Your movie 48
Hours in Purgatory - in a few words, what is it about?
It's a tricky movie to summarize, but
I'd say it's about how complicated we are as people. We'd like to be
easily able to categorize folks and their experiences, but that's only
possible for the most shallow of souls.
were your inspirations when writing 48
Hours in Purgatory? And since you're a filmmaker yourself, how
much of you can we find in your main character Brody?
Hours in Purgatory was fuelled by a number of things. There's a story about it's
technical genesis below, but I think the key ingredients were my interest
in observing people beyond the veneer of first impressions and my own need
to hammer through a lot of rubble from the sudden loss of my father a few
Maybe my actor
friends would disagree, but I'd say I'm not much like Brody, I don't
think. That said, there are a lot of parts to everyone. I certainly stand
directly in his shoes and take it in when Serena attempts to drive home
the point that things in life just happen, and he can't shoulder the blame
for the things he doesn't control.
Andrew Roth as Brody
Emily Alatalo as Veronique
can you tell us about your directorial approach to your subject at hand?
Well, in truth,
I was kinda of feeling my way along, as it was my first feature. I made
just about every fantastic mis-step that could be made, but learned a lot.
I really embraced some approaches, and reworked others.
writer/director I've come to realize that I only get to be possessive of
the characters until I hand off the script. Yes, I'm laying out a route
for the actors, but if I really trust the actors to get to the
heart of my characters, the film will benefit greatly. Unless the actors
stinks. But I'm sure that never happens...
I often go back
to the same actors based on this trust aspect. Those connections are hard
to forge and I treasure them, despite what some of them may think at
in a similar situation as the test subjects in 48
Hours in Purgatory, how do you think you would react?
love solitude, but that's a situation that would ruin me. In the recent
trailers there is footage of Veronique interviewing folks on the street.
Not included (so far) is the clip where she interviews me (sort of). My
reaction to the idea is negative! Maybe I'm already nuts?
Check out some
actual, unscripted street reactions here:
can you tell us about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
I could ramble
forever about these guys. There are a mix of trained actors and
one-timers. It's sometimes obvious (but sometimes not). We had limited
resources and I really wanted people I felt exemplified the characters.
Emily Alatalo wasn't
actually my first choice for Ronnie, but she was great! I suppose the fact
that she leads two of my upcoming features is a testament to how things
going unexpectedly in the casting world can sometimes lead to the best
with a number of the actors several times since, again because they are
excellent and because we have developed a great trust.
Wallace is played by my high school history teacher, Mr. Barker.
talk about the shoot as such for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere!
The shoot was a
blast. Long days, but the crew had boundless energy and were SUPER
efficient. My buddy and co-conspirator Mike Klassen was the AD and he runs
a very organized, tight ship. Thanks to that, chaos was rare and we
knocked this film out in record time, considering how much ground we had
I've had some
amazing shoots since, but I can't remember one running so smoothly as 48
$64-question of course: Where's your movie available from?
Hours in Purgatory has been waiting to hit the public for a few years and as we
have other releases coming soon, we thought it was time to set it free. It
also felt like the right project to try a new way of marketing. We kept
the price as low as we could to maxsimize the film's audience.
on DVD and even VHS (limited time) at our webstore via PayPal:
available to buy or rent digitally, hassle-free via PayPal @
far as I know, you have no less than three almost-ready films in the
pipeline. Why don't you talk about those for a bit?
Yes we do! Up
next is The Ghost is a Lie which follows a group of filmmakers
heading into the woods to take a last stab at their careers and the found
footage genre. As you might expect, this takes an unfortunate turn.
It's a project
that was entirely crowdfunded at IndieGoGo and stars a lot of actors I'd
never worked with in a format I'd never tried. It "begins"
in January, but I can't say a lot about that. The launch will be a bit
nuts, suffice it to say.
we have Inspiration, a film about a young novelist escaping a bad marriage
and returning one last time to the horror material that made her
successful. Isolated in a small Northern town, stuff begins to get pretty
weird for her and it culminates in a whole lot of crazy going-on.
