Your new movie Dark Moon
Rising - in a few words, what is it about?
installment of a franchise about a group of alpha werewolves seeking to find a
cure for their species. This cure is found in a more powerful and advanced
species but that species is in the form of a woman, named Dawn.
With Dark Moon
Rising being a werewolf movie, is that a subgenre at all dear to
you, and some of your werewolf-favourites?
is in Wal Mart right now and so far the response has been a very
interesting and positive. I am a fan of sci-fi and romantic comedies so
this was a great opportunity to mix the genres. I think one of my favorite
werewolf films is Silver Bullet because of the very emotional angle
of putting a child in position to save his town. It was awesome that they
took a risk with the main character’s disability even in the late
sources of inspiration when writing Dark
drew a lot of inspiration from live anime and Japanese animation. The
movie is weird because I wanted to mix horror elements and sci fi elements
together. I am excited we were able to pull off and execute a story that
can stand alone and also set up backstory, because we didn’t have a
graphic novel or a long history of material to draw from. That is why we
are excited for Dark Moon Rising 2 and 3 J
When it comes to your approach to
werewolf mythology, you've created a rather complex world more akin to
fantasy than to horror - care to elaborate?
fan of shows such as Dragon Ball Z and Ninja Scrolls
The Movie. I wanted
to create a world that was outside of the box. I agree it comes off very
disjointed but for each film I do in my company Pikchure Zero
Entertainment, I want to represent out-of-the-box films. I wanted to allow
audiences the chance to use their imaginations and not just predict a
formulaic story about a small town and a mysterious animal in the woods. I
mean if I do a film, you can say anything except you knew THAT was going
to happen. I am excited to take that basis and create more complexities
and execute things a lot better and that comes with growth and time and
more resources and that’s why our Wal Mart results will dictate so much
about the future of the franchise.
movies demand special effects almost by definition - so do talk about the
effects work on your movie for a bit!
loved the special effects. I loved that the team at Uncork’d
Entertainment let us have the freedom to show the wolf within the first
three minutes of the film and we didn’t show a leg here and an arm there
and a broken window here. It was like “there it is” J
That’s exciting and every film we have done we try and do high budget
concepts and push ourselves. So this presents the challenge of creating
scenes heavy in fantasy VFX. The fantasy world took 5 months to design and
3 months to render out because it’s done on a few computers and not at a
major studio. So for a scene where Chace meets Dawn and they talk about
love, its almost a year of work for 5 minutes. Regardless of how good you
are as a director or filmmaker that time constraint can become very
taxing and challenging and it just pushes you to think big and go for it.
We are excited that people are responding to Dark Moon
What can you tell
us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
wanted to focus in on creating a backdrop for the characters to exist. My
goal with this film was to integrate a few elements. The main element was
character development and history. How do you enlighten and entertain
without any reference material? That was the challenge and it fueled the
way Dark Moon
plays. To the untrained eye it could seem like a soup
of a lot of ideas in one film, but it’s the first movie in a franchise
so we have to leave a lot of loose ends and tell the story in a way that
leaves room to create within the world we set forth. So blessed to be in
Wal mart and Redbox as we speak in order to gage the audience’s
perspective on the film.
movie features a scene-stealing performance by fan favourite Eric Roberts
- so what was it like working with him, and how did you get him even?
Griffith my casting director works closely with us on every project, and
we sat down to decide who we could get to fill the role of Henrick. She
brought up Eric’s name and we never looked for anyone else because we
knew he was Henrick. Henrick had to be funny and smart and confident but
yet maintain a sense of mystery to him. No one embodied those
characteristics like Eric Roberts did and he is the reason the film works.
He came to set and brought a sense of purpose to the film, and all of the
actors responded. I am just glad he liked the script, because in the end
an actor of his caliber can do Dark
Knight with Christopher Nolan or a music video with Rhianna and not
miss a stride maintaining his illustrious career. To have him read my
script and sign off on being a part of my film was truly a blessing and I
am forever grateful. He and his wife Eliza Roberts, who plays Mrs.
