Your new movie Exile
(formerly The Sunderland Experiment)
a few words, what is it about?
an alien saves his life, a rebellious teenager tries to become a part of the
strange society that killed his mother.
How did the project fall together in the first place?
wanted to get something made right away after film school, while contacts
were still fresh and people hadn't yet jumped into full time work. Sean
spent the previous semester working on the script in writing classes at
school, bouncing off ideas with Adam along the way, seeing what seemed
possible, what didn't, and getting feedback.
what were your inspirations for writing Exile?
was the biggie. You see lots of alien invasion movies but they're usually
just xenocide films, alien exterminators come to kill us in nasty ways
with our planet's resources being the end goal. But you see much more
complicated and stranger things in real life: Christopher Columbus,
old-school Catholicism, etc. Takeovers of populations, culture clashes,
forced ideologies and religion. It's a different look at the traditional
alien invasion scenario.
can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand, and
what was your collaboration like? And how did you first meet, even?
right out of film school with very limited resources we knew we had to
make the best of everything we had. So with that lack of resources we had
to get very creative with our approaches to the story, characters, and
setting. So the general approach was based around taking everything we
already had and making it as horrific as possible.
for our first meeting, it was in a local art class. We both realized we
were into similar subjects of the weird and grotesque and hit it off.
Collaboration was great, and we had each other to fall back on when things
went south. There were disagreements but also a lot of magical things that
wouldn't have been possible without both of us at the helm.
much of a strain was it to create what I'd call a parallel world on a
rather tight budget?
challenging. We had a lot of grand ideas (alien life forms, scifi-tech,
body horror) that we realized wouldn't be possible to make happen like
we'd originally thought, so some of the crazier stuff ended up being a
slight step down from our original conceptions. At the same time, we were
smart enough to get a lot of things working for the movie with no budget
thanks to us already living in a desert, naturally post-apocalyptic
landscape, and having access to plenty of debris-filled locations.
Maybe connected to the last
question, what can you tell us about your locations, and how did you find
lot of what we shot were in our property or nearby. We grew up in the
desert and there are plenty of places to shoot where people are willing to
let you film for very cheap.
Do talk about your key cast, and why exactly these
we cast in the film was someone we worked with before, a close friend, or
otherwise closely connected with us. We had both worked with Dylan O'Brien
in the past and trusted his strengths as an actor and willingness to
subject himself to horrible things. Katie Reed (Cassie), while her biggest
strengths are in comedy, we knew she loved taking
to weird places and making bold choices. Matt Reed (Krab) is a
fellow filmmaker who's in a class all himself. In general our casting
revolved around who we knew and trusted to do some really weird things
with us in the middle of the desert.
You of course also have to talk about your
monster, "the Angel", for a bit, and how was it achieved?
always been a big fan of Pumpkinhead and wanted to do something similar
but more Lovecraftian. One of our favorite creatures from the Cthulhu
mythos has always been the Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath. There is
something nice about creatures that aren't all that big but still big
enough to be threatening. Usually you see things that are small,
human-sized, or King Kong sized. We really wanted to do something
different, threatening but not necessarily unkillable.
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
toughest part about the shoot was the heat. A lot of it was in exterior
daylight, which meant shooting in the desert in the middle of summer. The
heat was miserable and peaked around 120 for a few of the days. The night
scenes were more relaxed and chill.
was also very much a home movie since we were both shooting where we grew
up. Parents of crew helped out a lot as far as catering and housing and
most everyone was already friends from film school so it was a pretty
friendly vibe as far as on-set atmosphere. We
did everything we could to make sure everyone was comfortable and always
tried to keep things fun. In that kind of heat with no creature comforts
and no money the least we could do was try to keep people happy.
few words about the critical and audience reception of Exile
far reception has been very positive. We made it into a few festivals.
Some notables of this would be us winning Audience Choice at the
H.P.Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland 2014. It was the first time in the
festival's history the award went to a feature film rather than a short. We
also won Best Feature at the Buried Alive Film Festival, another big
honor for us.
looks like we succeeded in creating something very different for people
who are tired of the same alien invasion/cult horror movies and we're very
happy about that. We were definitely catering to Lovecraft fans, many of
which are loving the film. We don't want to make the same movies you've
seen before, we want to show you things you won't see anywhere else.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
is finishing up a new comedy short about cat breeding starring Exile
actors Dennice Cisneros (voice of the Angel) and Justin Little (Mr.
Frown). Expect it in festivals later this year.
is working on going into production on his latest script for Old
Baby this year. A highly stylized mockumentary that unearths some
grotesque truths about a small town in New Mexico and its disturbing
local legend/folk hero “Old Baby”. Look for a crowdfunding campaign
got you into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
both grew up making our own shorts and showing them to friends then
decided to take things seriously and go to film school.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Exile?
I did a lot of comedy shorts prior to Exile. When I got to film school,
the focus became more about dealing with PTSD sexual trauma, repression,
and unrequited love.
All this gelled together into Exile.
After I made my first film and realized at its screening that I had
made a horrible mistake and had no interest in making anything remotely
conventional I set out to make movies that I would want to watch.
Most of the films I made prior to Exile
are hard to follow,
atmospherically driven showcases of bizarre and uncomfortable subject
2012 we made a short written by Sean and directed by Adam titled Sandland:
Summer’s Kiss about an American family struggling with existence. It was
made with poorly constructed puppets in sets built largely from things
found in dumpsters.
would you describe yourselves as directors?
like making people uncomfortable.
who inspire you?
Ingmar Bergman, David Cronenberg, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Guillermo del Toro.
I’d add to Sean’s list John Waters and Harmony Korine.
Your favourite movies?
Sean: Cure, La Strada, On the Silver Globe,
Adam: Gummo, Robocop, Cabin in the Woods.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I know it probably goes against some filmmaker code but if I ever have to
watch 8 ½ again I… I can’t watch that movie again.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?