Back: Fleur-de-Lys, the Canadian, Nordik
Front: 8 Ball, Black Terror
You are currently in the middle of releasing your webseries Heroes of
the North. In a few words, what is it about?
It is a transmedia experiments that uses different mediums to tell a complex
story: webisodes, a novella, comic books, video games, facebook pages
and other websites directly related to the HOTN-universe.
A few words about your lead characters?
For the first season, we have five main hero characters we are
following: The Canadian, the de facto leader and a man who believes in his
mission, Nordik, a superhero assigned to the Arctic, who loves solitude,
is uncomfortable in the big city but follows orders, 8 Ball, an
accomplished martial arts expert and pool player with an off-beat attitude
and vigilante yearnings, Black Terror, a super strong animal of a man,
hard to control, harder to predict, and Fleur-de-Lys, the only officially
sanctioned provincial superhero that is independent of the federally
appointed other heroes.
Quite obviously, your series was
inspired by superhero-comics. Is this a genre you are also fond of in your
I love comics. Been reading them most
of my life.
Your favourite superhero comicbooks and
I am more of a Marvel fan, although I do read some
indie books. I like The
Punisher, Deadpool, She-Hulk, Spider-Man,
Daredevil and Howard the Duck! Movie wise, I really enjoyed
Batman Begins, the first
Iron Man, Spider-Man
2, and Kick Ass!
Other inspirations for the series?
politics and History, with a healthy dose of artistic license in regards
to both. :-)
Edith Labelle as Fleur-de-Lys
A few words
about your cast and crew?
We are a very small crew - a number that varies between two and ten at
best on the big days. Very dedicated, passionate people, which
definitely helps get things done quickly, efficiently and as best as
humanly possible considering our limited means. Our cast is not
only full of beautiful people, they are also dedicated and passionate
about the project. It was a tremendously fun group to work with!
is an (online-)comicbook, Canadian Shield, tied in with the first
episode of Heroes of the North. A few words about the comic and its
writers and artist?
Every five episodes of video will come
with a comic book. There is another comic book out with the Black
Terror: Origins Episode. All the comics are written by Yann &
Michel Brouillette, two brothers who are also writers on the webisodes and
huge comic book fans. The Heroes of the North comics are their first
comic book work but they are doing a nice job if I may say so myself.
The illustrator and colorist is Marcus Smith, an artist that also
worked on the Halloweeen comic book adaptations amongst other things and
Keiren T. Smith does the lettering. Keiren is the wife of Canadian
artist and writer Ty Templeton and does a lot of work, for DC amongst
others, as a colourist and letterer.
Vanessa Blouin as Nordik
The series' website?
Let's leave the present behind for the moment and head
forward into your past: What got you into filmmaking in the first place?
Boy! Hard question. I always loved movies. Been trying
to make films since I was 8 years old. Finally managed to pull it
off when I was around 12. Never stopped since.
can you tell us about your debut feature Lignes de Vie from 1992?
was self-financed and shot in French for about $50,000. It was the
story of a Montreal maverick policeman uncovering corruption within the
police, city official and religious authority and the difficulties he
encountered trying to expose the mess. It had limited appeal because
of the language.
After Lignes de Vie, you seem to have taken quite a
long time off from filmmaking. Why, and what can you tell us about your
comeback as filmmaker?
After Lignes de Vie, I started doing lots of music videos, which led to meeting
with real producers which led to a long and lengthy development phase on various projects, not a single one of
which ever got made... I did not stop shooting - I shot over 50
shorts, most of them self financed during that period, but no features
because I was trying to get them made the normal way - and of
course, nothing came out of it.
Your horror movie Evil Breed:
The Legend of Samhain had a rather unfortunate history, and as far as
I know, you are not too happy with the results. Would you like to
elaborate on this?
project had a troubled history from day one, with too many cooks involved,
and ended up being some sort of tax credit scam that benefited only the
producer, leaving all the others to hold the bag. I was hired to do
the goriest film possible and in the end, they ended up cutting most of it
for the release and it was so poorly done that the film barely makes any
sense at all. After waiting almost 10 years to get my first feature
made the normal way, let's just say that it was quite a
disappointing experience to say the least!
What can you tell us about theRecon-series?
the disaster that was Evil Breed, I decided that would do my films, my
way, and produce them by hook or by crook. We initially shot half an
hour of what would become Recon 2020 with $5000 to illustrate what we
could do with an action sci-fi with virtually no money in the hopes to
sell the concept as a TV series to Space Channel in Canada (equivalent of
SyFy) but it never panned out. It caught the interest of Critical
Mass, who gave us $45K to take what we had shot and complete it as a
feature. It sold well internationally, especially in Asia, so we
ended up producing three of them for the DVD market.
being science fiction/action flicks, the Recon-movies seem to
demand quite some funding, yet you always work on rather low budgets. How
do you manage?