Brownwyn in the film, are such great people that I am certain that when Dark Moon
Rising is released audiences will know it would be because they
believed in me and the film.
talk about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
can never say this enough, but the independent world allows us the liberty
to present fresh faces to the masses. Our hope is to create a movement! We
have casting directors such as Angela Griffith and Lamese Williams working
alongside us to help us search and find new faces. Khu is Asian-American
and grew up watching martial arts films with her family and as a fan of
her culture it was important she took on the role of Kaio in the film. She
speaks English and four other languages and is an amazing and stunning
actress. The lead Anastasia Antonia could walk right off the pages of your
favourite magazine and then be the girl next door with as much ease. To
see her take the character Dawn and make audiences fall in love with her
was a delight and made my job that much easier. Cameron White who plays
Chace worked with us on The Cloth, and
his talent was very apparent early on. We immediately knew we had to give
him more lines in our next film! Lisa May, who plays Feighn in the film, is
young and yet has this mysterious danger to her acting. I could go on for
days talking about Deanna Congo and Ana Lopes and Matthew Simmons who is
one of the more talented guys I have ever met. But I will just say that we
are so blessed to be able to make a film and find such up and coming
talent and it’s just the beginning for all involved as their futures are
much too bright to be defined within one film or one franchise. We are
grateful to Uncork’d Entertainment and to the fans for supporting us
because it is truly one of the main reasons we love independent films. I
can’t imagine films without the wonderful cast we have and if we never
saw their talent on stage or on the screen, we would all be lesser for it.
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
is crazy is the film spans 2 years and over 4 states. We shot in Mexico, LA,
Alton Texas and the RGV and also Georgia and Alabama. This is the
part where someone should have jumped in to limit my brain because I tend
to want to see what I see. I know that we have a lot to learn and grow
within this framework but Im willing to take 10 people to a covered bridge
in Blakely Georgia because of the woods and spend my budget doing it so
when she gets out the water, it looks beautiful. I don’t know if budgets
would allow me that freedom because so much goes into films with higher
expectations and although we risk a lot to make a film, in the end I can
live with being able to have characters speak in their heads and that be
okay. I remember on set one day we had a chair in the middle of the room
and the lighting guy and DP pulled me to the side and said, “this
doesn’t make sense, why is there a chair there for the scene?” and I
told them “it’s a movie, do we have to explain why?” and that chair
was the chair Eric got tortured in. Speaking of the covered bridge in
Blakely Georgia, on set it was at least 20 below 0 degrees Fahrenheit and
freezing that night during the camp-fire scene. The wolf-pack members had
to all come out dressed in close to nothing and the majority of the money
went into keeping actors warm. Stuntmen had pulleys and pick points set up
that eventually froze over because it was so cold so everything went to
manual pulling. So ten guys were pulling people by hand up into spider
webs and trees all for a scene that lasted about 1 minute and 30 seconds
in the film. Lisa May who plays Feighn takes guts off of a guy laying on
the ground basically sleep from hyperthermia and she flies up with grace.
That moment I will remember forever.
few words about audience and critical reception of Dark
Moon Rising so far?
we are holding strong with a 6.0 on IMDb out of 7k votes which is pretty
amazing! We have over 200k views on the trailer and thus far each film we
have done has had a great reception. That’s a blessing in itself. Dark Moon
Rising hits WAL MART today and so we are very excited for
people to buy a copy and see the special features and share in the
experience of the film.
Any future projects you'd
like to share?
you for your questions, and Dark Moon
Rising is the first of many we hope
to share. I look forward to writing graphic novels and TV series in the
future. I am developing a few projects now actually. We
have a web-series we are developing for TV and Hulu called Flesh to
Ashes and also we are doing an urban action thriller being looked at by
Lionsgate called Ace of Spades.
