Your film The Stone: No Soul Unturned - in a few words, what is it
Well, there’s a few levels to it, but I’ll give you the surface level and
maybe the rest will come out in this interview. There’s an old mansion, its
in a terrible state. A group of spiritual seekers turn up and camp in the
grounds. They’re watched by several folk that appear to be witches of some
kind. Slowly they discover there’s something strange about the place and are
guided to dig up an old relic – The Stone. This unlocks nightmares one at a
time from each individual and releases a golem figure.
What were your main inspirations for writing the movie?
suppose it’s years of writing on esoteric subjects, and stones have
always been held in high regard by mankind. They’ve been used to take
possession of souls, contact the divine, and for performing all kinds of
magical rituals. All over the globe man has set up standing stones and to
this day there’s a lot of mystery involved. Of course there’s the
ultimate concept of the philosopher’s stone, the core of the self used
for perfecting the individual. Our Stone is the exact opposite, it draws
out the evil within. The other influences were of course films like The
Omen, the Hammer House of Horror-series, The Exorcist and several others. To
me, those films had more depth, more history. Some films are just slasher
or paranormal events with next to no explanation why! I always want to
know what’s behind it, and can this film explain some of the greater
making The Stone, you have directed a virtual busload of
documentaries, more often than not about occult/esoteric topics. Did this
in any way influence your film?
Oh for sure. Before making
docs I’d written a dozen books on the subject, been around the world,
met strange and bizarre people, been invited into peculiar occult groups
and secret societies. I eventually learned so much, that I was often asked
to speak at these places, to tell them what they were supposed to know!
But I have throughout maintained my individual status and never joined.
I’ve made docs about everything from biblical mysteries such as the Ark
and Shroud to Quantum physics and psychology, so it appears pretty broad.
The truth is, they’re all roughly about the same thing anyhow –
whatever mysteries there are, we’ve created them from within our mind.
How would you describe
your directorial approach?
I could start this answer with saying how others describe my directing
and that’d be interesting. Firm and confident are two nice ways of
saying strict and dictatorial! And yet, the team I have around me are so
loyal, and so good that I wonder…
Whatever I direct I always want to be different. I can’t stand just
doing the same thing, copying others. I lost count on The Stone how many
people told me to watch this or that. It was hard work, because I utterly
refused to watch anything I did not want to be influenced by anyway. I
already had my vision and I didn’t want it altering. I had a vision of a
beautifully shot, classy British weird film and I think we achieved that,
which itself is amazing considering the zero budget.
Your producer Nik Spencer
seems to have helped out in almost every other department as well. What
can you tell us about the guy, and how did you two first hook up?
Spencer, well, I met him when making a Robin Hood documentary. The local
radio had run a story and told Nik to come and meet me. He did and we
immediately hit it off. He ran home to get his camera and ever since the
guy has worked tirelessly on every level of filmmaking.
few words about your cast and crew?
Every single one of
them, from the guys who produced music to the actors, from the prop
finders to the joiner, they were all 110% committed to the vision. I have
never in my life worked with a nicer, more hardworking group and I respect
each and every one of them for what they did.
What can you tell us
about the film's music score? From what I've heard, you have taken great
care in finding just the right bands to fit the film's atmosphere ...
title track was written, performed and produced by a good friend of mine,
the Dutch artist, Corjan. It is absolutely incredible and he worked so
hard getting it just right for me over weeks. Hats off to the man. In
addition to Corjan, we had music submitted in hundreds and it took me days
to sift through and select. In truth, the film can appear to be a very
long music video. Each song was selected for it’s specific meaning at
certain points within the film, folk should listen to the lyrics! On top
of that, one of the cast, Wes Dolan, turned out to be a musical genius and
wrote and performed a special song in the film. He’s now got a record
a film like this, the right location is of utmost importance, I would
imagine. What can you tell us about Annesley Hall in Nottinghamshire,
England, where you shot your movie, and why did you feel it was perfect
for The Stone?
We actually started with the Top Gear
site, an old airbase, but it just wasn’t right at all for lots of
reasons. Then Nik Spencer mentioned this old hall and so we ventured up
there. The very moment I stepped onto the grounds I knew it was right. It
was spooky as hell even in the middle of summer. You just can’t pay for
that kind of feel. We had several days up there checking things out and
then we took all the actors over to see it, the reaction was priceless,
they were all overcome. You simply have to be there, but I do hope we’ve
captured some of the spirit of the place in film!
Annesley Hall was once owned by
Lord Byron. Did his work and/or reputation in any way influence your film?
he lived there off and on, he didn’t actually own it. When we
investigated the history and found that the mad bad Lord Byron had been
there, I introduced his character into the film itself as a catalyst and
shot some period footage. We then filmed a possession scene in his very
many ways, your other feature film, Cam
Girl, stands in stark contrast to The Stone in being a
rather realistic one-person, one-set psychothriller. How would you compare
I love the fact that they’re so different to be
honest. I’d hate to get labelled because I like diversity. Cam
Girl is a
single person narrative, intense and emotional, but The Stone is also a
little like that because we focus in on each individual to get inside
their heads. Both films also have hidden messages that I learned from
various sources such as the Rosicrucians, and this in my opinion adds
Somewhere, I've read that you're planning a
sequel to The Stone. Is there any truth to this?
this moment in time I have no intention of making The Stone 2, rumours eh,
funny old things. I’m in the middle of making Paranormal Haunting: The
Curse of the Blue Moon Inn, a very weird film that will explain several
ancient mysteries all at once. Then I’ll be on to a host of other films,
including a very X-Files type film that I’ve managed to get serious
$64-question of course: When and where will The Stone be released?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Stone will be released in August on DVD etc and there is already a lot of
planning afoot with magazine front covers, stories and other press.
and your film's website, Facebook, whatever else?
best place to go is www.thestonefilm.com
and my own website is www.gardinersworld.com.
else you are dying to mention and I have just forgotten to ask?
message to all filmmakers out there. Stay focussed, positive, don’t take
no for an answer, find another way to get your vision. If you keep going
long enough, you can make it happen.
for the interview!
And thanks to you my friend. Hopefully many more to come.
as long as you keep filmmaking, I reserve myself the right to poke my nose
into your affairs ;)