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An Interview with Roger Sampson, Director of Envious

by Mike Haberfelner

April 2016

Films directed by Roger Sampson on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Envious - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Envious is a short thriller drama that takes family dysfunction to the extreme. A mother, daughter and daughter's husband suffer through this dinner ritual every month in the name of political correctness of the family unit in spite of the fact they hate each other. This film explores what could happen if true feelings within the family unit were suddenly brought into the light.

 

What were your sources of inspiration when writing Envious? And honestly, is any of this based on an actual family dinner you've suffered through?

 

Thankfully the film isn't based on anything real, though the point of the film is to explore what would happen if consequences for our actions were suddenly void of meaning. Most of us have those awkward family gatherings with those we would never spend time with any other any other time. You can feel it in the air as little insults or big insults can be tossed around the table, or perhaps competition, or maybe something else where jealousy plays a role. All of my films explore areas we don't like to look at and sets it right in front of you. That is what Envious represents.

 

At least to me, Envious is also a darkly humourous movie - is that something you can at all agree with, and care to elaborate a bit?

 

Whenever you deal with family issues, especially dysfunction, you have to throw some humor in there. Some of it is intentional, some just a happy accident. So yeah I would say I agree with that, and as the film progresses, the more sinister and crazy things get, it makes the tone of the film very uneasy, and you need the humor to balance that. Especially when things get nasty.

 

The action of Envious is limited pretty much entirely to one room - so how limiting but maybe also liberating was this for you as a filmmaker?

 

We've shot in tight spaces before, and this was as much intentional for story pressure as it was for practical shooting necessity. We shot in a home where the foyer was two stories tall, so we had to limit the shots in there for acoustic purposes. But that played right into the story as well. We need the audience to feel the pressure in the room that you can cut with a knife, and limiting the space to the confines of this small dining room provides a claustrophobic setting and gives the film an emotional prison type feeling, and with each twist the pressure builds until the payoff at the end. That was one of my favorite elements. In addition, the light and dark aspects of the room itself, the artwork, reminded me of the old Dracula tale where you're so taken yet disturbed by the richness of the setting, you almost have to be reminded you're in the presence of a monster. The dramatic irony plays very well.

 

Do talk about your directorial approach to your story!

 

As in all my stories, I focused primarily on visual imagery and subtext. A lot of the dialogue, in one way or another, employs double entendres. April Hartman, Sheril Rodgers and Matthew Roy did an amazing job of studying the dynamics of the relationship between what they say and what they really want. And I loved their willingness to explore the dark side of human nature and be organic with it. That's not easy.

 

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

 

We cast April Hartman from her amazing work in the Forces of Horror Anthology, and I wrote the role of Claudia with Sheril Rodgers in mind. In fact, Sheril and April had just finished shooting another film as mother and daughter, so I knew they would be amazing in these roles. Plus Sheril played a crucial role on the crew in the anthology, and as much as we wanted to cast her in it, we just didn't have any roles that fit her. So it worked very nicely to give her Claudia to sink her teeth into. For Tanner, we read about 25 actors for the role, but Matthew Roy had the perfect look and quite frankly blew us away with his read. He was an easy choice.

 

You also have to talk about the art used in Envious to represent Angela's art for a bit!

 

We have our amazing production designer Stan Baker to thank for that. He recruited on social media looking for a plethora of options we could use to communicate Angela's light and dark contrast, so we could visually express her downward spiral in the art to set up the film's ending. Stan did an amazing job and we were so thankful to Mad Madam B, Chelsea Estelle, Ciara Loran, Beverly Jane Robinson and L.S. Robinson for graciously donating pieces for the shoot.

 

Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-screen atmosphere!

 

We wanted to provide the audience with an uneasy feeling right out of the gate, so through the shot selection and score we present an ironic contrast between this attractive family, the nice house, artwork, etc all affluent yet there is something sinister about it all. Our amazing composer Ryo Utasato and director of photography Aaron Sparks show off their amazing talents through the photography and score to welcome you into this lovely yet dangerous place. Combine that with Stan's amazing work "setting the table" for us, we were able to communicate exactly what we wanted so that by the time the dialogue begins, and right out of the gate Claudia starts in on Angela and vice versa, the pace accelerates until the subtext gives way to the real and the action starts. I am very proud of our whole team including our PM Jeremy Mitchell who was once again our jack-of-all-trades and always knew where everything and everyone needed to be, 1AD Misti Fields who kept us on point and the set moving, Kristal White our simply awesome makeup artist who made us all look amazing and had some fun throwing blood on April, our awesome sound mixer Michael Head who rocked our amazing sound as he always does, and even our PAs Joe Atinsky and Rachel Cook who were on the ball and made sure we got everything done!

And I cannot say enough about our amazing post crew. Andrew Greco cut the film together, Nathaniel Upshaw provided lights out color correction and Aaron Rose did a fantastic job sound editing!! The film looks and sounds so much better than it would ever have if I had done it! Very thankful for my post crew!

And of course a huge shout out and thank you to Robb Hudspeth who graciously allowed us to take over his home for a weekend to make the film!

 

The $64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?

 

Right now it can be seen on YouTube and we've begun entering it into festivals. Here is the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ0EugbG_cs

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Envious yet?

 

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Find Roger Sampson
at the amazons ...

USA  amazon.com

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

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports ?
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Something naughty ?
(Must be over 18 to go there !)

x-rated  find Roger Sampson at adultvideouniverse.com

It's only been released a week at this point, but it already has 100 views on YouTube so far and we've already received a couple of very positive reviews.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

We are in the process of getting the Forces of Horror Anthology ready for DVD hopefully this year!

 

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

 

Force of Nature Films website is http://www.forceofnaturefilms.net/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/f_o_n_films

 

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

 

As always you did an amazing and thorough interview! Thank you!!

 

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) Träume ...

 

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

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
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Michael Haberfelner

 

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