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An Interview with Peter Poulos, Co-Director of If I Can't Have You

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2022

Films directed by Peter Poulos on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie If If I Can't Have You - in a few words, what is it about?


If I Can't Have You is a 90's-esque thriller/comedy about a psychiatrist, Diane Doolittle, whoís history of stalkers and bad decisions finally catches up to her.


Now how did this project come together in the first place, and how did you get attached as director?


Tennille Tarasczkiewcz [Tennille Taraszkiewicz interview - click here] approached me about wanting to create a film in the vein of Fatal Attraction but flipping it on its head. Once Matt Santia [Matthew Santia interview - click here] came on as writer and me as DP it only made sense that we co-direct the film with our love for the genre.


Do talk about If I Can't Have You's approach to both horror and humour!


The horror took some notes from Scream, Fatal Attraction and other stalker/thriller films. We tried our best to evoke that via camera blocking and lighting.


As for the comedy aspects, that is all Matt Santiaís brilliant writing and the actors bringing it to life.


A few words about your directorial approach to your story at hand?


Because this was co-directed it was a bit different in terms of directing roles. Matt and I discussed this early on with me being DP that I would focus on the technical direction such as blocking and movement with talent. Matt would then work with the actors for performances as he himself is an actor, so it was a great balance between us both.


What can you tell us about If I Can't Have You co-director Matthew Santi [Matthew Santia interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?


Matthew Santia was an absolute pleasure to work with. We both have such similar taste in cinema and ideas behind what we want to see as filmmakers and movie-goers. Even though this was our first time really diving into something together it felt so natural and easy going. I couldnít have asked for a better co-director.


You of course also have to talk about working with the film's producer and star Tennille Taraszkiewicz [Tennille Taraszkiewicz interview - click here]?


Tennille is one of the best people to work with. She has been my filmmaking partner since 2017, and I could not imagine how my path as a filmmaker would be without her. She cares so much about this art and on top of making a good film she makes it a fun and collaborative process, and you donít always get that kind of luxury with all producers.


Do talk about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?


We did an extensive casting process and it was really one of the easiest films to cast that I have been involved with. We pretty much instantly knew after our first casting call who we wanted. Then during callbacks seeing these amazing actors read the lines just solidified everything.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


Fun is the best word to describe the set. Everyday there was little to no stress and everyone brought their A-game. This project was something that everyone just believed in and really wanted to be part of, and when you have that the set life canít get any better.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I am currently working on writing my first feature film that is a psychological horror that I plan to direct and DP by next year.


What got you into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I got into filmmaking in 2012 and started to take it seriously in 2018. I did not receive any formal training, I decided to invest in equipment and just start making things, and it's finally starting to pay off!


What can you tell us about your filmwork before If I Can't Have You?


If I Can't Have You was my first feature film in terms of directing and being DP. Prior it was lots of short films to help prepare me for this first feature.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


I am a very relaxed director, I donít like stress or putting people under stress. I am very particular especially with scripts I write and how it's delivered, but I love to give actors a chance to voice their opinion on things and make it as collaborative as I can without hindering the original intention.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


Stanley Kubrick, John Carpenter, Robert Eggers, Ari Aster, David Fincher - just to name a few.


Your favourite movies?


Too many to count but if I had to pick a few I would say Halloween, The Thing, Hereditary, The Witch, Zodiac, Scream and many more.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


I think being a filmmaker makes you realize every movie has a purpose and I hate talking down movies because a lot of work goes into them and it really is all about taste and what you enjoy.


Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else? is my personal website.

Here is the Facebook page for If I Can't Have You:


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Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


I think that covers it, thank you!


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD