to get creative. We enlisted Thomas Marinello, a good friend and a colleague that is a visual FX master. We worked together many times before, but never on a scale this big. He did most of the VFX shots himself, for a fraction of the price they usually cost. For the light tunnel shots, we came up with an idea of shooting ink elements in a water tank. To put it all together, we enlisted another friend, Pascual Sisto, who is a vsual artist and a filmmaker. He managed to put it all together in a specific design, that turned out amazing. I guess the moral of the story is: It's good to have friends. (Especially talented ones).
HC: This is your first feature length movie, were you nervous the first day you stepped onto set?
RM: Hell yeah. You feel so much pressure knowing all these people on set are here to accomplish the realization of an idea you had 6 years ago. You kind of have to ask yourself is it worthy? And all that money that was invested. What if it's all for nothing? At the same time, these exact worries are also the reasons this is so exciting and breathtaking. You are accomplishing a dream. There's nothing like it. It gets you focused in a very distinct way.
HC: It's had some amazing reviews but is there anything you would go back and change?
RM: Depends on the day you ask me. Sometimes I think it's perfect. Other times I think nothing works and I want to do it all over again. There will always be small things I will want to try differently, and you can really drive yourself insane with doubt. But as a friend told me once, doubt is what makes you a filmmaker. Bottom line is that I'm very proud of this movie.
HC: You're a multi-talented person but is there one role that you prefer?
RM: Thanks for the compliment. I enjoyed (and suffered) in all the different roles I had in this movie. But I mostly enjoyed working with the actors and coming up with shots to tell the story. It's hard for me to see myself writing or producing for projects that are not my own. But I will be happy to direct other people stories in collaboration with different writers and producers.
HC: So, what are you up to at the moment?
RM: I am currently writing the next film and developing a script for a TV series. Can't talk about it much right now but stay tuned!
HC: Robi Michael, thank you very much.
MORE INTERVIEWS Interview with Michael Mayer and Guy Ayal from the acclaimed movie Happy Times
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021
Happy Times, which is showing at Grimmfest Online, is a movie that takes the home invasion genre and turns it inside out! Directed by Michael Mayer and co-written with composer Guy Ayal, the movie is a bombastic, bloody and hilarious piece of cinema. I chatted to them both about this dinner party from hell.
HC: Where did the idea for Happy Times come from?
MM: The idea for the movie started forming when I was invited to a Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year's) dinner in Los Angeles. It was the first year of Trump's presidency and wherever you went all people wanted to talk about was politics. One thing to know about the Israeli expat com...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with D.M. Cunningham, writer and director of The Spore
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021
If you like your horror with a huge lashing of gruesome effects and a strong story then The Spore is for. Showing at Grimmfest Online, the movie from D.M. Cunningham is a smart take on the body horror genre. Here he chats about this movie which is guaranteed to get under your skin.
HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a director?
DM: I started out wanting to be a makeup effects artist. After seeing Night of the Living Dead and discovering Fangoria magazine I was hooked. Tom Savini was a huge influence on my trajectory toward becoming a filmmaker. It wasn't until later that I discovered that you could boss the monsters around on set being the director. That's...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Ben Charles Edwards, co-writer and director of Father of Flies
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021
A vulnerable young boy finds his mother pushed out of the family home by a strange new woman in Father of Flies, and he must confront the terrifying supernatural forces that seem to move in with her. This intense and chilling movie is showing at Grimmfest Online Edition so we chatted to director and co-writer Ben Charles Edwards about this movie.
HC: Where did the idea for Father of Flies come from?
BE: It came from my childhood experiences. When my good friend and journalist Dominic Wells was talking to me about my next project, he told me to draw on real life experiences. So, I did. My own experiences were neither as heightened nor as traumatic as they may...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Marcel Sarmiento co-writer and director of Faceless
Posted on Friday 15th October 2021
Showing at Grimmfest Online Edition is the incredibly inventive horror/sci-fi hybrid Faceless. Here, co-writer and director Marcel Sarmiento speaks about this superb movie.
HC: Have you always been a big horror movie fan?
MS: Definitely as a kid. My first movies made with my Betamax were all about scaring one other and how gross we could push makeup effects. We mostly strangled, stabbed, and threw each other off buildings. I think as I got older, I appreciated what you could do with horror more than horror for horror's sake. I love that you can make characters do things that in any other genre you couldn't make them do and still come out the other end liking them and routi...SHARE: READ MORE Tom Paton, director of G-LOC chats about his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman
Posted on Tuesday 14th September 2021
Ahead of the Horror Channel premiere of his sci-fi action thriller G-LOC, director Tom Paton reflects on why making movies is like solving a puzzle, his passion for survival stories and being compared to Roger Corman.
Horror Channel will be broadcasting the UK TV premiere of your Sci-fi adventure G-LOC. Excited or what?
It's honesty so strange to me every time Horror Channel debuts one of my movies. The channel has been such a big part of my life growing up and informing my taste in films, that it's always a "pinch myself moment" when I see something that I've made appear on their TV listing. G-LOC is much more of a SCI-FI adventure than any ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Alexis Kendra, the writer and producer of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Tuesday 15th June 2021
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of The Cleaning Lady on June 26, the film's star, writer and producer Alexis Kendra talks about playing a 'Goddess', coping with lockdown and why she can't watch horror films on her own.
HC: The Cleaning Lady is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?
AK: I love you guys. Always have, always will. I'm honoured.
HC: It's a very disturbing film, dealing with abuse, addiction and hidden rage, yet the characters are sympathetic and have real depth. It's horror with a twisted heart. As a co-writer, alongside your director Jon Knautz, what were the main challenges in getting the balance right between acting and writing? <...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Rabid
Posted on Tuesday 1st June 2021
Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of Rabid on June 12, Jen and Sylvia Soska reflect on the challenges of re-imagining Cronenberg's body horror classic, meeting the great man and their new monster movie, Bob.
HC: Rabid is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?
SS: The Horror Channel has supported us and our work since the beginning, so it's a special treat to have the newest film premiere there!
Js: We are so excited. Having Rabid on Horror Channel feels like coming home. They've been very kind to us. We are happy to have so many of our films on there.
HC: We all, of course, remember that Rabid was one of David Cronenberg's earli...SHARE: READ MORE 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 Interviews Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Saturday 11th December
Wednesday 15th December
Sunday 12th December