First of all, why don't you introduce yourself to those of us who
don't already know you?
My name is Jeff Schneider I am a
producer and director here in Salem, Oregon USA. I have worked on
about a dozen feature films and several shorts. I enjoy shooting, visual
FX and editing as well. I have been a managing partner in Masch Productions and
WJD Films with Abel Martinez jr for the last several
Let's talk about your upcoming Fading Flowers
- in a few words, what's it going to be about?
really excited about this film, it captures the suspense and uneasy
feeling I enjoy in this type of films. That feeling of dipping into the
surreal as the lead character unravels and not knowing if it's her or the
world around her toying with her sanity. I absolutely love Luc Bernier's
Bernier interview - click here].
How did the project get off the ground in the first place?
is started with Luc writing a great script. Then Luc
was looking for support and has always supported my projects. One of the
biggest benefits of owning your own equipment is you can dedicate
resources out of the gate. Once I read the script and Luc had already had
commitments from Helene Udy [Helene
Udy interview - click here] and Donna Hamblin [Donna
Hamblin interview - click here] to be in the picture, I
really felt this was something I wanted to be a part of. We
literally green-lit the project in less than 24 hrs.
Do talk about Fading Flowers' writer Luc Bernier [Luc
Bernier interview - click here], and what's your collaboration
Luc is a very passionate person and working with him
is so easy because we both want what's best for the project. What's great
too is we are on the same page that film making is an organic process and
constantly evolving, nothing is set in stone. Film is such a great artform
because it's constantly changing like a symphony of images, emotions and
sounds, so it's such a great experience to work with someone like Luc
who has such an open and creative mind.
What can you tell us
about Fading Flowers' approach to horror (as in suspense vs sudden
shocks, atmosphere vs all-out gore and the like), and is horror per se a
genre at all dear to you, and why (not)?
I love Luc's
approach, and our approach on this project is suspense-driven, as Luc
describes it "a slow burn". I love films that are psychological
thrillers especially when the twists and suspense are artfully done.
few words about the film's general look and feel?
into madness like that bad dream where you keep waking up and keep trying
to scream and just can't. You're in a familiar place but something is off
and you just can't get comfortable. Then just when you find that spot of
comfort the hum of confusion starts swimming in your brain until it's a
freight train and you realize you are standing on the train tracks with
the train barreling down on you. As for the look we are going mostly with
that indie desaturated feel with moments of dreamlike sedation.
you can tell us about Fading Flowers' projected cast yet, and why
exactly these people?
Luc already had the two female leads
in his mind when he was writing and we are still casting the male leads.
Luc has know Helene [Helene Udy
interview - click here] and Donna [Donna
Hamblin interview - click here] for a long time and honestly the three of
them have been part of this project a lot longer than I have. These parts
were tailored to them specifically and in Luc's mind they are exactly who
he envisioned. I am excited to work with the both of them.
far as I know, Fading Flowers is still in pre-production - so how
far along is it, and what's the schedule? And any idea yet when and where
the film might be released yet?
We are in talks with
distribution and we are expecting to shoot in September in Oregon.
other current and future projects you'd like to talk about?
and WJD films have several projects in development including Awaken,
vampire trilogy, Axeki, and Deep in the Hole as well as others. My focus
right now is Fading Flowers.
From what I know, you entered
the showbiz-world as a circus performer - so what can you tell us about
that part of your career?
It was some of the best times of
my life: I hand-raised animals, did pole climbing, hoop diving, juggling,
and was a magician's assistant. They are a lot of parallels with filmmaking,
you develop new friendships on every shoot and both are traveling life
styles filled with amazing people. When you go through hard times and good
times in that environment the friendships are life long for certain. WJD
Films is named after William Jack Davis who owned the circus I worked with
until he passed on.
What got you into filmmaking eventually,
and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
in Salem, Oregon, a cable access station, allowed me to recieve an education
in filmmaking for almost no money and is a publicly funded program
allowing just about anyone access to thousands of Dollars worth of
equipment to use. I cant say enough about Charles Lewis and the crew there,
I would not be making movies if they were not there. I also was fortunate
to work with Anthony Pierce and Una Jo Blade, who really taught me how to
shoot an indie film on a limited budget. They showed me making
movies is hard work and if you're willing to work you can make it happen.
talk about your filmwork prior to Fading Flowers!
Noir was the first feature film I shot and produced along with Burn off,
and now Fading Flowers. I associate produced on Terrible Angels with
Michael Madsen and I am really excited to work with Patrick Kilpatrick,
Costas Mandylor and Nina Bergman on the Burn off-reboot. I also enjoyed
working on The Speak, A Haunting at Silver Falls, American Disciples and
Scamelot. What I found is the more experience on set you get, even if
just a PA starting out, you get to learn the business and see how a set
How would you describe yourself as a director?
would say a collaborator who enjoys the organic process of allowing a film
to be the best it can.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Gilliam I think, Time Bandits, Brazil, Tideland, he always made me feel
like you do when you have a fever and you're floating just outside of
yourself. There is a strangeness, a sort of mysticism his movies.
Like you're dreaming awake or had a drink of absinthe.
Star Wars I saw when I was 5, prior to
that Forbidden Planet was sci-fi to me. Star Wars blew my mind. Time
Bandits, Wrath of Khan, Alien, Angel Heart, Galaxy Quest,
Halloween, and I am
sure I will get flack for it, but for campy movies I love Starship
... and of course, films you really deplore?
know, after making movies I am much more hesitant to put other peoples work
down. I used to feel that a movie with a 50 or 100 million Dollar budget
had no excuse to not be awesome. I spoke with a UPM who worked on the
first X-Men and said that must be great having a huge budget, but he
corrected me he said "the bigger the budget the bigger the
headaches, if you have 100 million budget they want you to stretch it to
110 million, if you have a 250,000 budget they want to stretch it to
300,000, so your problems don't go away they just get bigger." This of
course was a letdown to hear :)
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
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Your/your movie's website,
Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
No excuses, get out there and make
a movie - that is the best advice I can give, get on a set, make
yourself memorable and valuable, and soak up as much as you can.
for the interview!
No, thank you, I wish you best, it was