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An Interview with Kévin Mendiboure, Director of The Follower

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2017

Films directed by Kévin Mendiboure on (re)Search my Trash


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


The Follower is about a young video blogger called David Baker who decides to investigate the haunted house of one of his follower's.


What were your inspirations when writing The Follower?


Paranormal Activity, Creep, The Visit, Grave Encounters, V/H/S, Blair Witch.


What can you tell us about your co-writer Vincent Darkman, and what was your collaboration like?


I met Vincent Darkman during the scripting process of a French TV series. I sent him the story concept and he re-contacted me few hours later. He really liked the idea so I proposed to him to work with me on the whole script. He handled the full structure of the movie and all the dialogue. He also worked on the psychology of the characters. It was a really complete and synchronized collaboration because we have the same sensibility and understanding of the horror genre. The binom worked fully.


Why did you choose the found footage approach for The Follower, and what do you think makes your movie stand out of the crowd of found footage flicks being made of late?


Found footage always interested me since I saw Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. I remember the first time I saw Cloverfield in a theater - I really enjoyed it and wanted to do the kind of very realistic and immersive experience that found footage permits. So, naturally I used this form for my feature debut ... and the second reason is a budget matter.


Unlike many other found footage films, The Follower got a big twist in the middle and it turns into a psychological thriller. That's not a usual thing in found footage films. Secondly, we didn't want to have a film with cheap images, so we opted for proper cinematography with a good lighting.


Related to my last question, what are the challenges of making a movie the found footage-way?


Writing a script of found footage isn't an easy task. For example, as the protagonist holds the camera, he is the director and you can only show what he can see (POV). You are very limited in the narration, and it's more complicated to present different angles without justification. During the editing process, you don't have a lot of choices like in traditional movies. You have to show most the scenes without any cuts, and you can't delete shooting mistakes using other shots. Finally, the most difficult thing is to get a proper balance between professional movie and the amateurish camerawork the character would suggest.


As a filmmaker, to what extent could you identify with the film's lead character David the vlogger, actually?


I spend a lot of time on social medias, watching YouTube videos or posting short horror films. It's really hard to be watched by lot of people because it's saturated. I imagine for the background of The Follower is finding a situation that creates a sort of buzz for the protagonist.


What can you tell us about The Follower's cast, and why exactly these people?


We shot the movie in France but we wanted an English-speaking movie to distribute it in the US. So we cast the internet actors living in the area and who could act in this language. Most of the cast are native English-speakers language except Carol who is French. We found in Nicolas Shake as the lead a credible personality for the YouTuber.


You of course also have to talk about the mansion you shot a big portion of the movie in for a bit, and how did you find it and what was it like filming there?


Carol's house is the most creepy thing in the movie and it's also a kind of character. We really needed an emblematic house where people wouldn't like to go. And as the budget was quite low, the house added nice production value to the movie. I found it through one of my contact in the South of France, the place I come from near Biarritz. The house is dated from 1900's and all the decoration is native. All the team slept there during our 12 days of shooting, and it was quite creepy because we heard that it was haunted for good...


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


Shooting The Follower was very intensive and stressfull. We had only 12 days of shooting for 79 minutes of screen time. We worked a lot in the preparation process to make the shooting possible under low-budget conditions. Sleeping in that creepy house was really immersive for the creativity so we found new ideas during the shoot.


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


The movie has been released for one month only so it's a little bit early to speak about the audience. Concerning critical reception, opinions are divided. We got some really good feedback as well as less good.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


We're presently working on two feature concepts. One of them is the adaptation of my awarded horror short The Shoes, a story about demonic shoes who kill people. In its feature form, i want to explain the origin of that shoes. Secondly, we work on the development of Reality Horror Show, a thriller about a lonely girl who is participating in a strange reality TV show. For these two projects, we are looking for production companies to work with. We hope that the success of The Follower will permit us to find one.


What got you into making movies in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I started to direct movies at the age of 14 years old when I took the vacation camera of my mom. I directed several short films with my young brother as actor. Few years later, I won awards at local amateur film festivals in my city, and I went to Paris at the age of 18 to do a cinema school for 3 years. I studied at ESRA Paris, which teaches direction/editing/scripting/
lighting/effects and provides a professional cinema graduation. Eventually, I've learnt much more on the sets.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


Perfectionist, demanding, rigorous, passionate, serious, ambitious.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


Stanley Kubrick, James Wan, Sam Raimi, George Romero, Quentin Tarantino.


Your favourite movies?


Evil Dead (1981), The Exorcist (1973), The Conjuring, Blair Witch Project (1999), It, The Shining.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


Blair Witch (remake 2016), Rings (2017).


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


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


As mentioned previously, we are currently looking for a production company to finance our future feature projects.


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!!!


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Michael Haberfelner


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