Lastly in this
slate of films is Alison Undone, which we co-produced with James Morales
of Solid Weld Productions and Chad Chatterson, an independent producer and
good friend. It's a really great story about a woman with psychogenic
amnesia - missing just a short time period or event - who travels with her
fiancé and best friend to the place where she spent her last summer
before college. It turns out that sometimes forgetting is best.
future projects beyond those you'd like to talk about?
excited about the project that lays beyond those, Bitter. It's
probably my most personal script, written directly on the heels of
48 Hours in
Purgatory. We've put it off because it can't really be made
cheaply or quickly. It can certainly be an indie film, but the amount of
funds and time required will be MUCH greater than we've had the chance to
It's a story
about two women who meet in the most bizarre of circumstances and impact
each other in profound ways, even as they evade both law enforcement and a
terrifying man with eyes for retribution.
been finalized, but a financing trailer is circulating among the
prospective producers and we shall see what happens. I suspect we'll be in
production in the summer of 2014.
got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject? And what can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to 48 Hours in
Well, my training in film consisted of
devouring movies as a kid and running around with a video camera whenever
I got a chance. No schooling, though 48
Hours in Purgatory (which we
actually shot twice) and the excellent crew who were all just finishing up
film school taught me a LOT.
I played in a band for years and we wanted to wrap things up with an EP
where each song was driven by a character. Purgatory was the general
outline. I wrote a novel based on the idea (out this spring) and when we
went to film (on our own the first time around) 48
Hours in Purgatory became the event
leading up to the novel. After refinement, we crewed up and shot a
"proper" film, at least within our means for the time. The EP
never happened, but music may come back to play a part in the things we're
doing going forward.
A few words about your company
Key Films, and the philosophy behind it?
going SO hard at filmmaking, we haven't really taken the time to
philosophize a lot. That said, we just want to tell interesting stories
that entertain and hopefully provoke thought. We're artists first, and
whatever means we need to use to tell the stories we have to tell, we'll
would you describe yourself as a director?
Just a guy
trying to bring stories to life. I hear a lot of fancy words floated
about, but at the core of it, a director is just that: a guy or gal
directing traffic in an effort to tell a story they believe in. It takes
such a team effort, I can't imagine ever taking all the credit for a film.
I like to
approach everything from the characters outward. I want to see their heart
and reasons shine through whatever's going on. I feel like maybe the
"goings on" almost become the side dishes when a character is
shining via their proxy, the actor. I will gladly halt everything to
discuss character with an actor, but I love it even more when those
moments come where I can't even see the actor there beyond the character.
Then it's time to watch and "direct" (interfere) as little as
who inspire you?
I never answer these questions well,
because I think they often draw a blob of pretension out of filmmakers.
Honestly, I don't follow filmmakers specifically, but among my consistent
favourites are Darren Aranofsky, Cameron Crowe, and John Hughes. These
guys just elicit such fantastic characters and tell stories that stick in
Your favourite movies?
Here's my top
eleven (not in order), which will seem to have no reflection on my
attachment to psychological thrillers:
So I Married an Axe Murderer, Empire Records, The Labyrinth, High Strung, Say Anything,
Singin' in the Rain, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Wrestler, Halloween ('78), Ernest Goes to Camp,
(seriously), The Watchmen.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I just can't get
into the Transformers- or X-Men-movies. I don't know if there are any films
I hate, though. Safe Haven was pretty bad, I guess.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Skeleton Key Films' site: www.skgfilms.com
Hours in Purgatory: https://www.facebook.com/48HIP
Alison Undone: https://www.facebook.com/AlisonUndone
The Ghost is a Lie: https://www.facebook.com/TheGhostIsALie
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
to encourage readers to dig into independent cinema. There are amazing
stories out there that won't turn up on Amazon hit lists and box office
buzz sites. When a film is made for the love of the art, it's almost
definitely going to be excellent at the story level.
for the interview!