Your new movie Making
Faces - in a few words, what is it about?
is a drama/horror film that follows a young lady named Cassie who,
as she is finding her place in this world, something is trying to find its
way into hers.
were your sources of inspiration when writing Making
drew inspiration from Are You Afraid of the Dark's sense of telling spooky
parables mixed in with my interest of continually exploring into
A few words about the "ghost
photographs" in your movie, and how were they achieved, and how did
you come up with the idea for them?
aesthetic came from my surreal background where instead of illustrating
ghosts typically as pale skin, dark rings under the eyes, and long black
hair... I wanted to illustrate them more-so they were entities manifested
from a nightmare; lost souls room. Jacob's Ladder and David
Lynch films were building blocks.
were achieved practically within camera by setting the shutter speed down
to 1/10th. What happens when a subject moves is the light hits the sensor
in such a way that it creates a trail effect. The actors and I had a good
laugh because the process in creating the spooky faces is actually very
silly as they are asked to wave their head and change emotions without
prejudice. I told some of them for them to express every face we make when
we step on a Lego brick - shock, pain, despair, agony haha!
Do talk about your
movie's approach to horror for a bit!
film certainly values in sinking in a somber, dreadful tone that slowly
creeps up on you that takes an unassuming route into its third act. Even
once the photos are introduced nothing spells out what to be scared of or
what it may mean for the story, yet the audience is strung to be 'ahead' of
the story. By the time we get to 'the reveal', Cassie's reaction reveals
she knows something more than us, and suddenly we are 'a step behind of'
what horror she is about to reveal to us. A dance of suspense terror more
rooted in character development than physiological pop-up scares.
Faces, you have limited yourself to only very few locations and
just one on-screen actress who's mostly on the phone - so what were your
tactics to keep things interesting throughout?
I tend to go the one-actor show and play out premises trapped in their POV
as the scenario unfolds. It's a certain direction, instead of taking the
third-person 'God POV' approach, that brings its own opportunities, when
done effectively, to have the audience become an active participant in
real-time. That immediacy of gaining details and information can strike
its own kind of cord with viewers to live out a situation rather than
you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
compelled to integrate a sociological or emotional theme within the horror
that both become symbolic of the two. It may take a second viewing for
many because the first run through is the tier where we are emoting and
trying to piece it together while I purposely withhold details and slowly
feed the viewer until, what I hope, the audience shares with the
protagonist a spooky a-ha moment. In addition the second viewing, now
beginning to understand the context and how every detail is imperative to
the plot, especially in Making
Faces, it can bring a second scenario of
talk about Making Faces'
cast, and why exactly these people?
in May 2019, I screened Willow Mcgregor from our local community online hub and
tuned in we were kindred spirits with what we value with cinema and craft.
In fact to further spell out how kindred: more times than not when I’m
screening actresses, I’ve gotten them to approach Angelina Jolie’s Girl, Interrupted break down monologue because it’s a challenging
monologue that, for me, can show where someone is. In her case though, I
decided to leave it open-ended for her to initiate whichever monologue she
wished to do, and without me being first to recommend one, she already
came out of the gate with ‘that’ monologue! Didn’t take long via
inbox to tune in that she has a great understanding for my material and is
pure craft. I wrote the role of Mackenzie in our upcoming feature We
Are The Missing with her in mind, which we've been winning the footage
towards this month. Our collaboration late last year with Making
Faces sealed the deal what I intuitively banked on, that we’d work
totally fine together.
Myself I produce films in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
whereas Erin Kiniry (Lea Driver) resides in the US. We e-connected through
osmosis: filmmaker Mitchell Slan came through 15 Second Horror Film
Challenge’s inaugural 2015 season, and then two years later he developed
the acclaimed Balloon which headlined Erin, whose performance blew
me away. It’s been a privilege to collaborate with her towards projects
since then. In 2017 our 15 second horror film Making Faces (baring
the same name as our 2019 short, but it’s a different story) ranked 19th
place out of 300+ entries. It’s a testament when I can digitally
collaborate with international talent such as herself where despite our
collaboration is through text, we’re able to grow an understanding,
bounce takes back and forth, and hone in on what the story calls for. I
wrote the role of ‘Lea Driver’ with her in mind because not only would
Lea’s sweet, warm aura play into her hand, but she’s got the uncommon
ability to lift a character off of the page that the audience won’t have
a face to put to the voice.
Gabrielle Banville headlined our 2018 short
film The Becky Carmichael Fan Club, which she did outstanding work
for and it was such a great experience to tackle what was, to date, my
most vulnerable piece in terms of doubling down on such a focused
characterization found in Becky. Gabrielle joining our film circles and
becoming part of one of our flagship films was lighting captured in a
bottle because she almost flew under my radar within the Ottawa scene and
her time in Ottawa that summer was limited, but her deep grasp of the
character and technical know-how brought a lot to the table. With Making
Faces, I wanted to make the twist ending become a double
entendre where: (1) it’s scary to realize the cycle continues for
another customer who was in Cassie’s shoes and (2) if you’re aware of
our film universe canon you’ll recognize it’s ‘Becky’ from our
2018 film who is about to face an untimely fate.
Our ghosts Amber Kirby,
Arlana Gillis, Holly Bridges, Tristan Mcintosh, and Tyler Pope was a mix
of my passion for testing out folks I haven’t previously collaborated
with face-to-face and pulling in folks who have contributed to our past
work. Amber, Arlana, and Holly were ice breakers— very easy to work with
and I’ve since aligned them with larger, speaking roles towards our next
project We Are The Missing. Our collaborations started as far back
as 2017 when he contributed voice over work towards Something Scary,
but our next level work together was Gabrielle’s co-pilot found in Jesse
Carmichael in The Becky Carmichael Fan Club. Was very happy with his
work and our overall fellowship that when I was coming back with Making
Faces after almost a year long hiatus, I could depend on Tristan to be
that rock. Our next stop is he’s got a hearty speaking role in our next
project. Tyler also has been going through the trenches where he’s
contributed voiceover work towards We Are The Missing during its
first phase earlier last year. That mixed with his healthy reputation with
our local film scene compelled me to finally formally work with him. Him
and Tristan were great company after we shot their work towards Making
Faces, and I look forward to pulling Tyler in with more on-camera
speaking roles in the future.
A few words about
the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
mix of light-hearted and focused guidance from either finding the tone of
each new set-up and frame by frame storyboards.
$64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Making
far it's been well received!
Any future projects you'd like to
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
currently 80% completed filming my debut feature We Are The
Missing, which is a drama/horror mockumentary following the Madisons'
desperate search for their daughter.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
just wanted to thank you for your continued support and for providing this
platform since we joined the international film scene back with Beauty
Sleep in 2013! It's always been a light for us.
for the interview!