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An Interview with Kyle Schadt, Director of Silent Panic

by Mike Haberfelner

July 2019

Films directed by Kyle Schadt on (re)Search my Trash


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


Itís about three young men who discover a dead body on a camping trip. And thereís an exploration of how this affects their lives in different ways.


What were your sources of inspiration when writing Silent Panic?


Well, Iím a big fan of movies from the 1970s, so I think that some of the character driven movies from that decade inspired me, among other things.


With which of your three protagonists can you identify the most? And honestly, what would you do if you found a dead body in your trunk?


I think I identify most with Dominic personally. I think that he is probably the most like me. If I found a dead body in my trunk, Iíd call the police for sure. Especially after making this movie.


I've written in my review "While the basic premise of this movie might suggest a dark comedy, Silent Panic plays it straight" - would you like to elaborate on that?


Sure, yeah I think thatís true. I always wanted this film to feel as real as possible. And while thereís some comedic elements, I wanted to explore the serious side of how this situation affects the charactersí everyday lives.


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


Well, I try to be flexible and fast I suppose. I do have set ideas of what I want to accomplish each day, but I try to be open to the ideas of the cast and crew. And I try not to work long hours, I think everyone appreciates that.


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


Well, I felt like they all could do a great job playing each character. Sean Nateghi (Eagle), Joseph Martinez (Bobby), and Jay Habre (Dominic) all had good chemistry together. And Constance Brenneman (Robin) played a key role, I feel like the audience can relate to her character, and maybe even see the situation through her eyes.


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


We shot 75 pages in 11 days. So, we were moving pretty fast. The atmosphere was great and very collaborative. I had a great cast and crew, including a great cinematographer, Jordan Rennert.


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


Well I havenít had much of an audience reception yet. Film critic reviews have been mixed, Iíd say itís been almost an even split between positive and negative reviews, but I enjoy reading the positive ones!


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Well Iím writing another feature right now, and Iím hoping Iíll be able to get it off the ground in a couple years or so. Weíll see.


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


I saw the movie Jaws at the age of 13, and ever since, I've been interested in making movies. It was far and away my favorite movie that I had ever seen, and it was also the first time I can remember seeing behind the scenes footage about the making of a film. So, I think the combination of those two things kind of gave me a fascination with filmmaking. I graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Television, Radio, and Film, so I suppose that is my training on the subject.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Silent Panic?


Silent Panic is my first feature film on this scale. I made one several years ago that was barely 50 minutes long, and it was shot in just two days. I also made a thesis film in college, which I enjoyed.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


I would say that I am a director who is focused, but also makes sure to keep things moving. I have a lot of faith in my actors. I donít usually like to do many takes. I wouldnít say that Iím a perfectionist on set, I just try to do the best I can with the time I have. However, I believe I am probably a perfectionist in the editing room.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


Well of course Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Alfred Hitchcock etc. But the one filmmaker that inspires me, whose name doesnít get mentioned often, is Jerry Schatzberg. He made some great movies in the 1970s and 80s, including some of Al Pacinoís earliest work. I love the look and feel of his films, thereís something unique about them that I canít exactly put into words.


Your favourite movies?


Taxi Driver, Jaws, Gladiator, The Deer Hunter, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.


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


Angel Heart, Safe (1995), Heavenís Gate.


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






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


I think Silent Panic has an interesting moral dilemma. The cast did a wonderful job. The movie wouldn't be what it is without their performances.


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




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