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An Interview with B. Luciano Barsuglia, Director of Impact Event

by Mike Haberfelner

April 2020

Films directed by B. Luciano Barsuglia on (re)Search my Trash

 

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

 

Impact Event is a character study revolving around three people who gather as a meteor is about to hit the world. The first part of the story follows them in the moments before and immediately following the meteor strike; then it fast-forwards seven months later as the insanity of isolation and the end of society settles in! It is a slow burn with an explosive ending.

 

With Impact Event being a post apocalyptic thriller, is that a genre at all dear to you, and some of your genre favourites?

 

As a kid, movies like The Road Warrior, Night of the Comet, Dawn of the Dead and Escape from New York were in heavy rotation on cable, so I watched those pretty regularly and they most certainly have served as inspiration for the roads I have traveled as a filmmaker. During the 80s, the threat of nuclear war sometimes seemed imminent, so my pre-teen brain looked at these movies as a type of survival guide as well!

 

(Other) sources of inspiration when writing Impact Event?

 

The primary source of inspiration for Impact Event was the location. I had access to this incredible location in central California and constructed the story from there.

 

You just have to talk about Impact Event's main location, the funhouse for a bit, and what was it like filming there? And why a funhouse in the first place?

 

The bulk of the movie was shot on location in Sanger, CA at Hobb’s Grove – a seasonal haunt with a haunted forest, a haunted house, a hayride and other attractions. A few years back, I had used part of the location for another project, which led to shooting a short documentary about the location. For years, I had wanted to shoot a feature with this place as the centerpiece, and then the idea of Impact Event came to me. I approached the folks at Hobb’s Grove and we moved forward from there.

We didn’t have to do a whole lot of set dressing. For the most part, it was a “what you see is what you get” approach and we made use of the various rooms, props and scares already in place. Much of the movie was shot in close quarters and hot summer days over a hundred degrees.

When I first started developing the story, the location was already secured, so I had a lot of familiarity with what would be available to us. I didn’t want to just do a haunted house movie or chop ‘em up horror movie, which were a couple of the ideas I was originally toying with. I thought it would be fun to take the idea of post-apocalyptic tale but turn the tables a bit. Usually, the antagonistic group (cannibals, zombies, raiders) are chasing after the protagonists and putting them on the defensive. I thought, with this location, our heroes will lure them in and go on the offensive.

 

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

 

I do what I can to get a natural performance from the actors and something that feels right for them. Actors put so much work into indie projects like this. We were careful to avoid long days, but with the time constraints we had on principal photography, there were a lot of expectations on the actors being ready to go and ready to nail their performances.

When I direct, I always want to get it the way I have first mapped a scene out so I know I am covered. Then I always try to take the “is there something else you want to try” approach and let the actors cut loose with their own ideas.

 

Do talk about Impact Event's key cast, and why exactly these people?

 

The three core members of the cast, Jed Rowen [Jed Rowen interview - click here], Chris Giese and Tasha Tacosa, were all approached before I even wrote the script. I had worked with Jed and Chris previously and I had seen Tasha’s work, so I was very familiar with each of their acting styles. I wrote the initial script with these three actors in mind.

During open calls, Remmy Jones and Windy Hamiltona auditioned. I really liked what they brought to the audition and I completely re-worked the roles to accommodate two young female actors rather than the 30-something male roles originally in the screenplay.

SPOILER AHEAD – the scene where one of those characters gets shot in the head, was originally written as a goofy comedic moment, but this changes drastically when you swap out a 30-something unhinged male for a grounded 16-year-old kid.

 

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

 

The people, the places and the overall atmosphere were incredible. It was a positive and fun shoot from start to finish and everyone was really excited to be on set and working together. The most difficult aspect was the July weather in Sanger at the time. I think we had three days in a row of hundred- and six-degree weather, so we broke up most of the shooting and did mornings and evenings.

