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An Interview with Dav Kaufman, Director of 13 Hours in a Warehouse

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2008

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Your debut as a director, 13 Hours in a Warehouse, has just been released. Would you like to tell us what that film is about?


I think that Jason Buchanan from the All Movie Guide said it best:

As five underworld heavies settle in for an all night stay at an abandoned warehouse and former film studio, a series of bizarre and unsettling occurrences quickly lead them to believe they are not alone. It was supposed to be a simple night of babysitting a single hostage, but when a series of numbers began to appear on the walls, things soon took a dark turn. Later, after the hostage escapes, the perplexed thugs not only learn that there is a rat in the ranks, but also discover the unsettling nature of the films that were shot in the warehouse. Now, as terror takes hold, the thieves are about to discover that they are being stalked from the shadows and that their odds of living to see daybreak are shrinking with each passing minute.


How did you come up with the idea for the plot, and where do you draw your inspiration from?


The inspiration for this film came somewhere deep inside the dark recesses of my weirdo oblongata. Usually my scripts get pretty complex, so I set out to test myself to see if I could write a script that took place in one location, with a handful of characters and make it something that would be both entertaining and engrossing for the audience. 13 Hours in a Warehouse was what came out of that test. Once I had the plot, the characters, and the conflicts, I had a first draft of the script written in five days. As much as I try to stay true to my own ideas and formulas, I guess the writing style of Tarantino creeps into my scripts, and as a director, Hitchcock’s work often speaks to me.


The film was once described as "Reservoir Dog with ghosts". How happy are you with that comparison?


I think it’s an interesting comparison, but I also think it oversimplifies what the film is about.


How easy/difficult was it to get the project off the ground?


There’s an old saying “All overnight success stories have ten years of hard work behind it.” That is very true for me. I don’t believe I’m an overnight success, nor will I ever be, because I look at success as a journey, not as something you achieve and then move on. To get my career to the point it is at now took me about ten years to accomplish. This project, however, was fully funded and into pre-production within six months after I wrote the script.


A few words about your actors and crew?


The film had a total budget of under $100,000. For that, I felt that I was going to have live with a lot of things that I knew I wanted but couldn’t afford. Cast and crew being one of them. However, the caliber of talent we had in this film was nothing short of astounding. I simply couldn’t have asked for a better cast. The crew was also amazing. It’s because of them that you’d never know the film was shot for so little money.


You shot your film in Minneapolis, Minnesota. What can you tell us about the film scene there?


I think my previous answer about our cast and crew can be cut and pasted here as well. There is a huge talent pool in both cast and crew in this state. The support services are there as well, and the Minnesota Film and TV Board is one of the best in the country.


When and where will the film be available?


The DVD will be globally released through Maverick Entertainment’s Creep FX division on October 28th, 2008 - 15 months after we wrapped principal photography. It will be available in all rental locations (Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, etc.), all online rental sites (Netflix, Blockbuster online) and most retail locations (Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, etc.).


Your website/mySpace/whatever else?


Official site is:

Myspace is:


Is horror a genre especially dear to you?


Dear to me? No. I really enjoy the anything-goes mantra of the genre, but my strengths lie in more dramatic pieces.


13 Hours in the Warehouse is your first feature film as a director, but you have been in the film business for years. What can you tell us about your career prior to the movie?


When anyone first starts out in this world, you take what you can get when you can get it. I started as a PA on any film I could get involved with that shot in Minnesota. From there I moved up to being an AD. When I moved out LA in 1998, I began producing student films at UCLA, essentially getting to go to film school for free. When I moved back to Minnesota in 2001, I wrote a novel, started a small publishing company, and was a concert promoter for a while putting on the biggest music, film, and comedy festival in the upper Midwest - the Wild River Music, Film and Comedy Festival. Unfortunately, it was a lot of work for a little money, so I went back to my roots in film following that.


Any future projects you'd like to talk about?


Right now I’m working on a pet project, a documentary titled Herpers on reptile fanatics of which I am proud to say I am one. The film will have segments with Chad Brown from the NE Patriots, Henry Lizardlover, and Slash. We’ll wrap that up in October, then it’s back into the narrative world with a psychological thriller titled The Psychosis of Ghosts, which we’ll film hopefully in January, but because of the heating situations in these vacant hospitals, it may be pushed back to spring. In the fall of ’09, I’ll be going into production on Hugo Kreigler, which will introduce a new movie monster to the world.


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Directors who have really influenced you?


Spielberg is a big one, and I’m not ashamed at all to say that. Hitchcock is a biggie as well as Ridley Scott, Lawrence Kasdan, and Edward Zwick.


Besides being a (first-time) director you are also an accomplished writer and have written quite a few screenplays that are currently in various stages of development. Would you like to talk about any of them?


Other than the two I previously mentioned, I have a few others lined up. Immaculate Corrosion is a crime/drama/thriller, Elysium Coast is based on my next novel which is based on a true story of one man’s struggle to save a sea turtle nesting beach from a pack of greedy poachers, Dreamnet is another thriller which shows how easy it would be for a dictatorship to rise in this country, and I’m developing a TV series titled Tex-Mex, which is a dramedy that takes place in a small neighborhood restaurant.


Plus, you have also written and published a novel, Lake Desire, back in 2003. A few words about that one?


The book was written from a screenplay I tried hard to get made in the post-9/11 economy. I spent a few years dealing with rightfully frightened investors, then decided to publish the story as a novel, and move on.


Your main influences as a writer?


I love Stephen King simply because he is a fantastic writer, not just because of what he writes about.


Your favourite movies?


I enjoy most of the post-classic blockbusters of the 70's - Jaws, Star Wars, Close Encounters, etc.


... and some movies you have really deplored?


I am constantly turned off by the great Hollywood recycling bin. Nothing original is coming out of that town, but yet I still give them plenty of chances to let me down. Most noteworthy is Bug. Huge potential, nothing there. Tarantino’s Death Proof was another like that. And don’t get me started about the King-dumb of the Crystal Skull


Besides film, another interest of yours is reptiles. Would you care to talk about that for a bit?


I have been into reptiles since I caught my first garter snake when I was 10. Since then, I have not spent a lot of my life without them around me. In my office as I write this, I have a Dumeril’s Boa, and Savanah Monitor, and couple Leopard Geckos. There are no other animals on earth like them. I absolutely adore them.


Anything else you are dying to tell us and I've just forgotten to ask?


Just a thanks to all that have supported me and my work over the years. The best is yet to come…


Thanks for the interview.


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



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



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner


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