Your new movie Here Lies Joe
- in a few words, what is it about?
Here Lies Joe is a film
about hope. Joe (Dean Temple) is a depressed man at the end of his rope when
he meets a manic woman named Z at a Suicide's Anonymous meeting. They share a
perfectly bizarre afternoon together and ... drama ensues ...
Of the two main characters of Here
Lies Joe, Joe and Z, who do you identify with more, actually? And
if you can forgive the personal question, have you ever had any suicidal
If I had to choose, I would probably say
Joe, but really, Pamela Conway (my amazing co-writer) and I put so much of each
other into both Joe and Z that it's really difficult to separate them.
To answer your second question, I have been
to that dark place as many of us unfortunately have. I remember looking
out of the window one morning - a gorgeous summer afternoon - and seeing
hell. It's something a lot of people have a hard time understanding unless
they've been there themselves, and I think there's still a lot of
ignorance around what depression really is. I've never been suicidal, but
I've been dangerously close to it and I know what it's like to have your
mind betray you.
Your sources of inspiration when
writing Here Lies Joe?
film was entirely inspired by my unexpected and wonderful friendship with
my co-writer, Pam Conway. Throughout the writing process, our relationship
continued to influence and mold the story - really, down to real life
dialogue that made it into the final film.
can you tell us about your co-writer Pamela Conway, and what was your
collaboration with her like?
While I was finishing work on my previous
short film, The Convict, Pam was hard at work on a novel she had been
writing. We were both so excited about character and story that I pitched
this idea I had had to her about these two off-beat characters who meet in
an unlikely place and form this interesting and beautiful bond.
It took us a long time to get it all right.
We brainstormed for a couple of years. She would write short stories based
on our conversations, then I would adapt those stories screenplays. Our
collaboration was so tight that I honestly couldn't tell you who wrote
what line anymore or whose idea was whose.
What can you tell us about
your directorial approach to your story at hand? And how does one approach
a delicate subject matter like Here
Lies Joe's even?
I knew that if we were going to
attempt to make a film about suicide, we had to be respectful of the
subject. However, I also wanted to keep it real - and real means that it's
not always dreary and hopeless, I mean, you come up for air every once in
a while, you know? There is humor. Things make you laugh. There are little
things; little moments that pull you out. Those things eventually save
you, even if you don't see them in the moment.
In the end, I think it
all made sense when we realized that we didn't make a film about suicidal
at all -- we made a film about possibility.
Do talk about your cast, and
why exactly these people?
I am so proud of everyone in this film.
Dean Temple, whom I had the great pleasure
of working with on The Convict, brought this tremendous humility and
honesty to the role of Joe. He was a man defeated by life who, at the same
time, was also looking for a reason to live. Dean is one of those very
talented actors who puts 150% of himself into every character; he was the
perfect choice to bring the complexities of Joe to the screen and he
The character of 'Z' frightened us. She was
so gloriously complex and confounding, manic and capricious. We knew that
if we didn't find the perfect actress to bring her to life, that
the film would fall apart. It took us a long time to discover her and I
remember telling Pam during the casting process that we may have to stop
everything if she didn't reveal herself to us soon. Then, we found Andi
Morrow. I recall her first audition and how I knew our search was over in
the first two minutes. She knew the character's entire backstory; what her
childhood was like, what books she had read, why she had become who she
had become. Finding Andi was a miracle --- she respected Z as much as Pam
and I did and that was no small order. The Z onscreen is the Z we wrote
long before we began searching for the actress to play her.
I had worked with Mary Hronicek (who plays
the unhinged Carol in Here
Lies Joe) in The Convict with Dean
Temple and we had filmed this wonderful scene with her for two days that
was eventually cut from the film due to pacing issues. As soon as we wrote
Carol, I immediately knew that Mary would have a lot of fun with her. Mary
had also dressed a couple of sets for us in this film. Her enthusiasm and
passion for indie film matches our own and I can't wait to work with her
again. She's so wonderful and talented and passionate -- any production
would be improved with her onboard.
I met Timothy J. Cox through Travis
Mitchell, who also worked with us on The Convict. Tim plays Bill in
Lies Joe and brought this wonderful quirkiness to the character and
made him real. That was important to us; that each character, no matter
how small a role, feel real and Tim's character was no exception. Who
knows, there may be a spin-off for Bill sometime in the future ... he is
certainly worthy of it.
What can you tell us about the
shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
Filming Here Lies Joe
was brutally HOT. We
shot it over three long weekends in the middle of summer heat, many days
in which we spent crammed into a small car with the windows up and no air
It was, for me, the most challenging and
exhausting shoot by far, but also the most rewarding. We all suffered
together and everyone was willing to go the extra mile despite how
uncomfortable it was.
$64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?
we've just begun the festival submission process so we're hoping it can be
seen very soon! Our official festival premiere screening will be Friday,
Apr 15th at the Monadnock International Film Festival in Keene, New
Hampshire - Andi and I have been honored to sit on a panel following the
screening and we're very excited to meet and chat with the audience and
other local filmmakers.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of your movie yet?
have been completely and utterly overwhelmed by the generous praise this
little film has received. You always hope you're making a film that will
not only satisfy yourself but an audience as well. I hope the film's
message resonates with people and gets them talking. It's such an
important subject and it needs attention now.
future projects you'd like to share?
My process is
frustratingly and embarrassingly slow. I have several notebooks filled
with film ideas that aren't quite 'there yet.' It's getting dangerously
close to the one year mark, now, since Here Lies Joe wrapped and I'm getting antsy
for something to reveal itself.
What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on
I love films and I just picked up a camera one
day and started making them!
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Here Lies Joe?
Lies Joe is my fourth short film. My previous films, Victim,
Janitor and The Convict have all been evolving towards my
attempts at understanding 'difficult-to-understand' people. I love flawed
characters and all of their curious complexities; there is no black and
white, but this interesting shade of grey. I love exploring that and
sharing that with an audience -- challenging them to find themselves in
How would you describe yourself as a director?
I suppose I would say that I'm very much a
Every time I make a film, I always think
that I've figured something out and that the next time will be easier.
That has not been the case; every project brings new challenges and it
always feels like I'm starting over again!
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Hitchcock, John Hillcoat, Fincher, Soderbergh, Jonze, Paul Anderson,
Wes Anderson ... list goes on ...
Your favourite movies?
So many!! Too many ...
... and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Hmm ... that's a very good question!! I suppose I deplore .... any film
that's born out of the depressing, Hollywood, formulaic, money-grabbing
machine. There are some brilliant indie films out there that no one knows
about and it's just criminal.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to
Thank you, everyone, for continuing to support indie film!!!
Thanks for the interview!