Filmmaker Tom Byrne on Reanimated: What’s it like to crowdfund the end of the world?

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One of the first things we asked ourselves was can we do this? And more importantly, can we do this well? We looked at our resources, skill sets and experience and the answer was yes, we had a lot to work with. If we ended up cutting a few effects or shocks here and there the story was solid enough to shine through. Which is great, but not good enough.

Because then you have to always have to ask how can we make this better? Which is a much scarier question, because the answer is almost always about the budget. With more funds we could do everything we wanted to when we first talked about this freaky idea. Not that much more, comparatively speaking, but just enough for us to reach even further. We’ve also factored in a bit of contingency into the budget too, which allows us to focus on the terrors on screen, rather than the terrors of running out of money because something goes wrong.

So, this is a good one! Tom has been a friend of mine for a few years now, and he’s currently working on a short film – an adaptation of one of Lovecraft’s Herbert West stories. That, to me, sounded pretty interesting, so we had a bit of a chat about that – about why Lovecraft’s work still resonates today, the challenges of realising the infamous Miskatonic University in 2019, and, most interestingly of all, what crowdfunding a movie is really like on a practical level.

Hopefully Tom will be able to raise the funds to make Reanimatedif you’d like to donate to the kickstarter, here’s a link.

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Director Daniel Fitzsimmons on his new movie Native, his love of smart sci-fi, and more

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The characters in the film are from a society who are constantly connected to each all the time through telepathy. So, there’s no need for expression, there’s no need for art, there’s no need to make sense of the abstract, because there is no abstract, because everybody’s feeling what everyone else is feeling all the time anyway. In that sort of immediacy there’s a numbness, which I found quite an interesting subject to explore through, through these two characters.

Every so often, after I’ve done an interview, I realise there’s a question I should have asked but didn’t. In this case it was “do you think all art is an attempt to express an abstract concept?”

Of course, what I’m not going to do is edit the interview to make it seem like I said something I didn’t. Because that’d just be ridiculous. Wouldn’t it?

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Director Mark Gill on his Morrissey biopic England is Mine, his creative influences, and more

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We all present an idealised version of ourselves. It came from the fact that, I think I once heard Morrissey say, that he never performs on stage, he just is himself, and it’s the only time he can ever be himself. So, I wondered, does he mean that we never see Steven? I just feel that everybody presents a version of themselves, and I think with him it is just highlighted, because of his personality and then his status. 

I think, with anybody, anybody has that front. You see some of the most arrogant people you would probably meet in your life and probably underneath they are probably the most insecure. You often wonder, how do we all survive? We all try things out in our teens and I think he just found something that he was comfortable with and I think, his mum may have had something to do with that. She’s a very strong, perceptive woman.

I spoke with Mark Gill recently, about his new film England is Mine. I really enjoyed talking to this charming man.

Heaven knows, though, he… no, I don’t actually know enough Smiths songs to carry that on. Anyway, yeah, this was a neat interview. Probably the most notable question, mind you, is where I ask Mark why he thinks Morrissey is considered such a quintessential British figure – or, at least, quintessential to the point that’s how he’s described on his Wikipedia page – and Mark seems to think I’m asking why Morrissey is such a screaming racist these days. Mild awkwardness ensues.

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Doug Liman on his latest movie The Wall, growing as a filmmaker, and more

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It was a chance to grow as a filmmaker. I make… most of my movies are completely different than anything I’ve ever done before. In this case, this was going to be one of the biggest challenges of my career, because I do have a short attention span and one of the ways in which I have consistently dealt with it is by having a lot of spectacle, and a lot of characters, and a lot of locations, and a lot of different moving parts. You never get settled into any one thing for too long. This was going to push me to grow as a filmmaker, and then to maybe not use some of the ‘copouts’ I’ve used previously in my career.

My interview with Doug Liman, about his filmmaking career. We also spoke about the upcoming Chaos Walking movie that he’s working on.

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Fraser Coull on Cops and Monsters, the difficulties of indie filmmaking, and more

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Whether it’s the availability of an actor, or a location falls through, and scheduling around 20-30 people around weekends to make sure you get everything shot, [there are always some challenges]. You’re always waiting on the crowdfunding money to come in so you can pay for things and make sure the cast and crew get paid for their work. Nothing runs to plan 100% of the time. But we’re professional, we keep our heads down and work our way out of any problems we face. Hopefully by the time the final episode goes out, people won’t notice any problems we had.

