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An Interview with Mol Smith, Director of The Chair to Everywhere

by Mike Haberfelner

June 2019

Films directed by Mol Smith on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie The Chair to Everywhere - in a few words, what is it about?

 

The movie started out as a short story. Two of the actors (Polly Tregear & Sean Botha) who played supporting roles in Abduction 2 - Revenge Of The Hive Queen - https://molsmith.wixsite.com/abduction2 - gave great performances and won my heart. I wanted to thank them and I had promised that if they did well, I would write a short film script and make a short film where they could play the main roles. I always keep my word. So, I wrote the script. Both actors have no problem with their nudity. Like me, they believe nudity is not a sexual, or taboo thing, despite changes in our culture today from say, 40 years ago. Nudity has been miscast into the realm of 'naughty' titillating content. Why? It's association with sexual actvity is a stupid misnomer and utterly wrong in every sense. We are biological machines. Surgeons, doctors, nurses all understand this whilst protecting the thing we have in us of our self-respect, and the conditioning since birth we all receive, to mind our nude selves because of the threat of violation of our innocence.

 

I conjoured the script up in one evening. A twenty minute film. But then I saw I had woven into it the seeds of many of my private thoughts about who we are, why we are here, and what the truth of human conciousness might really be. We all wonder this still, don't we? Or has the empirical materialistic science propaganda (like religious propaganda in the past) defeated not only the ever-inquiring mind, but eliminated the question itself?

I rewrote the script into an 80 minute film, and I liked it! The story wrote itself into my head. Despite ultra-small budget limitations, I felt compelled to try and put the ideas out there through a low budget film.

 

With The Chair to Everywhere revolving around teleportation and parallel universes, did you do any research on either subject, and do these topics hold a special fascination to you?

 

I research the topic of reality all the time. I have done it since I could first think. Yes, a special fascination of mine. I should have become a philosopher instead of a filmmaker because the open question of how my or your mind can exist in a seemingly vast universe on a bit of rock spinning around a nuclear furnace needs answers which have so far in human existence not been answered satisfactorily. Religion? Man made. Material science? Man made, and blinkered. I understand all the arguments, and as far as anyone can, I get quantum physics, Newtonian physics and the philosophical concepts which stand apart from, or dip and dive into the possible proofs which science might offer. (Maybe?)

 

(Other) sources of inspiration when writing The Chair to Everywhere?

 

Probably my life per se. I am old. Sixty-eight. I have a daughter. I love her dearly. I reshaped my life to enable her experience of this world to be well informed, and to ensure she too ponders the meaning of being here, if there is one at all ...

Countless books, ideas, concepts about reality add to that. The question of "Are we real at all?" is a contemporary idea given the view of virtual reality and the new vista which computers have provided us with. I was once a computer programmer too. People way back in the past considered the idea too. The Greeks saw us as pawns and players on the Gods' chess boards, for example. Traditional religions consider we are all here to distil out good from evil in some kind of universal battle which will decide our fate. I think not. I believe all their descriptions are wrong. But I do believe their common underlying notion is correct. We are here for a reason. I think no-one has yet found the right answer. I have my own view on this and it is wrong of me to try and project it on others. My film does not do that. It suggests one of the ideas (one I believe to be wrong, actually), hopefully to encourage others not to forget the question: "Why am I here?"

Science fiction writers in the past, Arthur C. Clark, in one of his stories, probably developed the idea central to the story first in my life. Other films have followed: The 13th Floor, The Matrix are two good ones.

 

The Chair to Everywhere deals with some pretty vast topics, and yet it's filmed in very confined locations - so how limiting but maybe also liberating was that, and what were some of your methods to keep things interesting on a visual level?

 

Single location films end up like stage plays and lack the breadth of vista and the luxury of taking the viewer to new environments. It suffocates films and story-telling. Alas, budget restrictions create the requirement however to control and manage the location. One location. So one has to dream up a 'device' to keep the viewer entertained on a low budget to make it eaier to accomplish the story, even at the sacrifice of visual breadth.

 

I made the two chairs to be characters too. The people who arrive in them, paint their world in emotional exposition - like radio plays - and fill in the missing vistas. I would have loved to have shown their stories visually, but did not have the money for that. Containing the story into a single location makes it much easier to produce.