Ace of Spades is sort of an urban version of the skulls and centers
around a guy (Michael) who is the descendant of the black panthers trying
to bring his city together after the town is split apart by a tragic
incident. We are finishing our latest film Forsaken
to be released by Uncork’d Entertainment. The film is about a priest
who possesses his wife and damns his soul in the process, opening the
gateway to hell. We are also looking to start production on the next Dark Moon Rising
and part 2 and 3 are coming 2016-2017. The fan
response to Dark Moon
Rising 1 is very important to how far we can go with it and we are more than amped
to see what transpires with WAL MART and Vudu and VOD. We have another
film starring Ana Lopes called Internal
Revenue about organ trafficking in South America. We are hoping to
produce alongside Cristina Trevino a film about the true story of her
fallen softball coach, killed by a drunk driver called Sticks which
has a League of Their Own vibe to it. Snare is in post-production as
well and centers around underground street fighting. I would love also to
direct a film for Marvel or
Disney! To be able to tackle a character that
has a history would be ideal so I am hopeful for that as well.
What got you into filmmaking in the first
place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
Entertainment, my production company, was started from a small handy
cam and a few scripts. I attended university in NY and LA and have my
degrees in film and broadcasting. I mainly act and wanted to make films
for minorities to have a voice in different genres. I work mainly with
diverse cast and women and so far we have been very successful. That’s
what led me to start the company and I wrote a script about a nerd having
access to a secret technology, and in order for him to give up the
information, he had to get the help of the CIA to get him a girlfriend.
From there we worked on a film called The Cloth starring Danny Trejo
and it was a mixing of genres. We felt that instead of having priests use
regular weapons, why not have transforming weapons to the likes of a
sci-fi film and explain how it spanned back centuries! Since we started
this company, Khu, my producing partner, and I, we have met so many
talented artists who have vision and creative prowess at the independent
level. So we started from the grassroots of filmmaking and there is where
you will find the most inventive filmmakers. That is what makes every
film we do so special to us because we do it with the underground artist
in mind and we carry their energy throughout every phase of the creative
process. Before we began Dark Moon
Rising we sat and watched independent romantic dramas and also we
watched a lot of anime. I love anime! The idea is to grow and expand and
gather more resources to truly execute the style and look we are striving
for and we feel hopeful that after this film we can grow along with the Dark Moon
How would you describe yourself as
think I am inventing new ways to articulate the images and stories in my
head into a visual medium and with that comes a lot of understanding the
process and execution. So for me I think as it is with life it is a
constant evolving thing, it's fluid and relative to each project regardless
of subject or budget or time. I am open to failing terribly for the
craft and I breathe for the medium. I believe this is what me and my
contemporaries all do in every project and we give it to the masses to be
consumed however and whichever way God deems fit and that’s art.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Cameron, Christopher Nolan, Lynch, Affleck, Gina Prince, Katheryn Bigelow,
Julie Taymor, Lucas and Spielberg and Michael Bay to name a few.
of the Fall
and Across the Universe! Love and Basketball, Avatar,
Interstellar and Beetlejuice and The Unbearable Lightness
of Being and The Heart is a Dark Forest and Requiem for a Dream,
The Labyrinth, Closer and Moulin Rouge. I can go on
forever but I love films that take me to a place and that I can watch at
... and of course, films you really
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
only hate films that were never made… so I am mad at Legends of the
Winter... I am totally disgusted with Interstellar 2 (does he
get with Anne Hathaway!)
I have too much respect for those doing films better than me to call a
film a bad film. There is something great about everything even films done
with no budget at least it has heart and it took dedication.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
my company on Facebook:
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
you for the interview! Dark Moon
Rising is in WAL MART NOW! Go get a copy
and support film and cinema and we are excited to share with you this
first installment! Khu is up for the role of Mulan! How awesome is that!
Get it right Disney!
Thanks for the interview!