Your upcoming movie Blue Noon - in a few words, what is it
Blue Noon is a surreal, experimental horror film that will be comprised of
several segments by different directors--some in color, others in black
and white, some more linear in narrative while others more abstract, all
paying homage to Jean Rollin and Jess Franco with the mysterious murderous
seductress from the sea (played by the same actress in all of the
segments), following her character through time.
particular segment that I am directing in Blue Noon is a story filled with
doom, superstition, mystery, splendor, the occult, eroticism, and death,
exploring the unforgiving qualities of love, the struggle to understand
these desires, the violence of passion, the sadness and frustration of
what it is to be immortal, and the acceptance of fate.
Barley: Well everybody's individual segment
is quite unique, but it is unified by an overarching protagonist and
similar narrative tones and influences. My individual segment deals with
time, existentialism, grief, and unexplained events.
Kapsaski: My segment is set in the late
1930ís and is loosely based on Francoís Eugenie De Sade. Itís
about a Libertine author and his daughter who fall into the Sirenís
lure. There are many personal and autobiographical elements hidden deep
within the subtext of the story. While I canít speak for everyone I do
believe that existentialism, solitude and longing play a strong role in
Marsh: I can only speak with authority on my
segment, which seems to be the closing act of the overall film. Set in the
future, a clash of forces takes place inside a white room. It is a room
where the past and future collide to bring about something new. I like the
concept of fusing any part of history I want, be that characters or
locations, there are no rules when creating a film story so I tend to just
pick events and characters up whenever I want and the fun part is when
they are brought together in an in act.
How did the project come into being in the first
place, and how did you all get on board?
Barley: Jesse and I were talking about
Franco's death on the day he died, and there was a whisper of a suggestion
that Jesse wanted to create something indebted to him, and Rollin, but we
weren't sure what it would be. Very quickly, these discussions escalated,
and in just a couple of days later, we had a crazy amount of ideas going
around, with Salem and Cassandra too. That's how it started, from my
Kapsaski: Jesse Richards asked me last year
if I could submit a short-film for his gothic multi media project the
phantoms came to meet him which I dealt with some similar ideas that
were now reborn in Blue Noon. Sadly I was busy shooting Spidarlings
and could not make the deadline. So of course when Jesse asked me if would
be interested in being involved in a collective film homage to Jess
Franco and Jean Rollin I instantly said yes.
Sechler: I came on board after Salem invited
me to join the project earlier this year. At the time Jesse, Salem, and
Scott had been bouncing around ideas, and I was ecstatic to join them.
From there, through new members and group discussions, the film has
arrived to where it is now, and it is still developing.
Chris Marsh: I
was requested by Cassandra to join in, this was after scott, salem, jesse
and florian were onboard. So I'm the runt of the litter it seems.
As far as I'm
informed, Blue Noon is not an anthology movie in the traditional
sense of the word - so how will all of you filmmakers get under one roof
Kapsaski: One of our very first decisions
was to not make this an anthology film in the traditional sense but rather
a continuous story of one immortal character throughout the ages as
envisioned by different directors. While the film is still presented in
segments and even different cinematic styles, itís amazing how in-sync we
were as a group developing the basic arch and character and common threads
that run through all our segments. I have never felt such unity working on
a project with other beforeÖ and I doubt I ever will again. Itís a
unique experience for me.
Sechler: I can see where Blue Noon could be
categorized as an anthology film since there are multiple directors, but I
would describe Blue Noon more so as a collaborative feature that brings
various directors with different styles but similar filmmaking ideals
together to tell a single abstract story. So, even though each director
has a different style and time period that they are exploring, I feel that
there is an interconnectedness within the group and that we have similar
methodology and are all on the same page in regards to the overall vision
that weíd like to keep strong in the film.
the end, as a whole, I see the segments beautifully stitched together to
flow in a surreal, dreamlike way.
You describe Blue Noon's intended
style as avant-garde and remodernist - please do elaborate!
Richards: Well I think itís important to
note that all of the filmmakers participating have their own style,
philosophy and process (and so for me Iím not sure about those labels -
but labels can sometimes work as a shorthand), but at the same time I
think there is a familiarity between all of us. For instance I think
youíd have to make some very serious threats before most of us would use
something like a shot list or story board, and even with that some might
choose death first. I think Cassandra has a screenplay for her segment
because a cast member asked for one, but Iím pretty sure she said
sheíd never used one before on her films, and I think for the most part
none of us are super-excited about screenplay writing. That's my
impression at least. I think we all really love improvisation.
Barley: I would rather not label the film
such things, since everybody is doing their piece differently, but we are
all aiming for this to be a brave project, and for it to be art, not just
straight forward porn rubbish. My own segment is in some ways tied to
remodernist cinema in the ideology behind the camera, but it is also very
much influenced by the likes of Philippe Grandrieux, Gyorgy Feher,
Michelangelo Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman, and Stan Brakhage.
your film is described to be based on the works of recently deceased cult
Euro-filmmakers Jess Franco and Jean Rollin (two favourites of this here
website) - so what do you find so appealing about the oeuvre of these two
Kapsaski: Only very few artists have played
such a big part in my life as Jess Franco. There is so much more to his
work than just sleaze. Francoís films are full of light, aesthetic,
sensuality, humour and passion. His name should be all the way up there
with the cinematic greats like Bunuel and Tarkovsky. A Virgin among the
Living Dead is one of my all time favourite films, and I have been
strongly inspired by various shots and set-ups from his films and used
them in my own - whether I intended to do so or not. Rollin is another
director that is very dear to me. Losing both of them in such a short
period of time was a big blow.
Both Francoís and Rollinís films are so conceptually and visually rich
and deal with some of the darker aspects of humanity and sexuality, while
incorporating an eclectic range of characters. Their films also have
killer soundtracks, creative costume and set design, elements of fantasy,
camp, and horror that I undeniably adore.
find myself most inspired by A Virgin Among the Living
Dead, The Iron Rose,
Night of the Hunted, Lips of Blood, The Living Dead
Requiem for a Vampire, especially with this project. There will be a few
easter eggs in my segment referencing the directors that I am sure Franco
and Rollin fans will pick up on.
For me, these guys are really, really important. I think even among
their fans, these guys get shat on a little bit, getting dismissed as
silly, or sleazy (which sure they can be at times), but to me there is
something remarkably honest, authentic and very brave about their work.
They both had the guts to directly address their obsessions, passions,
fetishes and nightmares in their films. Itís really not an easy thing
for an artist to do - and especially when it comes to sex. Maybe it was
more acceptable in the 70ís than it is now, but even so I donít think
it was ever easy. Salem I think said they should be seen as just as
important as Tarkovsky and Bunuel, and I totally agree with him on that.
One thing I would add to that - as much as I love Tarkovsky, he is near the
very top for me - Tarkovsky never had the guts to deal with sex properly,
and I just canít understand how one can totally avoid that in their art.
Scott Barley: For
me, it is very simple - that beauty can come from dark places. Perverse
beauty is still beauty, and sometimes its ethereal quality makes it all
the more beguiling.
Probably a bit of an immature question, but on
behalf of all men (at least) among my readers: The work of both Franco and
Rollin included more than its fair share of nudity and sex - so how far
will Blue Noon go in that direction?
Kapsaski: Blue Noon is going to be a very
erotic and sensual film. The amount of nudity will differ in each segment,
but there is going to be a fair share of graphic sex and pushing personal
boundaries. Not to mention incest and necrophiliaÖ so basically a film
for the entire family! Itís a shame we could not work a goat in there
somewhereÖ oh well maybe next time.
Barley: Like I mentioned previously, each
filmmaker's segment is unique, and will push boundaries in different ways.
Some will incorporate more sex and nudity - but all segments will push
boundaries to some degree in different ways, on a filmic level.
And so speaking of sexÖ. So we will each deal with that on
different levels. For me in my piece, I think it is vitally important to
deal with this at an explicit level. The explicitness of the nudity and
sex in my piece will be very much in the tradition of the films we are
paying homage to, but at the same time, even though the sexual content
will be very explicit in places, Iím not really interested in doing
things like cutting to long close-ups of penetration, which is, well, kind
of boring after a minute or two, at least from a filmmaking/artistic
that being said, I think that for the most part in my piece I think the
actors should really be sexually intimate with each other; that the sex
scenes are real (as in many Franco films and some Rollin ones), but still
done in a way that allows for poetry... One of the things that has really
bugged me is this idea that violence at nearly any level is socially
acceptable in media and art, but at the same time this is not true about
how we depict sexuality, and to me this is a stupid, ridiculous hypocrisy.
So for me personally, it is important in my segment of this film to depict
the sexuality realistically (at least realistically within the style of
the film), and the violence in a more toned down fashion. At the same
time, I understand that this is a horror film, so I won't cut out the
violence completely, but choose to focus on blood rather than guts as much
one of the things that really matters to me (but I didn't plan on while
writing the notes for my segment) is that my piece breaks certain
expectations and "acceptable" depictions of sexuality: the women
in my piece are sexually empowered more than the men, that there is an
explicit sex scene between men in an erotic horror film (this is typically
a big no-no), that an Indian man (typically desexualized, at least in
American media) is shown as sexual rather than asexual, that there is an
interracial relationship where neither person is a white person... etc. I
didn't construct any of that deliberately with any plan or agenda, but saw
it there after I wrote it, and am happy that those things are in there.
There are probably other things in it that I haven't noticed, but the
things I have noticed, make me happy about it.
