Your upcoming film This Film Hates You - in a few words, what
is it about?
The story follows a hardboiled detective as he's investigating the
murder of a young woman. It also follows the murder victim, as she and the
detective separately but simultaneously hunt down the killer. Of course,
that's maybe 35% of the film, but that's about the most concise it's gonna
What were your inspirations when writing This
Film Hates You?
I think that I wanted to take films
like Mulholland Drive and Un Chien Andalou and force them to
breed. Lynch and Buñuel were definitely in the back of my mind, but until
I finished the script, I hadn't really started seeking out a lot of their
other great works, like Inland Empire or The Discrete Charm of
the Bourgeoisie. And I hadn't even begun to experience Jodorowsky ... The
Holy Mountain, anyone? Those late discoveries will definitely be
influencing things later.
Would you care to explain the film's
There's not really a way I can explain it any better
than simply re-stating the title—this film really does hate you, the
This Film Hates You is described as a
surreal, avant-garde mystery. Care to elaborate?
A lot of
films have surreal imagery or camera-tricks borrowed from avant-garde and
experimental filmmakers. But that's not good enough for us. We want to
actually tell a story in a surreal way. We want to treat the medium of
moving pictures in some bizarre fashion. We want the experience to be
engaging, and we're not talking 3D "immersion"—we're talking a
confrontational presentation. Maybe the mystery is a murder. Maybe it's
a mystery in the first place? Is that a genre at all dear to you?
better a way to explore a strange and unusual world where typical logic is
thrown out the window and all the rules are vapor than by having the
characters slowly treading into a murder mystery? The audience and
characters both get to explore at the same pace.
do you plan to approach your film from a directorial point of view?
is a more visual film for me than what I'm used to. Normally, I'm pretty
improvisational, but this time, I'll be planning out some of my scenes a
little more carefully. I really like to collaborate with the actors, with
the crew. I'd rather their expertise advise the production than anything.
Surround yourself with good people, and you'll always look like a great
Anthony Kilburn, Jeff Compton
cinematographer Jeff Compton - what will he bring to the table?
eye is amazing, and he knows how to get great images out of his camera.
He's shooting the film and helping me produce it. We're on the same page,
he and I, and it's pretty cool to start describing an idea for a shot or a
look, thinking it's obscure or something, and then he just casually
acknowledges exactly what you're thinking like it's common knowledge.
can you tell us about your film's projected cast?
them haven't done film before, which is pretty cool for me, 'cause I love
the trust they all have and the lack of cynicism. Krystyn Tsagarakis comes from
dancing and aerial arts, kinda circus-style performance on silk ribbons.
She's incredibly talented, and almost more excited about the film than I
am. Seth Langner and Christina May both have extensive theatre experience, which is
fantastic, 'cause I tend to run my productions like stage plays anyway.
And WalterColson, mister superstar, is coming off a starring role in Velvet Road, which is a short film that's gobbling up awards
on the festival circuit. So, he's, well, better than all of us.
as I know, This Film Hates You is still in its fundraising
stages - so what can you tell us about your fundraising efforts?
cashing in all our favors around town, and all that we can't beg for or
borrow leaves $8,117 to get the production off the ground. So far, we've
raised about half that budget with a little over a week to go, so things
are looking pretty good. And we've picked up new fans that we didn't have
before. And we've got momentum building. And we got to meet you, Mike!
the fundraiser has succeeded - how do you plan to proceed? And any idea
yet when the film might be premiered/released onto the general public?
continue pre-production through mid-January 2013, rehearsing, planning,
booking locations. Then we shoot for five weeks, and we wrap production
the third Sunday in February. We've accounted for six-to-eight months of
editing, audio-magic, scoring, napping. We anticipate a release around
this time next year, but that will also depend on the festival circuit and
several other factors.
future projects beyond This Film Hates You?
scare off my backers! One idea is enough for now ... But, yeah, I've got a
bizarre sci-fi idea I've outlined, but haven't written, and I have the
beginnings of a weird unreliable-narrator-type piece. Not much, but it's
intriguing enough to keep on the back burner.
go back to the beginnings of your career: What got you into filmmaking in
the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
Star Wars. I wanted to re-create my own version, though. I
would make up movies like Galactic Battles. Or Demons
of the Dolls when I was on my horror movie kick. Those were dark
times, horrible films.
I went to the Motion Picture Institute of Michigan after high school,
but never really did anything with the training and let years go by
without any mention of making a movie. My wife got me back into it,
forced me to work on a local contest, against my objections. She's
obviously wiser than I.
you like to talk about your previous films Chiaroscuro, Baby and
Gore-e-ography: The Making of Death Harmony for a bit? And what can you
tell us about your evolution as a director?
Chiaroscuro, Baby was my '60s-styled ode to Warhol. "Sex,
drugs, and art" went the tagline. It was very personal to me, and
it was my first directorial effort. But it's a peculiar work. I made
some choices in that one that others didn't get or appreciate, like
purposefully mixing noise into the audio, shooting in black and white. I
didn't want a glossy little film. I wanted grit.
Gore-e-ography was our improvised mockumentary that followed
amateur filmmakers making a terrible horror film. My wife and I'd just
had our first child, so my time was limited, but I hadn't touched a
camera in a year. So, I got with the local improv comedy troupe, Mad
Cowford, and we shot over two weekends with literally zero budget. Trial
by fire, I guess.
I'm to the point now where I've gotten my "self-important film
about myself" out of the way, and I did my reckless experiment
already. So I'm ready to take the experimentation and the nanobudget and
take this story about archetypes and take them into a crazy world. The
control of Chiaroscuro, the freedom of Gore-e-ography.
you describe yourself as a filmmaker?
Definitely very broke.
I find it funny, actually. I really think that when I come up with my
ideas that they're too derivative, unoriginal; my metaphors or symbols
are too transparent, clunky. I don't feel like my work is complicated or
smart or anything. But people will sometimes tell me I'm quite simply
weird as shit, complex, intellectual. I don't get it. I look at my first
film as a cheesy rom-com. I guess others don't see it that way.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Lynch, Buñuel, Jodorowsky, Godard.
Your favourite movies?
Scorpion King, Ghostbusters, American Beauty, Taxi
and of course, films you really deplore?
Day, Clerks, anything by Tarantino (except Kill Bill: Part
movie's website, Facebook, Kickstarter, whatever else?
else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
need a cigarette.
for the interview!