Your upcoming movie Scary Little Fuckers (A Christmas Movie) - in a few words, what is
And how did the project fall together in the first place?
I had recently completed my last film, Right There, and I was looking for
my next project. Lenny Schwartz
was a very well known and successful playwright and screenwriter and I had
heard wonderful things about him. In
late 2013 I simply reached out to him asking if he would ever like to
collaborate on a project. Over the
next several months we kicked ideas back and forth, and then one day Iím
sitting across from him over coffee and he gets this wild look on his face and
then briefs me on a short script that he wrote several years ago, titled
ĎScary Little Fuckersí. He
told me it was originally written with Richard Griffin in mind for the
director [Richard Griffin
interview - click here]. I read it and instantly
knew that this was a film I wanted to do. A few phone calls later, and I had learned that Richard gave his
blessing for me to direct it. At
the time I knew that producing this film was going to be a very ambitious
endeavor, so I immediately reached out to the original intended director,
Richard Griffin, and asked him if heíd be interested in coming on board as
one of my producers. He did, and
was instrumental in practically every aspect of getting the film made. (SorryÖthat was more then a few words.)
can you tell us about your writer Lenny Schwartz, and what was your
is a loaded question. Lenny is
one of the most brilliant and gifted writers I have ever met. Our collaboration on this has been a pleasure.
As I just mentioned the script was done and ready to go. However,
Lenny is a very accomplished playwright and screenwriter so it was very
important to me to make sure that this film encapsulates all of those
special Lenny qualities. I
immersed myself by reading many more of his scripts, watching some recent
films that he wrote, and attending many of his plays. Even though Lenny wasnít directly involved in the production of
this film, I wanted everything to be transparent with the status of the
production with him. He was
included during the casting process, rehearsals, and was instrumental in
helping us find our main location. Iíve
treasured each and every moment that Lenny and I have spent together on
The Fookahs themselves, what can you
tell us about them, and how are they achieved, special effects-wise?
Fookahs were definitely the most challenging aspect of our pre-production.
We are extremely fortunate to have Margaret Wolf on our crew who
not only was our special effects makeup artist, but also the designer and
architect of the Fookas. Iím
so happy with what she was able to achieve on our limited budget. The design of them is quite simple, but absolutely perfect for what
we needed them to do for our film. We
created about a dozen puppets in total and each one has a unique look and
can you tell us about your movie's approach to horror?
would not classify Scary Little Fuckers (A Christmas Movie)
as a horror film.
It has horror elements, but we are not hiding the fact that this is
a comedy that is poking fun at the horror genre. That said, we are not out there to truly scare or gross out our
audience. In all honestly,
Iím not even a huge fan of horror. Yes,
I do have an appreciation for the classics, but the horror I have always
been attracted to is either the type that doesnít take itself too
seriously or is more of a psychological horror (Rosemaryís Baby or
of the Devil).
can you tell us about Scary Little Fuckers (A Christmas Movie)'s key cast, and why
exactly these people?
this film was definitely a pure joy for me. Scary Little Fuckers (A Christmas Movie)
is essentially a comedy, so having an ensemble of actors who
play off each other and implement impeccable comedic timing was key. Our main cast, Rich Tretheway, Josh Fontaine, and Anna Rizzo were
amazing. They are like the
three stooges of horror/comedy in this film. Rich Tretheway was a no-brainer when we witnessed him audition for
the role of Saul, a functioning alcoholic and father of fifteen year old,
Kyle. Josh Fontaine stepped
into the role of Kyle when the original actor had to back out due to a
scheduling conflict. I
didnít know Josh too well when we got started and I admit I was a little
nervous about what he was going to bring to the character. But during our first audition, I knew that he was absolutely
perfect for the role. Our
third stooge was Anna Rizzo. When
we held our audition, there must have been about 20 actresses that came
out to try to land that role. Most
of them were very good, a handful of them would have landed the role, but
then Anna Rizzo walked into the room and read for the role of Peggy and we
were blown away. The role of
Peggy was written as an 80ís Atari-era hormonal teenager, and girlfriend
of Kyle. Anna Rizzo brought an
emasculating quality to her role that we knew was going to be great.
Rizzo, Rich Tretheway
Do talk about the shoot as such,
and the on-set atmosphere!
amosphere on the set was the
best of both worlds. It was
fun and casual. Most of the
crew had all worked together before so there was great camaraderie on the
set, and when we had to get down to business we all put our game faces on
and tackled each scene efficiently and professionally.
The $64-question of course,
when and where will the film be released onto the general public?
this fall or early winter there will be a public screening.
All the details are yet to be determined. The main thing we need to figure out is how to properly screen it
but in a way that wonít alienate us from certain film festivals which
target films that will premier with them. Rolling out the film in general has its challenges.
Due to the title alone, a lot of mainstream outlets wonít be
receptive to our film. Targeting
film festivals and conventions such as Fantastic Fest, Rock and
Film4 Frightfest, and Boston Comic Con are most likely the type of avenue
we will go with.
