Your new movie Social
Distance - in a few words, what is it about?
Distance is the story of six people working from home during the 2020
COVID pandemic. They work for a cruise line and they are attempting to
save the company from a public relations nightmare after passengers having
been quarantined and become sick. Over the course of the story, each of
the characters has to deal with issues of isolation including sickness,
jealousy, depression, and addiction. This is an intense thriller that
takes some surprising turns into a world of accusations and conspiracies.
Distance has been inspired by the current pandemic - but did you
have the idea for the film only after the widespread outbreak, or has it
simmered within you for years and you've only now figured it the right
time to make the movie?
Distance is entirely a child of its time. When the world shut down and
California declared its shelter-at-home orders, the entertainment industry
came to a halt. Everything was put on hold. We had another project (Amber Road)
getting started, and had to hit the brakes on it
completely. I began reaching out to various actors, starting with Jed
Rowen [Jed Rowen interview -
click here], who plays Stork, to see who would be interested in creating a
project from afar.
Other sources of inspiration
when writing Social
actors themselves were a huge inspiration for the screenplay. As I started
to conceive the story and what direction it might go, I spoke with each
actor individually to consider sets, props, resources and character traits
that could be incorporated into the story based on what they were
interested in and what they had access to.
Of all the protagonists of
Distance, who could you identify with the most, and why?
the filmmaker, I probably most closely identify with the antagonist, the
all seeing eye of Gil Oldman jr! I had to be very creative in how
this movie was put together, and ultimately the story is told from his
perspective, his computer screen, his software. I had to envision
creative ways for Oldman to monitor the other characters, so it was
important to identify with him.
would you describe Social
Distance's approach to the conspiracy thriller genre?
lot of research went into the different conspiracies that were and are out
there about government involvement in coverups and secret ops more so than
COVID itself. I wanted this to be an objective look the conspiracy
theories and consider the possibility of there being something bigger than
people imagine, but at the same time, the story doesn’t take sides. It
doesn’t say one perspective is right or wrong, and it doesn’t fall on
the side of conspiracies one way or the other but presents the
possibilities. There are implications of something much larger at work in
the story, but the endgame is left open for interpretation.
talk about Social
Distance's cast, and why exactly these people?
this was a very different approach to filmmaking, I wanted to work with
people with whom I was already familiar with. And those who I had not worked
with before, I wanted to make sure I could get to know them to some
degree. The script and characters were written for each specific actor in
you've had your cast shoot themselves in their own homes due to lockdown
restrictions - so how did you actually manage to "direct" them,
and what are the challenges but maybe also advantages filming this way?
the movie most often looks like a Zoom conference, it was not shot as
such. Each actor set up a camera directly in front of them, then I
directed them via video conferencing. We recorded each actor’s part
individually, one at a time. All the elements were then put together in
post-production to give the movie its own unique look.
can you tell us about the shoot as such?
it may not look like it, which is good, this movie is a visual effects
movie. Every scene in this movie is a visual effect.
can tell us about audience and critical reception of Social
far the critical reception has been very good as has the majority of the
audience reception (I’m sure I will now jinx this). I’m happy when
people get excited about a movie and want to watch it! What has surprised
me is how people who haven’t seen the movie have responded to trailers
and advertising. There seems to be large percentages of people who
automatically assume this movie is part of a “plandemic” to push
forward the COVID vaccine to control them. Then there’s another group
who seem to view it as just the opposite, feeding into the pandemic and
the fear. The reality is, it does neither. The creation of Social
Distance was a response to the circumstance. Those who have watched the
movie seem to understand as much upon viewing it.
Should the pandemic go on, and it
indeed might for a bit, could you ever be persuaded to shoot another movie
the way you shot Social
direct tie-in is already written and in the works! So, yes.
Any other future projects you'd like to share?
next project is called The Electric Man, which we have already shot a
few days on, but are having to produce it safely and sanely around
stay-at-home orders. We’ve shot a few scenes with Eric Roberts and Tom
Sizemore and look forward to start shooting again in a few weeks. Then
we’ll look toward getting back into production with Amber Road
with Jeffrey Combs currently attached.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
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The links below
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movie's website, social media, whatever else?
Twitter, Instagram: @koaalohamedia
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Distance is now available on VOD, Blu-Ray, and DVD. Where/how to watch
can be found on the website at
for the interview!
so much, Michael. I truly appreciate the opportunity to speak with and
share this project.