Your new movie Kruel - in
a few words, what is it about?
There are several ways to answer this question: On the surface it’s about a
creepy neighborhood ice cream man, who terrorizes a young woman, but really
the movie is about how people respond when they make a mistake and violate the
trust of someone close to them.
I would not exactly call Kruel
a slasher movie, but It certainly contains quite a few genre elements - do
you at all agree, and if so, your thoughts on the genre?
agree that it does not fit in a single genre, I wanted to try to make an
“old school” horror movie but I find myself most inspired/intrigued by
thrillers and/or dramas that test a person’s true character.
sources of inspiration when writing Kruel?
would say Jaws and Halloween
were good baselines for what I had hoped to
accomplish with this movie. Both films had strong character development
which made the audience care more about the scary/violent elements of the
would you describe your directorial approach to your story at hand?
starters, have a solid story, but then bring in the right combination of
cast and crew to push the story to another level. My favorite part of this
whole process is collaborating with everyone to create something unique.
came up with Willie's creepy makeup, actually?
Colleen, also a producer, brought up the idea of having Willie in makeup.
I came up with the design hoping to have something that was not over the
top creepy but could enhance Willie’s unstable personality.
one key element of your movie is its small town setting - so what can you
tell us about your locations, and your overall thoughts about small town
That came about in large part to the
“neighborhood” feel of our current home town and everything that goes
with that (good and bad). Even though we are on the outskirts of a larger
city, there is a true sense of community. We had great support from many
of our friends that enabled us to make this picture.
Do talk about your key cast, and why exactly these
Well for starters, Kierney Nelson was flat out
amazing. Although she had limited experience, it was clear when she was on
the set, everyone responded with even better performances. JT Chinn was
absolutely brilliant as Willie Kool. Although I was
confident from the beginning that he could do the part, I think he
exceeded everyone’s expectations with his performance. Adam Vernier was
our most experienced cast member and it showed in his strong performance.
Seriously the rest of the cast were wonderful (and I don’t say that
lightly) I could literally name each one of them and explain how much they
contributed to the final product.
What can you tell us about the shoot as such,
and the on-set atmosphere?
The shoot was an amazing
experience. Due to budget constraints we put several of the crew members
up in our house during the shoot. Many of them were talented
musicians/artists and even after long days on set, we would sit around and
play music and sing songs. There was a true sense of family with almost
everyone involved in the production. No matter what happens with this
movie or our next productions those memories will always have a special
place in my heart.
A few words about audience
and critical reception of Kruel
Very interesting question: We have not had many
true reviews yet. The screening we had last summer was amazing. Although
in was a “homer” audience, I believe the overall response exceeded
expectations. The fact that 2 distribution companies liked the movie
enough to acquire the rights and put it out in the marketplace with no
“big” name actors attached I think says a lot. I did receive my first
negative review recently and it was interesting how that affected me: His
issues with the movie seemed to be in direct contrast with what many
others seemed to like most about the film. It helped me have a better
understanding of how diverse people’s taste can be and how it’s
important to stay focused on what you think is right and not try to please
Any future projects you'd like to share?
working on several projects right now. The most exciting is a project that
is being written by a very talented professional writer that I hope to
bring to the screen next year.
got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
I studied acting in college and
then had some great experience working with a Hollywood production company
as a young man. I ultimately got into the business world and raised a
family but when I had a chance to jump back into my true passion, I
jumped. It’s been an amazing ride ever since.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Kruel?
guess I basically answered that with the previous question. I did work on
a movie directed by my brother 20 years ago. It was a great experience at
the time and it made me more committed to one day returning to the
would you describe yourself as a director?
I hate to use
the term “old school” but I think that is probably the best way to
describe my vision and technique. I want the story and actors to be the
focus and my job is to ensure the actors are able to perform in the best,
most creative environment possible. I’ve learned a ton from this first
movie and I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned on future projects.
who inspire you?
Clint Eastwood, Michael Mann, John Ford
Your favourite movies?
A River Runs Through It,
Dances with Wolves,
When Harry met Sally.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Eraserhead (after going through the
experience of making a movie I realize how difficult it can be and I
really hate to slam any other project but this movie is that exact
opposite of what type of film I would want to be associated with), Cadyshack 2 (ditto).
Facebook, whatever else?
Working on this… I know this is
something necessary in today’s marketplace but I’m still a little
behind. We do have a Facebook page for Kruel:
We should have our website up soon, too.
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
you asked some great questions – the only thing else I would say is that
as much as I enjoyed the experience of making my first movie, I am even
more excited to see what you think!