Here’s my chat with Fraser Coull about Cops and Monsters – now on Amazon Prime! Fraser’s a pretty nice dude, and his enthusiasm for Cops and Monsters really leaps off the screen whenever he talks about it.

This piece is definitely worth a read for any hopeful filmmakers out there; I’ve learned a thing or two from it myself, stuff which I’ll keep in mind when I start working on some films myself.

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Greg McLean on his new film Jungle, working with Daniel Radcliffe and more

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The true story really does lend itself to a movie; we didn’t have to do a lot to make it into an action adventure thriller. It already had those elements in it. When the story really happened to Yossii, he spoke about how he went down and wrote the story, he wrote the book, and it was almost like a confession. I think he was trying to keep together what really happened there with his friendship group.

The book has this very immediate character arc, which translated really well to a screenplay. So, when I came onto the project, we already had a script but what I try to do was bring it back to the book, to be as accurate to the true story. The book is very simple, very thought out – a very compelling and emotional read. That was why I wanted to tell it as true as possible.

Here’s my recent interview with Greg McLean about his film Jungle.

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Kenny Ortega on his latest movie, Disney′s Descendants 2

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I love the singing. I love the dancing. I love the good humour. I love the production value and all of that is great, and clearly I want to entertain, but I also have the opportunity to inspire, to get people to have conversations, and the beautiful thing is that my life has been filled with so many thank yous.

And perhaps it’s not me that should be getting all these thanks, but kids have said to me for years and years and years and years ‘thank you. You are such an enormous part of my childhood, and you really helped. These movies really guided me. They gave me courage. They gave me confidence. They made me take chances that otherwise I might now have. They made me see the world differently. They made me question myself.’

This is a version of my interview with Kenny Ortega about Descendants 2; we spoke only very briefly about High School Musical, but the main thrust – and most important part – of the interview is Descendants 2. Fun fact: Descendants 2 is the biggest Disney Channel Original Movie ever, and features several up-and-coming actors who are already stars in their own right, with huge fanbases. Hmmph.

Hopefully, the original interview – fully intact and uncompromised – will be made available at some stage. (To be honest, I’ll probably just put it online myself eventually.)

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Maysaloun Hamoud on her new movie Bar Bahar/In Between, Palestinian cinema, and more

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I just think that I was talking about the conservative people all over the world. This story is particular, for sure, as a Palestinian woman, but at the same they are so universal. I think all women all over the world, and not just the women; the men that you see in the movies are around us, all over the world. Just a difference of faces and names, I can see, but these dilemmas and these conflicts, you can find the everywhere. In London, in Britain, everywhere in Europe, everywhere in the States, everywhere in Latin America and the Far East, anywhere you want. Because this is how humanity behaves through the world and discrimination against women is everywhere.

An interview I’m particularly proud of – here’s my chat with Maysaloun Hamoud, who directed Bar Bahar, or In Between.

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Bernard Zeiger and Casey Stein, the team behind Otis, on interactive drama, new modes of storytelling and more

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Our development on this short began about four years ago when we stumbled on an article about a boxer in the American Rust Belt whose life turned to crime and eventually caught up with him. We decided to try to write his story as a feature-length film. When we finished it, we hated it. There were so many people playing crucial roles in the way this man’s life turned out who were not getting the attention they needed to tell the full story. After struggling with it for a while, we decided we wanted to get a more holistic view of the events by telling the experiences of multiple characters – all at once.

Recently did an interview with the team behind an interesting new project!

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John Madden on Miss Sloane, being a feminist filmmaker, and more

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I’d certainly consider myself a filmmaker who specialises in stories about women, I’ve done a lot of them. I’ve told a lot of stories about women who are in positions of power, and I think that’s fascinating. To me, that gives you the whole package really, because women are just simply more interesting than men anyway, simply because of the qualities they possess, that the gender possess, in my view anyway.

You’re always going to have something – if you have a powerful male character, you’re going to be struggling to find some element of vulnerability. If it is there, it’s usually connected to his love for a good woman; with women, you get all of that rolled up into one. You get humanity, you get sexuality, you get power, you get judgement, you get intelligence – you get everything, without the more preposterous aspects of male supremacy.

I think this is one of the best interviews I’ve ever done, actually – John (the photo of whom above was taken by Kerry Hayes) was a great guy to talk to, and a really interesting conversationalist.

(In fact, I was so pleased with this interview, I put it into my portfolio, which you can check out here.)

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