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An Interview with Richard Anthony Dunford, Director of P.O.V.

by Mike Haberfelner

June 2015

Films directed by Richard Anthony Dunford on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie P.O.V. - in a few words, what is it about?

 

So itís a horror about this guy (Zack) whoís just been dumped by his girlfriend. His big brother, whoís a bit of a loose cannon, decides the best way to cheer him up is to throw a house party in this abandoned old peopleís home heís refurbishing that was rumoured to be abandoned because the previous owner thought all the residents had been possessed by demons out to kill him. Then as things start to kick off Zackís friends fall victim to this Ďdemoní curse and it Ďall hits the faní.

Then the part thatís a bit unique is that the whole thing is seen directly through the lead characters eyes in real time.

 

What were your inspirations when writing P.O.V.?

 

It was originally gonna be called Rebound. I was making this other horror film which didnít have the Ď1st personí gimmick; was just a more traditional style filmed piece. But then at the eleventh hour it all fell apart. I was close to giving up on my filmmaking daydreams and kinda on the rebound when I wrote this which sort of parallels with the lead character.

The opening two lines of the film in fact where Zack says ĎYou didnít deserve what she did to you. Youíre not gonna let this tear you apartí is Zack venting about his girlfriend dumping him but for me is a bit of a cathartic dig at the actress who walked out on the previous film we were making. She did apologize about a year later and to be fair P.O.V. is a far more unique animal and a better story so in retrospect it all kinda worked out in the end.

In another odd coincidence my girlfriend at the time actually dumped me the Monday I got back from filming P.O.V.. Maybe I shouldíve written into the script that instead of being dumped the lead character had just won the lottery. Never mind, eh.

In terms of the shooting style there was a music video in the 90ís by The Prodigy called ĎSmack My Bitch Upí that was done entirely in this first person style which had always stuck with me and thought could be a cool concept put into the world of horror. The three police characters in the film were actually named Howlett, Jonas and Akerlund after the Prodigyís Liam Howlett (who wrote that track) and the director of that Music video Jonas Akerlund.

 

With P.O.V. being a horror movie - is that a genre at all dear to you?

 

I donít really have a favourite genre. I like all types of films but am always drawn to horrors for some reason. Even if a horror film just has a cool poster, itís enough for me to give it a watch.

 

P.O.V. is shot in its entirety first person, p.o.v.-style - what made you choose exactly this approach? And what were the advantages but also challenges that way?

 

I guess I knew from the outset weíre never gonna be able to compete with all the big budget films in terms of production value and grandeur so just wanted to find a different way to tell a story with what resources we did have.

An advantage to doing long-all-in-one-take scenes is you can get through lots of pages of the script really quickly, but then this is also a disadvantage as you canít cut and certainly canít save a performance in the edit. The actors really have to be on it every second; not just the principals but everyone on screen. Everyone has to hit the mark and the energy has to be right and to change just one thing you have to go all the way back to the beginning of that section. Itís not a shooting style I would recommend to anyone to be honest. It limits what you can do in terms of a score for the film too; especially with horror the music is massive in creating tension and suspense. The novelty of sticking a camera on an actorís head has well and truly worn off but Iím pleased to have had that experience and really proud of what we achieved.

 

In your film, screentime equals real time with hardly any noticable cut - but how long did the movie take to shoot for real?

 

The main bit in the nursing home was done over 9 days in November 2013 and then the other scenes over 4 days between then and April 2014. The last scene we shot was actually the first scene in the film. Thatís not too unusual on traditional films I guess but for one thatís played out in real time is kinda ironic.

 

Do talk about your main location for a bit, and what was it like filming there?

 

It was perfect for the story. In the script itís an abandoned retirement home and thatís exactly what it was in real life. It had been unused for about 5 years so in terms of set dressing it was already all there.

Did have a few draw backs. Only a few of the lights still worked. Weíd bought loads of new light bulbs but unfortunately the wiring had eroded. Not all doors had handles so there were a few rooms if you went in there was no way out. Also someone had previously broken in and stolen all the copper piping so there was no heating.

The cast & crew all seemed to enjoy themselves though and become quite fond of the place. The owners have sold it on now. Iím guessing theyíll re-carpet as I couldnít get all the blood stains out of the floorboards.

 

What can you tell us about your key cast, and why exactly these people?

 

Iíd worked with quite a lot of them before and most of the main roles were written with those specific actors and actresses in mind. Luckily they all said yes when I offered them parts.

One thing Iím really pleased with in the film is the acting. Thatís something I think other no budget films suffer with a bit but the actors I had were great and very natural; especially considering all the long takes and the odd shooting style. I wouldnít be surprised to see all of them go onto bigger things; itís just a case of catching that break and being seen by the right people as they definitely have the talent.

 

Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

Couldnít have really wished for a better cast & crew. Everyone seemed to hit it off instantly. They all had a laugh and looked after each other and when it came down to business were really professional. There were no divas. No egos. Just an amazing bunch of people both creatively and on a personal level.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of P.O.V. yet?

 

Itís been pretty positive so far all round. I think people are a bit surprised by it; especially once they realize itís not another Ďfound footageí horror but something a little different.

Itís got into film festivals in the UK, Australia and the Philippines and is out on VOD in the UK via thehorrorshow.tv and soon to be released in the US with Continuum Motion Pictures.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

My most recent project thatís in post production is actually a romantic drama, so a bit of a departure from a blokey horror. Thatís called You are my Sunshine. I also did a 2 minute comedy short recently called Mr Snuggles about a soft toy who canít wait to meet his new owner and am planning and rehearsing another short film for the festival circuit called Jump which Iím really excited about.

 

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

 

I guess Iíve always been a daydreamer and just want to be a storyteller. I donít really know why, thatís just what excites me and gets me through the dead end day jobs.

I never went to film school. If I had that kind of money Iíd probably just use it to make a film. So am self taught I guess. Iíve certainly made mistakes along the way and obviously trying to make films without any real money is tough but I think you learn more from doing.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to P.O.V.?

 


Iíve done quite a lot of short films now which have won a few awards and been selected to film festivals internationally including one into an Oscar/Bafta-qualifying film festival. Iíve had 3 feature scripts optioned too and some short scripts produced by other directors. Also had my debut novel published (Tabula Rasa Ė available on amazon - cheap plug).

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

Iíd like to think Iím a director that gives the actors something to sink their teeth into and then let them do what they do best; making the odd tweak here and there. I think itís definitely a collaboration between the director and the actors and the DoP, sound recordist, composer etc etc, not a dictatorship. If you bring these creative people into the fold it doesnít really make sense not to give them room to do their thing and make the most of their talents.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

I guess the heavyweights that everyone probably says like Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, Darren Aronofsky, Tim Burton, Scorsese, Kubrick. I like Steve McQueenís style too. For horror Neil Marshall.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Of all time would be Fight Club and after that thereís so many this would turn into an essay.

 

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

 

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Thereís nothing I really hate. Knowing how difficult it is to make films and just how much time and work goes into making a film Iíd never completely slate someoneís film. Thereís a few that have been a bit of a struggle to see through to the end I must admit but then the thing about anything creative is what one person thinks is a masterpiece another thinks is a pile of ...

 

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

 

Website: www.povhorrormovie.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/POVfeature

Twitter: https://twitter.com/POV_Horror

Out now on VOD: http://thehorrorshow.tv/movie-display/pov-2014

 

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

 

Not really. Hope people check out the film and are entertained for 90 minutes ... well, 85 minutes.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

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

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Tršume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natŁrlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
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Michael Haberfelner

 

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