It was one of those experiences where a lot of friendships emerged and many of us have continued to work together again or are planning to do so in the very near future.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Impact Event?

 

This isn’t a movie for everyone. It is very much a character study and how people would respond in the situation. And while it isn’t straight up satire or comedy, it is a slow burn, not just into insanity, but into the absurd.

So far, people who seem to appreciate those elements have been extremely positive. I think as long as people understand this is a micro-budget movie with limitations, they can really get behind the experience. People expecting it to compete with a 300-million-Dollar superhero movie are likely to be disappointed!

And, hey, it has Michael Berryman, Vernon Wells, Richard Grieco and Margaret O’Brien. To be able to work with actors like those, and bring them in for a day or two to work on an indie, is really a special experience for me as a filmmaker and for the actors who get to share scenes with them.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Always! We are currently in production of Social Distance. Guess what that movies about? It’s being shot at a distance during this time of quarantine. Yes, we are in production! The story follows a public relations team for a cruise line after they’ve had multiple COVID-19 outbreaks on their vessels. The team is trying to save the company’s reputation from afar! As the story evolves, the characters devolve into betrayal, conspiracy theories, and madness!

 

What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

My grandfather gave me an 8mm camera when I was a kid and I’ve been doing this in one form or another ever since. My bachelor’s degree is in Media Arts and my master’s degree is in English Literature. My first industry job was as a camera operator and editor at a local television station while in college. I’ve been at it for a while now. I try to always approach projects with a fresh perspective and open mind in an effort to continually grow and learn as a filmmaker.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Impact Event?

 

I’ve had a lot of unique opportunities over the course of my career. I worked at a film finishing house specializing in trailers and titles for a while back in the 90s, where we worked on some big movies, but I decided that the day-to-day intensity of the industry wasn’t my speed. I prefer a more relaxed and laid-back lifestyle where things around me can move at a slower pace. I went into education and publishing and really focused on my writing and made the occasional short film. I also started and ran a film festival for 10 years in Huntington Beach, giving me the incredible experience of watching thousands of independent films.

However, once the digital era of filmmaking emerged, things began to change. It became realistic for indie filmmakers to make a high-quality movie on a limited budget. I shot my first feature film in 2004 on DV and have been working as a filmmaker and editor pretty consistently ever since.

 

Going through your filmography, one can't help but notice that you hardly ever stray too far from horror - is that at all a favourite genre of yourse, and why (not)?

 

Horror is absolutely one of my favorite genres to watch and to work in for a few reasons. I think it is an incredibly creative genre where filmmakers and actors are able to take chances and try new approaches. And, for us indie filmmakers, the horror audience is often more understanding of the limitations of smaller budget projects.

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

A storyteller, I suppose. A player’s coach!

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

Filmmakers I look to for inspiration are John Carpenter, John Singleton, Carl Franklin, Sam Raimi, S. Craig Zahler – people who tend to tell a story their way.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

This is always a tough question for me to answer and always a question people expect me to have a ready-made answer for, but I really don’t know. I have too many favorites to narrow it down. I can appreciate the artistry of The Godfather, Shawshank Redemption, High Noon and just about anything on the AFI top 100 list, just as much as I can an entertaining horror movie or comedy. I love a movie like Bone Tomahawk and how unique and different it is just as much as I appreciate a Dodgeball type movie that can make me laugh every time I watch. Did I answer the question? Probably not!

 

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

 

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I try to avoid labeling any movie as such. I think there is an audience and appreciation for just about everything.

 

Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

The home base for most of my work is at https://koaalohamedia.com and on social media Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @koaalohamedia as well.

 

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

 

I also do a lot of beach, water, surf and sunset photography. If anyone is looking for some pleasant pictures during these days of quarantine, head on over to the website or any of the social media and enjoy some relaxing scenic shots during these crazy days!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Thank you! I truly appreciate the time.

 

© 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
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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out now on DVD