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An Interview with David Blyth, Director of Ghost Bride

by Mike Haberfelner

December 2014

Films directed by David Blyth on (re)Search my Trash


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


Ghost Bride is a supernatural romance which explores how different cultural beliefs exist around marriage in both the West and East. In Asia you can be married after death for eternity, which is very different from the West, where you have to alive to be married.


In a way, Ghost Bride is a film about the clash of two cultures - so how much research did you put into researching this aspect of your movie, and into Chinese ghost stories and culture in general?


I am more familiar with Japanese ghost stories than I am with traditional Chinese ones. I found a paranormal website out of Singapore which had a detailed transcript and photos of an actual Ghost Bride ceremony with cardboard human effigies. I was fascinated by this little known tradition going back thousands of years in China. You can google Ghost Bride and you will find there is a lot of crime around this ancient practice, particularly the buying selling and reusing of female dead bodies. I also researched Chinese Opera with its ghost stories on YouTube as well as the Chinese instrument the Urhu, which is an amazingly emotive musical instrument.


(Other) sources of inspiration when writing Ghost Bride?


I was influenced by films such as Retribution directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Empire of Passion directed by Nagisa Oshima. I wanted to subvert the traditional supernatural ghost story by suggesting that the ghost is erupting into consciousness as a cultural belief artefact, a projection by the brain of inherited memory or belief.


Do talk about your directorial approach to your story in hand!


Ghost Bride is a deeply immersive film where the imagery and sound create drea- like emotional atmospheres. The photography of Marc Mateo and the musical sound design of Jed Town are important elements that contributed to the overall directorial approach.

The film was shot at 4K on a Red Camera, which has proved a huge commercial advantage as 4k TV screens roll out around the world. Thanks to Craig Parkes, producer of Ghost Bride for having the vision on that.


What can you tell us about your key cast, and why exactly these people?


Ghost Bride had nine main actors, seven of whom were Chinese and two who were white New Zealanders. The Chinese actors, all NZ residents, were originally from Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Malaysia and also several second generation Chinese New Zealanders. The NZ cast was headed up by Ian Mune, who is one of NZ’s most senior actors and directors. Also Geeling Ching who plays the Chinese Matchmaker has a long list of credits including being David Bowie's China Girl in the music video of the same name.

The young leads, Yoson An, Fiona Feng and Rebekah Palmer were all under 20 at the time of casting and for all three, Ghost Bride was their first feature film.

Yoson An has gone on to feature in a HBO Asia series called Grace, and a small roll in the upcoming Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2.


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


A short main shoot of 14 days meant very long days and nights, with much of the film set at night or dusk. Ghost Bride was shot around where I live, which is on the scenic Whangaporaoa Peninsular, a sleepy seaside area above Auckland City. With filming very late nights we secured a number of seaside homes to accommodate cast and crew and we had some very enjoyable dawn after work parties.


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What can you tell us about critical and audience reception of your film so far?


Like most of my previous films, reaction to Ghost Bride has been mixed. It is more a mood piece rather than full of visceral violence, like some of my previous films (Wound).

I wanted to make a film that could be shown on cable TV/VOD, which is where most income for indie films comes from today. Ghost Bride was designed to attract a new audience and to look towards Asia as the new growth area in cinema attendance. The fact that Ghost Bride has been sold to China commercially for VOD release is a milestone for NZ cinema.


The $64-question of course, when and where will the film be released onto the general public?


Ghost Bride was released on DVD in Germany earlier in 2014 and the USA DVD release was in November -

The film has sold throughout Asia for VOD, including China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I am working on two new feature film projects, both involve other writers.

Breaking News - an investigative cable news host discovers his own father is the smoking gun in mankind’s greatest untold story??

Desire - a sexual melodrama which explores the world of an impersonator.


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


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,
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




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... 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