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An Interview with Andy Collier, Co-Director of Charismata

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2017

Films directed by Andy Collier on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Charismata - in a few words, what is it about?


A police detective's sanity begins to unravel as she investigates a series of brutal satanic murders. Or it could be about institutional misogyny. Or maybe a bit about corporate greed and how "the 1%" treat the rest of society as assets rather than people, to be traded in the next big deal.


What were your sources of inspiration when writing Charismata?


The plot was lifted from Angel Heart ... Tor pitched it as "a detective is investigating a series of occult killings, but the twist is that the killer really does have supernatural abilities". The story, the main character's personal journey, was kind of an amalgamation of the three main characters in Polanski's apartment trilogy. We thought it would be fun to make the main character this interesting sensitive person who obviously doesn't fit in but tries very hard to gain acceptance.


To what extent can you actually identify with Charismata's lead character Rebecca Faraway - or her male partner Eli Smith or the film's villain Michael Sweet for that matter?


Hmmm, good question. I think they are all more interesting than I am. Michael is an utter sociopath who is super confident in his position and has zero empathy for anybody. He's a cool super villain in a way. It would be fun to be him but I would make a rubbish super villain. Eli has "issues" and tries to cover them up with an outrageously brash and aggressive exterior. I think to some extent we all wear a social mask, but not to the extent that he does, I hope. Rebecca is shot full of self doubt but she tries really hard... trying to please the wrong people however can be a problem. I guess that we can see where they are coming from, they are all a product of their environment, just they chose to become the monster in that environment to different degrees.


Charismata does make quite a few comments about women in the (male-dominated) workplace and how they're treated differently - was that intentional from square one or did that sneak into the story by the by?


Absolutely from day one... the Repulsion influence in Rebecca's character (and her perception of everybody else's) was a big part of the story.


What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?


Again it was an apartment trilogy homage. This films are very measured and controlled, and we adopted the same style. We also decided to use lots of long locked camera shots to build suspense, and to only move the camera when something supernatural is happening. People probably don't notice the link, but it gives those moments more impact (at least, that's the intention).


You have written, produced and directed Charismata with Tor Mian, so what was your collaboration like on each of these stages - and how did you two first meet even? And do talk about your projects prior to Charismata as well!


We wrote it together 100%, with a "top down" approach where we first started with themes, then agreed on the broad story plot, then agreed the scenes, then wrote them. It's a very structured approach but it allows for effective collaboration. We met through a mutual friend (an actor who we both cast in short films many years ago). The mutual friend is also a producer who still works with us. We haven't figured out how to get rid of him yet ;)

We've collaborated on quite a few things in various degrees, but Charismata was the first film we wrote and directed together. We are now working hard to get a new project off the ground to shoot next year. Very exciting, it's a much "bigger" project than Charismata. Details here:


Back to Charismata - please talk about your main cast, and why exactly these people?


We spent a lot of time on casting. From thousands of applicants for each, Sarah Beck Mather and Jamie Satterthwaite nailed their respective characters instantly. They were exactly what we were looking for in those roles. Andonis Anthony was harder to find... I think he was actually out of the country the first round of casting so he didn't apply, but nobody really "wowed" us for Eli. Everybody was too "gruff" and stereotypical tough copper, not the light and shade we were looking for. So we started again on casting that part, and Andonis applied, and that worked!


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


It was actually fun. We were very low budget and it was "no frills"... in fact it felt very much like a guerilla film shoot, except everybody got paid. That was why we mainly cast actors who were still looking for their big break and who had not done a lot of TV. Anybody used to trailers and green rooms would soon get annoyed with having to sit on deck chairs in a shed between takes. Given the lack of funds but high production value we were constantly teetering on the edge of disaster... and while we had minor disasters every day, we avoided the big one which would have killed the shoot.


The $64-question, where can Charismata be seen?


Feeling lucky ?
Want to
any of my partnershops yourself
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The links below
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Find Andy Collier
at the amazons ...


Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports ?
Find Andy Collier here ...

Your shop for all things Thai

Just finalising a deal with a fantastic, genre focussed sales agent. I expect it to be released everywhere early next year.


Anything you can tell us about critical and audience reception of Charismata yet?


So far, seems to be hugely positive. Nobody hates it yet, and critic assessments went from "pretty good" to "great".


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


All details here


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... 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