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An Interview with Nicholas Hunt, Director of Safe Place

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2016

Quick Links

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Your upcoming movie Safe Place - in a few words, what's it going to be about?


Safe Place follows a normal family man after this HORRIBLE tragedy happens to him and his family. He changes into this man built from fear and seclusion and hatred of the world outside. He crosses paths with our pregnant heroine Lori and her 5 friends & wants to save them from the world outside. Even if that means taking them all out of it one, by one.


What were your inspirations when writing Safe Place?


My inspiration came from the ideology that What if the place that's supposed to be your savior, your shelter from danger is equally or even MORE dangerous than the outside? The basic moral of Safe Place is there is no overcoming the world outside, you just have to fight to survive


What can you tell us about your co-writers, and what was the writing process like?


I originally wrote Safe Place ten years ago, it was called Static then. Nothing ever came of it. Fast forward 10 years and in February a friend of mine who works for an unnamed movie studio came to me after finding it in storage in New York, ever since then I've been working full force on this thing. Since the screenplay was dated I looked to my talented co-producer and star, Dominick Santarsiero and his partner Majeed Hazin and they modernized Safe Place. The final draft was then prepared and executed by Andrew John Robinson who is an accomplished novelist and screenwriter and that about catches it up. Robinson really put the care into the story and characters which is important to stand out.


Do talk about your movie's approach to horror (as in suspense vs sudden shocks, atmosphere vs all-out gore)!


I feel that atmosphere is everything. We don't need heavy computer effects, loud noises, and torture porn to satisfy us as an audience anymore. We as horror fans are evolving and we want to see smart characters, smart story, and realistic in your face violence! The movies that rely more on these qualities and less on others will succeed and earn the respect they deserve.


Tiffany Sefa

From what I know, you'll be relying solely on practical effects for Safe Place - so what made you make this choice, and what can you tell us about the effects you have planned?


There are a lot of freaking awesome effects in store, they are buried in secret though. What I can tell you is I take heavy inspiration from Tom Savini, Rick Baker, etc. Effects like these are important because it takes us to the golden age of horror, where we didn't need to rely on computers to do our God given talents. Look at all the original masters of horror, they didn't need it and were able to create some of THE most disturbing concepts ever. We still have it in us.


A few words about the film's intended look and feel?


The film is going to be dark and gritty, similar to old grindhouse features. We are going for a nostalgic feel. We have the talented Lucas Quinn and Geoff Black composing an 80's inspired retro synth score for the film, and the mysterious thing about Safe Place is you never really know where or when it's taking place.


Anything you can tell us about Safe Place's projected cast yet, and why exactly these people?


Well our amazing cast is led by my co-producer, main antagonist and one of the writers Dominick Santarsiero, an awesome character actor, our main heroine is portrayed by Tiffany Sefa, her boyfriend played by Nathaniel Matos, their friends are portrayed by such talents as Tim Noble, Katy Votapka, Yvelise Cedrez, and Nick Graffeo. Also Lloyd Kaufman, the head of Troma Films and the father of the Toxic Avenger, is filming an appearance in the film. We also JUST brought on Ashley Mary Nunes who gained critical acclaim for her upcoming award winning film All Through the House. It's very important that I have a tight knit and personable cast to make people truly believe the relationships between them.


As far as I know, Safe Place is still in pre-production as we speak - so how far along are you, what are the main challenges, presently, and what's the schedule, however tentatively?


Dominick Santarsiero

Well we still plan to begin principal photography in January right after the holidays, latest February because it is Florida and it's gonna be a physical movie so I want my cast to be in comfortable settings, and everyone will be nice and rested after holiday time. Our challenge is reaching out to the private and crowdfunding sectors to help raise the remainder of the amount to help finalize all the little odds and ends. Besides that it's getting better and bigger every single day. We hope to have a shot, chopped, and cut version ready for the festival circuit.


Although it might be waaay too early to ask, any idea when and where the film will be released onto the general public?


We are targeting a Fall 2017 release, hopefully October in time for Halloween.


Any future projects beyond Safe Place you'd like to share?


Well right now I am reaching out to other filmmakers and writers, etc. for an upcoming anthology horror film I want to do concerning fables, legends, and tall tales from around the world. And at the same time I am in the creative process or ironing out a super cool monster movie (all practical effects like Safe Place) that takes place on the beach in Florida during spring break. Need an animatronics guy or girl for that though haha. Neither are titled as of yet.


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


I am a layman, plain and simple. I have loved horror all my life, and film in general (as horror is not all I want to do). I have never received any formal training except hours of watching people who built this industry on their backs for us, the audience. It's an honor to work alongside such awesome people, without my creative team this probably wouldn't have happened.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Safe Place?


Safe Place is my first feature, although there is video of me singing The Outfield's "Your Love" on YouTube somewhere.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


Dedicated, over worked, humble. I want to see nothing more than my vision on the screen and earn some recognition for the talent around me and for the industry. As far as the black and white of who I am as a director I suppose that's to be seen when you interview my cast and crew after filming.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


John Carpenter, Alexandre Aja, Dario Argento, Adam Green, Ti West, Wes Craven (the main antagonists name is inspired by Wes) and Eli Roth.


Your favourite movies?


Oh my there's so many. My top of the list is the first two Halloween films, Fright Night (1985), any of the Friday the 13th entries, Monster Squad, Night of the Creeps, too many to list.


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


I don't really deplore any film, there's been terrible films and amazing. The only thing I really dislike is when a film is JUST churned out for commercial reasons or hurried out without playing fragile with the story or its characters. No hate for anyone or their films. Every person who's ever made a film in my book deserves a handshake. It's hard.


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


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Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

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x-rated  find Nicholas Hunt at

You can visit us at, there you'll find links to the teaser trailer, tracks from the score, and any other information can be found by searching for Safe Place on


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


Just that there is a new day for horror coming, natural conventions about what we know horror to be are changing. Get ready boys'n'ghouls and support independent horror and independent filmmakers!


Thanks for the interview!


Thanks to you.


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

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