Over the years, we
developed quite a few tricks to make things look bigger than they are.
We also prep a lot - that is the only true luxury of indie
filmmakers: Time. So we always end up with something that looks much
more expensive than what it really costs. And I also do a lot of the
jobs myself so I cut a lot of expensive crew members off my payroll!
A few words about your revenge flick Deaden?
was our answer to the Punisher movie with Thomas Jane. I was so mad
after watching that stupidly lame movie, I thought we should do our own
version of The
Punisher. Since it made no sense for various legal
reasons, we decided to do our own revenge flick. It is to this date
my most critically acclaimed film yet the one that generated the least
money. At least we got better reviews than all three Punisher films
far as I know you are currently in the pre-prodduction phase of you next
movie Death Row? Anything you can already tell us about that one?
It is a zombie flick set in a prison with a very cool twist towards the
end and hilarious gore gags. I love gore gags.
other films I have forgotten to mention you'd like to talk about, any
other future projects?
I am re-teaming with John Fallon for
another action flick called Trigger about an Irish mob assassin that has
to turn against his own boss when he gets crossed doing a job. A lot
of people wanted us to do a sequel to Deaden (impossible! The dude
is dead) or a prequel, which we thought quite a bit about, but we decided
to do something brand new instead.
Actor John Fallon seems to be in
pretty much all of your more recent productions, sometimes also in a
writing capacity. What can you tell us about him?
John is a lifelong film buff and trained actor who became a movie
critic by ricochet. He has a fresh writing style and a charismatic
presence on screen. We enjoy working together quite a lot. So
words about your production company Movie Seals, and how did it
come into being? And could you explain your motto "Making Films We'd
like to See" (which might be a stupid question)?
mentioned above, it got created out of frustration - I needed a
corporation to be able to produce films properly and legally. So we
got one. There was really nothing very special about that. And
yeah, we set out to do movies we would like to see. I love B movies
and odd films. For example, I am very fond of the Canadian/German TV
series Lexx - oddball sci-fi but very cool - not perfect by any stretch of
the imagination but it tries hard and it is fun. I feel a lot of
what we get to watch these days is predigested and packaged. I miss
the free-for-all of the 80's where there was a multitude of genres and
experiments within those. Now they serve us sequels, prequels,
rehash, reimaginings. It's a product first and foremost
now, and it has lost its soul as a populist art form. I am sick of
that. Our movies are sometimes derivative, but nobody can deny that
they are made with lots of fun an passion and it shows in the film.
of "Films We'd Like to See": Your favourite movies?
have a huge fondness for almost anything made by Paul Veroheven. My
favourites are: Robocop, Total Recall, Starship
Troopers, of course, and
Basic Instinct. Love some of Michael Bay's effort, especially The
Rock and The Island. Armaggedon is a guilty pleasure. Stupid
movie but so stylish - the man is on top of his art in that film - I just
wish he had a better script. The first two Aliens. I like
Rodriguez as well, specifically Planet
Terror, From Dusk Till
Dawn, and Machete. Early Joe Dante stuff, especially Gremlins. Early
John Carpenter (Big Trouble in Little China, They
Live), with the
exception of Halloween - never got the fascination for that movie.
Crank movies by Neveldine/Taylor. David Fincher, especially The
Game, Fight Club and Seven. Die Hard. Early Sam Raimi
Dead trilogy), The westerns of Sergio Leone, almost anything directed by
Clint Eastwood, Braveheart, early John Woo.
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of course, films you really deplored?
The Punisher by
Jonathan Hensleigh - I don't understand why they can't make that movie
right. Of all the Marvel characters, it should be the easiest to
adapt to the screen, yet somehow they always screw it up! I point
this one out more than the other fiascos because I had such high hopes for
that film when I saw the teaser for it. But overall, I hate
disparaging movies. It takes so much efforts and hard work to get
one made, even a bad one. There is always a redeeming element in a
film. Even that version of the Punisher had a few good moments in
When it comes to
filmmaking, you've pretty much done it all: producing, directing,
screenwriting and editing. What do you enjoy the most, what could you do
As you get older, you wish your workload was
smaller but the trend is going towards doing more with less. Every year it
gets worse. I think I like editing the most. Producing is hard -
your main job is to deal with problems - it makes it not a very pleasant
Writers and directors who have influenced you
in whatever way?
Stephen King - I love is writing style. Simple and to the point,
yet gripping. Paul Veroheven - love his satirical viewpoint and
his grandiloquent depiction of physical violence. Sam Raimi for
his physical humour. Robert Rodriguez, for his DIY mentality.
Michael Bay for his visual qualities.
Your website, Facebook, MySpace,
Anything else you are dying to mention
and I have merely forgotten to ask?
To my knowledge, I
think I am the only director to make cameos in his films on fire. I
did it on Recon 2020 and again in Heroes of the North. It is my
third outing as a burning man. I enjoy it tremendously.
Thanks for the