 

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

 

Set it up. Pick actors I can trust to see the journey through. Dive in. Get it done on time, improvise as we go. Stick to the story. Consider when I or my friend and colleague Kemal Yildirim [Kemal Yildirim interview - click here] shoot the  film, how I will edit it together later. Make the shots work for the edit and the small scale CGI. I don't direct. I set the stage, describe the story, suggest how the characters should behave, say what they should be saying, leave it to the actors to produce the goods. I also want them to enjoy the process, have fun being someone else. Unlike a lot of film makers, I think, I want the journey of all involved to be a balanced one. Yup, we are coming together to tell a story, to embrace an audience - one or millions - and work hard at trying to accomplish that. I believe the people involved should have a protected and encouraging experience. Many of the actors, nah! all of them... well they are a lot younger than me. I want to add to their experience in a positive way. The story is important. The audience is important. The actors and crew, even any extras, should have a good time making the story try and present itself to other minds and hearts. Direction? That's it. And stick to time schedules, overcome any issues which crop up, work as one to get it done as well as we can within the limitations and resources we have at our disposal.

 

From what I know, you also did all the visual effects work on The Chair to Everywhere - so what sort of a challenge was that?

 

Every time we shot a sequence, I had the effects in mind. When I wrote the story, I only wrote in what I thought I could do easily with low budget software and equipment to create the effects. Just in case other younger filmmakers, on low budget, are interested, I used the following software (quite affordable and basic to create the effects): Poser Pro (a 3D model manipulation and animation program, like Daz 3D, which I never quite got to grips with); Photshop - to bring frames out of the edit line to adjust, save, and put back into the edit line again -, Adobe Premiere - quite an old version (a bit buggy), but I'm used to it and employ 'get-arounds', HitFilm to produce a lot of light and energy effects, and I licensed some library footage - wonderfully conceived, from Pond5.

 

Boy, did I get that one wrong. The CGI effects! The editing took me six long arduous months, often frame-by-frame to get the effects to look anywhere near convincing. I'm not certain if I would ever try to do that again as the journey proved to be immensely difficult and burnt me out which I am slowly still recovering from. Low budget might mean a film gets made next to nowt financially, but it does not mean it can be done without other costs involved which are not financial. I took a mental hit. I am still getting over it. This is not a negative thing. Everyone involved making a film puts their heart and soul into it. There is always a 'getting-over-it' period so the creative talents can normalize again. Big budget or little budget, it takes a toll on all involved just like any other kind of big effort of work. Recovery takes a little time and then the compulsion in creative people demands their attention again. We are all, I feel, us creative people, slaves and victims of our creative impulse and cannot live a normal life anyway. The world would be a very grey place without the creative and often sacrificial desire of artistic people who have an inner need to paint alternatives or reflect the life they see. A bit deep? Maybe. But fame is not the goal. Actors and filmmakers are driven by an impractical insanity born of their desire to produce another mini-world they can escape to. The receivers, the audience wish to be taken there too, and are not pleased if the illusion created doesn't carry them there totally. Odd, isn't it?

 

Do talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people? And considering that all castmembers, male and female, do get naked at one point or another in The Chair to Everywhere (in non-sexual situations), did that at all make casting your movie more difficult?

 

Polly and Sean led the cast. I love them both dearly and I think they should have been born in my early time in life as they would have made great hippies! Casting to get any actor to appear 100% naked in a film stinks of all kinds of negative and suspicious intention. So, yes! Difficult, and it takes a lot of trust from all involved right at the start. We live in times of increased awareness of exploitation of people for sexual gratification. And for good reason. But I am one of those people who tries to say it how it actually is and not deceive others. Some people get it, others... well, their suspicions out-weigh the attempt at meeting up together at an audition to get a 'feel' for the truth of things. I know what I am doing. I want never to put anyone I work with in any bad situation. I was very fortunate to have found the rest of the actors who gave me their trust and confidence: Jenifer Leahey, Sara Parker, Carmen Silva, Eloise O'Brian, Samantha Fields, and of course my good friend Kemal Yildirim [Kemal Yildirim interview - click here].