As far as filming approach for me it will be long takes and mostly
steadicam: Andrei Tarkovsky, Bela Tarr, Claire Denis, Jia Zhangke combined
with visual elements inspired by Edvard Munch as well as some
post-impressionist painters, maybe a little Egon Schiele too.
Sean James Sutton
talk about your cast for a bit, and how did you get them and why exactly
Richards: The casting choices are directly
related to the bravery of the people cast and their ability for them to
take on the content within; while also being able to convey authenticity
and emotional truth. In some cases that will mean trained actors, and
sometimes non-actors. As you might imagine, finding people who are both
very brave and authentic is not an easy task.
I am searching for people who not only look the part and have the chops
but also have an interest in the horror genre, a passion for their craft,
determination in their work, and a desire to contribute to the story.
For my segment in Blue Noon, so far I have cast Lynn Lowry,
Theodore Bouloukos, and Kathy Trevelyan as well as Gypsy Lee Pistolero and
Sophia Disgrace [Sophia
Disgrace interview - click here] - all wonderfully talented actors who embrace enthusiasm
for the project and respect for the subject matter. I canít wait to work
with all of them and Iím truly excited to see what they bring to the
cast is still growing, and many roles will be open to local extras closer
to the time of the shoot.
Salem Kapsaski: I
wanted to make a film with Sean James Sutton for a long time. He did a
voice cameo in Spidarlings as Edenís dad because distance and
budget did not allow me to put him in the film physically. Iím also
going to work Theodore Bouloukos, who is a brilliant actor.
So when are you going
to shoot, and any idea when and where the film might be released onto the
general public yet (and I do know it's waaay too early to ask)?
Much is still reliant on budget, for example the ultimate homage would be
to actually shoot on 16mm! So as we figure out finances and seek
producers, that is a huge goal of ours.
we are in the midst of configuring all the details, we do plan on
beginning production in 2014 and if possible would love to figure out
distribution when the time is right so that this passion project can reach
its awaiting fans.
future projects beyond Blue Noon you'd like to share
(both solo and as a collective)?
Barley: Well so far this journey has been
great, and I hope it continues that way, and that we work together in the
future, but that discussion hasn't come up yet - we are very much focussed
on "now", and getting Blue Noon made. As for solo projects, I am
starting to sew ideas for a longer piece, which will partly document a man
suffering with depression, but using a very loose and somewhat surreal
framework. It will be very much an audio-visual experience. I had been
keeping notes on the idea for over a year, but nothing was gelling, but
finally the idea truly materialised from listening to the band Throbbing
Richards: Weíve only really focused on
this film, and I really enjoy working with all of them very much and hope
there will be something else in the future. I think we are really
comfortable with each other. For me personally, the next projects Iím
interested in doing are an adaptation of a Knut Hamsun story; an
adaptation of Rainer Maria Rilkeís only novel; and maybe a film of Hamlet, which I directed in the theatre about 15 years ago and would love
And if in the event that Hammer Films ever came knocking and asked me to a
Frankenstein-film, you bet your ass I wouldnít turn that down, as long
as I had creative control and final cut. Always loved Frankenstein and his
monster. But itíd probably be pretty much impossible to beat Boris.
Sechler: Working with everyone in this
project has been a joy, and I donít doubt that more collaborative
efforts will be in the mix after this film is a wrap. Right now I am
focused on the present with Blue Noon and its near future.
As far as solo projects go, this
summer I am working on a couple feature films that will be out in 2014: I
will be co-directing several scenes that I helped write for Heidi
Mooreís Dolly Deadly as well as working alongside Craig Jacobson on his
film Elliot. I am also in the midst of writing a feature called Acrotalk
and organizing an exhibition for an ongoing travelogue series of mine
titled Proof That it Happened.
At present I am still working on my main short film Rhombus
but after Blue Noon I intend to try and get my first feature off the
ground Liquid City AKA Night of the Demons. This film despite its
title will not be an all out horror, more an abstract horror dealing with
current UK and Global themes such as the breakdown of the modern family,
joblessness, addiction, money and greedy companies. That and demons of
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Kapsaski: I do believe that future collaborations will follow
between members of the group. Though so far nothing has yet been
discussed. As for solo projects; Iím currently working on putting the
final touches on my upcoming Horror Musical Spidarlings [Spidarlings
interview - click here] and started
writing a horror script loosely based on Medea that I want to pursuit
after Blue Noon. There are also two film projects by Dennis Prather that
Iím going to be involved in. One is called Voodoo Exotica and we
managed to attach some great names to the cast, weíre just struggling to
raise the money get the ball rolling. Iím also going to play a small
role in The Vampire Controller by Eat Cake & Worship Satan and
Martin Daniels which is currently filming in London.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Official Website: http://bluenoonfilm.com/
for the interview!
Thanks again for the great questions Mike. And for
your continuous support to truly independent cinema.