I Am Monroe
future projects you'd like to share?
2nd half of 2015 is going to be a eventful stretch.
Along with Scary Little Fuckers (A Christmas Movie)
soon, I also produced and directed another short film, Next/Door
written by Brian Pickard which is also in post production and should be
completed around the same time. Itís
a dark erotic drama about a treacherous and toxic love triangle between a
few apartment dwellers. The
film stars three of my favorite local actors, David Kopcych, Lindsey
Elizabeth Cork [Lindsey
Elisabeth Cork interview - click here] and Gio Castellano. I
am also excited about a feature I had the pleasure of co-directing with
co-director/writer/producer Jocelyn Padilla [Jocelyn
Padilla interview - click here], I Am Monroe, which
should also be completed this fall. After
these releases Iím planning on taking a short break from production, but
only because Iím gathering my strength to tackle my first produced
feature film, Higher Methods written by Lenny Schwartz. Weíre in the very early stages of pre-production.
Mostly fundraising and creating a business plan for it.
What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on
think filmmaking has always been a part of me even when I was a kid.
Home movies were a big part of my life growing up. My family owned one of those 35mm home movie cameras and we took it
everywhere. I loved
documenting family vacations with it. Later on in my early teens my family bought this huge Panasonic VHS
camcorder that I pretty much wore out over the next 10 years filming
random life events. At the
time I didnít know that this was an early education on filmmaking, and
it wasnít until I got to high school that I realized I thought of it as
a potential career path. I had
a great media teacher (Liz Thibodeau) in my senior year in High School who
really championed me to seek out a college that had a strong
communications program. I
ended up attending Boston University and graduated with a degree in
Television Broadcast Production.
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Scary Little Fuckers (A Christmas Movie)?
1999 Iíve been working in some capacity in film/media production.
I lived in LA from 2000-2003 and during that time I had many
experiences working on large scale productions (Fear Factor,
The Bachelorette, Tail-Daters and The Incurable
Collector). Working on these types of shows wasnít always a fun experience,
but I was gaining valuable knowledge about set life, and paid particular
attention to what the director and producers were always doing. When I moved back to New England I was soon married and decided to
put the production stuff aside for a few years to live a ďnormalĒ
life. I had a 9 to 5 job and
the stability was a rather nice change of pace. However, deep inside it wasnít feeding the right side of my
brain. When the economy tanked
I lost my cushy job and was forced to re-evaluate my career. I began by launching a couple production companies.
Wedding Reels Video was
a wedding and event videography company. Reels Media is the
corporate/commercial industry video branch. And my favorite IM Filmworks was later
launched for narrative filmmaking projects. Juggling all three of these entities has at times been difficult,
but it was necessary so that I could market each one to its target
audience. Come this fall IM
Filmworks will have completed production on a dozen short films since
2008. Itís all very exciting
to see the company grow and take on larger productions every year.
How would you
describe yourself as a director?
approach directing as a learning experience.
Every time I step onto a set itís with different people and I
really emphasize to everyone that even though Iím in charge, I value
constructive criticism and encourage them to think creatively and to share
their knowledge and experiences with me so that we can both learn from
each other. I really encourage
my sets to be a real collaborative setting.
Filmmakers who inspire
in awe of filmmakers who take a simple idea and turn it into an extremely
compelling story, especially ones who are able to pull off such a feat on
a shoestring budget. Filmmakers
like Woody Allen, Edward Burns (Nice Guy Johnny), Ramin Bahrani (Goodbye
Solo), Jim Jarmusch (Down By Law) and Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and
are my current heroes of this industry. On the other side of the coin, I have an appreciation for those
real visionary directors I mentioned earlier such as David Fincher,
Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Tarsem Singh, Orson Wells, and
especially Fritz Lang.
Your favourite movies?
favorite movies are quite diverse. Storytelling
is the most important thing for me. Wether
the film is well acted, well directed, well written is secondary to me. If the story sucks me in and I lose myself for 90 to 120 minutes
then it has done its job. Iím
also a big fan of movies that really put thought into the overall
atmosphere. That said my
favorite films off the top of my head are Jaws, Citizen Kane,
The Natural, Dark City, Alien,
Sideways, Amelie, Down By Law, Manhattan,
and Midnight Run.
... and of
course, films you really deplore?
donít hate on many films because I feel that the quality of a film is
truly subjective. When I think
about films that didnít make an impact on me itís usually because my
expectations were too high. Iíve
taught myself to avoid a lot chatter that surrounds filmsÖ especially
negative chatter because I want to approach a film with a clean slate.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Scary Little Fuckers (A Christmas Movie)
Filmworks official website:
Anything else you are
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
are a couple other things that Iím involved in that Iíd love to give a
shutout to . Iím currently
acting in a short film produced by Providence Lyceum titled Device. I play the Head of Security at an evil corporation.
Iíve also just recently finished editing a short film for Scene
Around Film Company (directed by Stasia OíBrien) titled School
Reunion. As you can see I
have many pans in the fire.
for the interview!