 

The additional 'travellers' were all given their edited sequences from the film and asked if they wished me to change anything. A few things could not be changed. I promised to minimise as much as their intimate aspects without making the film seem as if its deliberately avoiding their nudity (which I see everywhere in films and consider such processes dispel the illusion and make a film pop out as being unreal and contrived). The hiding away out of camera sight of our bodies is done by mass media big-budget film producers bent on getting their movie to the widest audience possible for profit. I am not interested in financial profit from my films, I am interested in telling a story as convincingly as I can. If I wanted to make money from it, I would make Disney-inspired films and make the money from the toy franchises and  the receipts of money from toys sold at Christmas. I wish to entertain people. I find cast and crew who share my goal. People I can trust to see the journey through, people I enjoy being around. I hope then to welcome the film audience to join us in our journey produced through actor performance and dedicated people working together for paltry wages to create an illusion: a movie.

 

The female actors understood the storyline and were each willing to appear naked in their scenes to embrace the plot fully instead of finding 'get arounds' to maintain their body privacy. They are real creatives who understand we are dispelling the scaffolding and ensuring the telling of a story is not to be inhibited by cultural or topical sound bytes. We are all animals, no different to other living entities. There is no shame in being naked. That is just an arrogance in human beings to make us think we are superior to the wild beast. We're not. Wearing clothes is what allows us to do terrible things and to create divisions in our kind. We don uniforms and assume it gives us rights to control other people. We become soldiers, judges, prison wardens. Imagine them trying to do their jobs while naked. See my point? Nakedness is not sexy. It's just natural. But civilisation has placed inhibition on our cultures making nakedness be wrongly considered as 'iffy'. The concept of the film required the actors to arrive and leave in the chair naked. It's like the only thing our universe is after is the raw data, the abstract experience of conscious minds, not the trappings or props (our bodies) of the physical stage on which consciousness plays out its journey.

 

What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

The film was shot only at weekends as a series of short 2 day events. The chairs were kept in situ along with all the trappings of the set for several months. This made it easier to manage, having only a minimum of actors on set each time. All the actors found it easy to work with each other and the crew, myself, Kemal Yidirim, and Lesley Evans. It all went smoothly. No one felt embarrassed or goggled at. We were all so busy doing our jobs, naked people just became normal. It's like if you visit a nudist beach. Initially it's a bit strange. Within 15 minutes or so, you are no longer thinking about it and you feel completely relaxed.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of The Chair to Everywhere?

 

Yes. A little. Reviews on Amazon have started. Each person comments on the nudity as though it were gratuitous, which it isn't. I think it shows the damage that cultural propaganda has had on anything where people are nude. It is as though by the mere inclusion of a naked person, you are some kind of lecher or worse. In the past two decades, maybe longer, the extent to which filmmakers can reflect humanity as the living beings they are when in private: the bathroom, the bedroom, has been eroded away. But it seems it's okay to show naked people in multi-billion block-busters like Game Of Thrones and few people mention it. But the small budget, indie film maker gets abusive and unfair personal criticism and insults. I pay no attention to such remarks. Most of the people remarking in this way, I believe (rightly or wrongly) are people using the feedback review on Amazon to empower themselves because in all likelihood, those very people have miserable lives and are impotent in their actions and ambitions. You only normally get reviews from the negative slant. People who enjoyed the film don't bother. We often criticise, but rarely do we take time out to praise in all walks of life.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

We are currently working on the shoot of my friend and colleague's (Kemal Yildirim [Kemal Yildirim interview - click here]) film: Wastelands. Another few weekends and it should be done, or at least my involvement in it. Then I'll start shooting a set of shorts with a common theme which will be stitched together as an anthology feature film or released as an episodic series. I can't really say more about it as I'm still writing some of the scripts.

 

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

 

Phew. A few. But these are the important ones for now:

http://www.onviewcinema.net - all our films to watch on a streaming channel.

http://www.onviewfilms.net - our official web site.

http://www.thechairtoeverywhere.net - official web site of the movie.

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/thechairtoeverywhere/

https://www.facebook.com/onviewfilms/

 

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USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports ?
Find Mol Smith here ...

Thailand  eThaiCD.com
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Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

There's just one thing. If anyone reading this liked The Chair to Everywhere, maybe they could write a short positive review on Amazon (if they saw it there). It really helps to get the film seen and it helps to keep it on Amazon.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Many thanks for listening. Forgive me for talking too much. And thank you for giving me an opportunity to talk about my movie and movie work.

 

© 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
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD