Your new movie Phometrica
Redacted - in a few words, what is it about?
In essence it’s a fairly simple story, although we chose to
tell it in a very artful way using sound and strong dynamic visuals. A
young guy, Jose thinks his girlfriend is cheating on him. So he follows
her and uncovers some things he can’t explain. This includes some clues
that lead him to some strange places.
were your sources of inspiration when dreaming up Phometrica
Redacted, and in what way is it related to your earlier movie Phometrica?
Redacted is a 15min cut of our earlier film Phometrica. When we wrote
Phometrica we deliberately created it without a structured narrative. In
fact I started at one end and Craig Ennis at the other and we met in the middle.
We also peppered the film with clues, odd symbols, and repeated number
patterns. The idea behind this was to create a film that plays out as a
dream, and allows the audience to force their own narrative on it. The
result was certainly interesting, but we felt that it might work better
narratively as a short and so we had the idea of cutting it down to a
more logical core - redacting a lot of information.
can you tell us about your co-writer Craig Ennis, and what was your
collaboration like? And how did the two of you first meet, even?
and I have worked together since 2013 when we started 24 Foot Square.
Craig did indeed co-write Phometrica with me, and was also the DOP on both
Harvest and Phometrica, but he also co-produced both projects. On
Phometrica, once production had started he took the lead in that area.
That was particularly important as we were trying to make a feature film
on the smallest of budgets. As partners in the business, everything is a
collaboration and Craig’s influence is equally present in all our work.
Redacted is rather abstract and surreal in approach - so do
elaborate on this a bit, and how hard was it to not just lose your story
in the process?
I think the primary thing we decided on when getting through to a
final draft was that there should be at least one logical path through
the script, so that the audience could follow it with ease. That
logical path is what remains in the shorter cut of the film.
Do talk about your key cast, and why
exactly these people?
We were very lucky to get such
a great cast for Phometrica, even with such an unusual script. Even when
we were shooting some of the more odd scenes, everyone gave their all. Tom
Woodward in particular was put through quite a lot — including being
covered in blood and salt.
What can you tell us about the
shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
The on-set atmosphere was generally good, even when conditions
were inhospitable. One of the locations in the film is an old cinema. To
enable us to shoot there, we needed to film at night.
is fine at maybe one in the morning when you’re all still quite fresh,
but when you're trying to grab one last shot at 6am before their
cleaners arrive it can be a little difficult — but with all credit to
the crew, they just kept going.
film of yours is Harvest
- so what's that one about?
Harvest was an in-between project. We’d been working on a
feature documentary, but that stalled and we couldn't get a start on
another script. So, the idea was to come up with something really high
concept. Something, simpler in narrative but still with an unusual tone.
The story is therefore pretty simple; Heather (Luna Wolf [Luna
Wolf interview - click here]) wakes up
somewhere, bound, gagged and confused, and we just let the story play
out from there.
playing with horror motives, is that a genre at all dear to you, and why
(not)? And other sources of inspiration when dreaming up
is something that’s dear to me, I think there are often some very
interesting films that come from the genre. Whilst it might not seem like
it at first glance, Harvest
and Phometrica have a lot of elements in
common. Neither story appears to take place in the real world, at least
not one that I’ve experienced recently. That’s where the William
Burroughs influence comes in. There are also a number of clues throughout
both films that point to influences — a recurring jar of marmalade in
both films and a rather telling tin of carrots in Harvest.
the most part, Harvest
is a one person, single location piece - so what were the limitations but
maybe also advantages filming that way?
shot in the house for Harvest
was great. We had the whole house so we
could set up Luna in a room to do her make up and carry on working on the
rest of the set. However, this was not an empty house. So, we had to move
every item that was likely to appear in shot, out of shot. That included
all the cupboards. That was a little painful. Shooting on the beach was
ok, although the weather was a little dodgy. The only real issue was that
the scene is really one long tracking shot and keeping stones off the
track was a pain.
You of course
have to talk about your leading lady Luna Wolf [Luna
Wolf interview - click here] for a bit, and what was it
like working with her? And a few words about the rest of your cast?
known Luna for a while, and we’d been trying to find something to work
on. So, when I wrote Harvest, I knew it was gonna be Luna in the role of
Heather. I also need to mention that she did all of her own makeup,
including making her own wrists — how is that even possible? The rest of
the cast, who appear mainly on the beach — Phil, Joe and Tom. Joe and
Phil I’ve also known for a long time and both were in the feature length
version of Phometrica (they were redacted sadly). Tom was the 1st AD and
stepped in when someone pulled out.
do talk about the shoot and the on-set atmosphere?
That atmosphere on Harvest
was a lot calmer. The crew was tiny. It
was a lot of fun. The equipment was obviously a step on, but with Craig
and I owning that equipment and using it with our company for other work
that also made things easier in that we knew what the camera could and
couldn't handle with regards to light.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of both Phometrica
Redacted and Harvest?
been good. In general people have been very supportive. These films where
not made with the expectation of finding a mainstream audience. I think
the great thing about the release on Amazon Video is that it has the best
chance of finding its core audience.
future projects you'd like to share?
At present Craig
and I are working on a feature length documentary, which we’ll be able
to discuss further in the new year. I’m also continuing to work in sound
design, and I’m currently working on Emma Dark’s latest film Salient
Minus Ten [Emma Dark
interview - click here]. This is such an exciting project. Emma’s produced a really
interesting and artful concept, and that includes the sound. She’s also
pulled together a great cast. In addition to that, the opportunity to put
sound to Philip Bloom visuals is an great opportunity. And on top of all
that, I’ll be working alongside the very talented composer Eric Elick.
As far as I know
you came into the filmworld via music production - care to elaborate, and
how do the world of music and movies compare, actually?
started playing the drums when I was eleven and almost immediately on
joining a band became interested in the process of recording music. So, I
started out on little multi-track recorders and moved over the years
through reel to reel and finally to computer based systems - more or less
at the time of their inception. That’s when I became involved with
electronic music and electro more specifically. The step from there to
film is a lot smaller than it might seem - a sound mix on a DVD extra and
then a sound mix and some sound design and, then the next logical step is
editing video. And then that’s when I met Craig.
first movies you produced were actually documentaries, right? So do talk
about those, and how did they prepare you for making narrative films?
Other than the technicalities of producing the final work, I don't
think there was much that prepared me for making a narrative film.
However, I did learn a key lesson that in order to learn how to make
films you have to make films. Talking about making films is no
substitute for making a film, even if the result is not something you're
happy with. You put it to one side and make another one.
you describe yourself as a director?
In a coat. I always wear a coat. This is the one constant.
So many, it could be a massive list but
here are a few: Stanley Kubrick, Werner Herzog, David Fincher, Spike Lee,
Errol Morris, Mike Leigh.
Your favourite movies?
Again, could be a huge list but here are the most influential: All
The President’s Men, The City of Lost Children, Vivre sa Vie, Alien,
The Thing, Encounters At The End Of The World, Star Wars: A New Hope,
Blue Velvet, This is Spinal Tap.
I'm sure I've forgotten loads.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
quite a lot for me to actually sit down and watch something. Consequently, I don't tend to see anything I’m likely to deplore.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Facebook 24 Foot Square –
Facebook Phometrica –
Chris Collier IMDb –
for the interview!