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An Interview with Joseph McGovern, Director of Hush

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2018

Films directed by Joseph McGovern on (re)Search my Trash


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


Hush is an experimental psychological thriller short film concerning the subject: pro-life/pro-choice decisions involved with rape between young marital couples.


What were your sources of inspiration when writing Hush, and is any of this based on personal experience?


There were two primary sources of inspiration pertaining to this piece: First, a woman I dated out of college for a year or so was severely raped after she graduated high school and the struggles we shared but couldnít overcome. The fears and doubts; more so her story stuck with me for a few years. This experience inspired the story Hush when I started writing. 

The second source came from the film Nymphomaniac, Vol. II by Lars von Trier. One scene from Vol. II, which in my opinion was one of the most impactful scenes of the film. The protagonist discovers one character to be a pedophile but no other characters knew and she informed how he was a hero - because although his deepest desire was to be with a child, he never succumbed to this desire, this is what made him a hero - the fight everyday against his own temptations. The scene really stuck with me because I was in the middle of writing Hush while viewing it. Thatís where I found purpose behind certain actions leading up to the climax of the film.


Hush is a movie completely devoid of dialogue or even incidental sounds - was this a decision you made at the very beginning of developing the story, or did this concept creep in only later?


My original intention when writing Hush was to make it a silent film. I recorded the sound of movements and actions but not dialogue to see the direction the audience would be taken. After the film was cut and we had the sound effects in and used the audio that was taken; my sound designer, Matthew Amadio, showed me a cut with just the original score. After viewing, we found it to be a more effective experience and chose that direction.


How does making a dialogue-free movie differ from just making a regular sound movie, what are the challenges but maybe also advantages?


When making a dialogue-free film, most viewers would think you cut out sound altogether; however, you always want to take sound while filming because our ears still recognize sounds that should be made by the characterís actions or surroundings present when watching a scene on screen. Main challenges would be the actors' performances are more important through actions within the scene rather than a little movement or standing and delivering a line where emotion, emphasis, and articulation are vital. Sound effects in post are very important to have where needed, especially if sound was poorly recorded during production. In concerns of advantages, the main focus is not based on effective dialogue leading the story - donít have to be concerned with line delivery, timing, and emotional responses between characters. The interactions and reactions between the actors through body language is key for the storyís progression.


What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?


In this piece, I wanted the main focus to be the characterís actions on screen portraying the story. I didnít want the audience having the capability to hide from the intentions and symbolism of scenes through dialogue or distracting sound effects; however, the piece needed a solid original score, which Matthew Amadio provided, to assist with the emotional ranges of each scene. This allowed through the original music, editing, color grading, and performances to direct the audience through the experience of Hush.


Do talk about your cast, and why exactly these people?


Hush took many auditions to get the cast on point with the characters. The character of the young girl - Sydney  Freihofer acted in another film I produced years before, did a great job on set, and was happy to perform again for this piece. Constance Reshey and I worked together on All Over Again where she played lead character Victoria, did a wonderful job both on that film and this one - being able to play a smaller role gave her an opportunity to focus deeper into the character of Marge which she wanted. Marion Tention as the character Danny was a novice actor pursuing film and had a solid audition. The role of Mark and Betty we experienced issues concerning the controversial theme of the piece along with nudity for the role of Betty. We auditioned about three actors each: Erik Searle and Kristin Ann Teporelli were best suited for these particular roles and contained a mature perspective for the material they would be working in. The role of Suzanna, we auditioned about six to eight actresses and couldnít find one to fit or had issues with the climax this character experiences. I received a referral for Melissa Damas, she made a trip down and auditioned for the role, expressed her concerns and enthusiasm due to not being offered roles as diverse with a message she believed in. The role Jeremy we auditioned several people and many turned down the role due to the controversy behind it, especially in the climax. We finally found one actor who accepted the role and remained with the production through all rehearsals and one day stopped answering my phone calls. But I knew Anthony Scanish from another film I helped produce, brought him in for an audition - did a good job and it took him about two weeks to make a decision after the role was offered to accept it.


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


The on-set atmosphere of Hush had its moments of tension where performances carefully observed required many takes and very enjoyable moments where we could make jokes and laugh to release from the tension of the more difficult scenes.


The $64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?


At the moment while Hush is on the festival circuit itís not open on a public forum. Contact me directly so I can show you the film or once itís off the circuit it will be open for public viewing.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Hush?


Hush has screened in a couple theaters at film festivals and quite a few critics have viewed the piece in private - if anyone would like to read the critic reviews they can be found on the filmís IMDb page. What I appreciate about art is everyone creates their own interpretations upon viewing a film, painting, or photograph - Hush is a good example to serve this purpose. As the creator I left bread crumbs to lead the viewer through this particular world of drama and twisted fantasies. Discussing thoughts and purposes of the film with audiences and critics I have heard so many different interpretations of the piece separate from my original intentions for the message. Itís pretty cool.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Currently I have an OCD short film titled Inside Jonathan Fox almost wrapped up with sound design and the original score then it will hit the festival circuit for 2019. I will be going back into production within the next six months to produce a LGBTQ short film, Whoever was Lying in this Bed?


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


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Your shop for all things Thai

Please see links below to view Hush's IMDb page and my Facebook fanpage. If you would like to view the film, send me a private message.

Hush IMDb page link:

Joseph McGovern Facebook fanpage link:


Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Rape - although a very uncomfortable subject to think about, itís very important to discuss. Itís a very serious issue worldwide. In the midst of the #metoo movement there are many victims pushed into darkness, feel alone and abandoned or trapped, or have shame and canít bring this type of traumatic experience to light. The response ďNoĒ should be respected in every form of the definition.


No matter what stage youíre in with creating films or any type of project pertaining to the arts. Itís not about the accolades, itís not about the ďmoneyĒ, itís not about the ďgreat jobsĒ or acclaim. Create the art to make an impact - it doesnít have to be a feel good positive vibe either; it could be a dirty, disgusting project to demonstrate needed change within the theme. Create the art for yourself - not for others, no one will ever appreciate the project you create as much as you.  Most importantly - create the project through completion: donít stop, if you take a step back make sure you take two steps forward, it will be the most difficult project you will undertake but never give up when itís difficult, never quit. We have enough quitters in this world - be stronger, perceiver, and do it right. You will never be disappointed.;


Thank you for the opportunity and allowing me to discuss Hush and the project in further detail.




Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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and shall not be held responsible for
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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Your Bones to
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Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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directed by
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written by
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