Your new movie Envious
- in a few words, what is it about?
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
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
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
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?
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
Do talk about your directorial approach to your
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
What can you tell us about your cast, and why exactly these
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.
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
The $64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?
now it can be seen on YouTube and we've begun entering it into festivals.
Here is the YouTube link:
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Envious
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
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!
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Force of Nature Films website is
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
always you did an amazing and thorough interview! Thank you!!
for the interview!