Your new movie Athas - in
a few words, what is it about?
is a short film (32 min) that focuses on a struggling writer who goes
to a quiet inn on a river in order to write. While there he slowly
finds himself trapped inside the inn with a woman who oversees him and
repeatedly urges him to finish his story.
What were your sources of inspiration when writing
main inspiration for the movie came from the struggles I went through
making my previous film Portal
Man. I love Portal
Man, but the movie
was a nightmare to make and I was feeling completely burnt out on pursuing creative
endeavors after making it. This movie was largely a reflection
on that - particularly how creativity is something we need but also
something that can eat us alive.
talk about your movie's approach to horror for a bit!
was mainly going for a mix of slow burn, surrealist atmosphere and having
the movie reflect the deteriorating mental state of the main character.
All of my previous movies have been a bit over-the-top as well, lol, so I
wanted to try doing something more subtle this time.
can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at
was trying to consciously evoke a 70s sort of feel to the shots this time
- for instance doing a lot of stuff with zooms in order to emphasize
certain moments. That also played out in the music for certain
You also play the lead in Athas
- so do talk about your character for a bit, and have you written him with
yourself in mind from the get-go?
did write myself in mind for the character from the get-go. A lot of
the movie was me reflecting on difficulties I was having at the time so it
seemed appropriate, lol.
What did you draw upon
to bring your character to life, and to what extent could you actually
identify with him?
main thing I drew upon was my feelings towards the frustrations that come
with the act of creating things. You get into it thinking it's all
fun and games but it's really just work work work - and mostly dull or
frustrating work that drags on for a long time, lol. But at the same
time I need it so I'm conflicted. I tried to portray this struggle
with the character.
What can you tell us about your
co-star Leslie Dame, and what made her perfect for the role?
had very briefly worked with Leslie before on a movie I made called Eddie
Glum (she was literally in 1 shot of the movie). I really enjoyed
the day I spent filming with her and I felt she would be great for the
role. She was incredible to work with and ended up taking the
character in a completely different (and much much better) direction than
I originally intended.
enjoyed working with her so much that I actually wrote a role for her in a
feature film that we completed shooting this summer (and I'm in the
process of editing right now).
also have to talk about your location of course, and how did you find it,
and what was it like filming there?
Yes! That location is actually a summer home that my family owns which my
grandfather bought in the 60s. I spent my summers as a kid there and
the place always freaked me out. I've wanted to film horror stuff
there for a while and this was my chance. All of the decorations
that were on the walls are things my eccentric father has added over the
years, so there was a lot to work with in terms of making the place look
What can you tell us
about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was great! There were only three people on the shoot the entire
time: Me, Leslie and our producer/cinematographer Mickey O'Hagan. We
only filmed for 2 days and everything went really smoothly and we all
became very good friends afterwards. There was a lot of firsts for
us too, as this was my first time *really* working with either Leslie or
Mickey and this was Leslie's 1st *real* film project (she's been a popular
theater actress in the Adirondacks for years).
O'Hagan did a really amazing job as a cinematographer as well.
Mickey is actually an incredible actress - (she's been in a bunch of
famous stuff including the movies Tangerine, Destroyer, and the TV shows
Homeland and I Am The Night) - and this was her first time ever doing
behind the camera work. She was really nervous at first but within
an hour she was running the camera and setting up lights like it was 2nd
nature! The movie would not look as good as it does if it wasn't for
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Athas?
move just got released on Amazon so we don't really know yet! We did
screen at the Chain Film Festival and the Newark Film Festival
in Aug/Sept and it was really well received by the audiences there. I'm
hoping the general public is able to find it now!
future projects you'd like to share?
As I said, me and Leslie have finished filming a feature film called
Circle. I'm editing it right now and hopefully we will
have it out around this time next year.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
(Instagram and Twitter)
else you're dying to mention and I have just forgotten to ask?
for the interview!