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An Interview with Sam Mason-Bell, Director and Star of Industrial Animals

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2017

Sam Mason-Bell on (re)Search my Trash


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


Industrial Animals is about exploring the line between art and self satisfaction, the director‘s intentions to make the documentary come from a place of curiosity but his motivations come from an urge to control. The film plays with the idea of who really is in control.


What were your sources of inspiration when writing Industrial Animals, and how much of the film was based on a rigid script, how much was improvised on set?


When writing improvised films like this I tend to follow the Larry David Curb Your Enthusiasm method, of bullet points and some rehearsal beforehand, although due to the nature of this film a lot of it needed to be raw energy and comfortability. Main source of inspiration came from a lot of documentaries like Capturing the Friedmans or any work from Nick Broomfield as opposed to any direct horror film.


Quite honestly, being the director of Industrial Animals, to what extent could you identify with the director-character in your movie?


The director in Industrial Animals is pretty much any fear I have in being a man in control within sexual situations, but in all honestly I wanted to depart my character as much possible from myself, mostly because I play a character in a webseries called The Making Of which is more loosely based on myself. So the director Terrance Elliot needed to be a strong departure from who I am.


Do talk about your writing partner (and co-producer/co-star) Tamsin Howland, and what was your collaboration like when dreaming up Industrial Animals?


It was a desire and urge to create something secluded, focused and extreme, I was lucky to have a working relationship with Miss Howland, we needed to all be happy and comfortable with what we were doing, staying on location for a few days, just the three of us.


You've chosen the found footage approach for Industrial Animals - why, and what were the main advantages and challenges filming that way?


I personally think found footage can be fantastic in having strong characters and exploring the psychology and reasoning, but only if you treat found footage like doc drama, so many people forget that found footage can be documentary filmmaking, it's your world, your creating. Best example of this is Cannibal Holocaust, it's more of a documentary than just someone running around scared with a camera, a job still has to be done, documenting evidence.


You also play one of the leads in Industrial Animals - so do talk about your character, what did you draw upon to bring him to life, and did you write him with yourself in mind?


I always knew I'd have to play the role, simply due to being a zero budget production. The focused hate and control the character feels, you see in men all the time, the sickening treatment of anywhere considered lower class. Terrance to me is a product of this country having a Tory gouverment, running around laughing and exploiting.


Do talk about your co-stars, and why exactly them?


Tamsin was actually a makeup artist on a few shorts with me, this was the thing she'd acted in, Thomas Davenport is a very good friend and an outstanding cinematographer. I find when working with improv and doc dramas you can risk not working with actors. None of us are full-on profesional actors, but within the constraints of extremity it needed to be believeable


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


We kept the enviroment as relaxed as possible, smoking, drinking, eating make it feel less like it was a restricted film set. Doing the nasty actions we did on-screen it helped to be as relaxed as possible!


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


I was honestly stunned, this being the first extreme film we've done, I didn't expect or know if people would like it, but something clicks with people, the icy cold psychology people seem to enjoy, when Troma called it an erotic thriller, I had to laugh, really depends on your personal tastes I guess.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


We shot another doc drama horror over the summer, Lonely Hearts - essentially Unreal meets The Wicker Man - hoping to send out to distributors end of the year. Earlier this year we shot Toxic Schlock, a grubby grimy horror comedy for the post Brexit age with Tony Newton - Troma should be releasing that late or early next year.


What got you into making movies in the first place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?


I sort of decided when I left college 10 years I didn't wanna sit around waiting to make films, I dived in head first making zero budget features as much as I can, failing hugely and learning quickly. I believe to last in this game you can do so by making mistakes and learning them.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Industrial Animals?


Industrial Animals was our first step into extreme horror, with nudity and violence. It being the 6th feature film Trash Arts has produced.


Besides making movies, you also run the Making Waves Festival - so what can you tell us about that one, and the philosophy behind it?


Making Waves is about showcasing film makers, not just locally but internationally, its been running 5 years and I'm looking to take it in a different direction. As a film maker an award is nice, but I want the support there for others who want to get in the field.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


For me as a director its important, to have a realtionship with everyone, filmmaking is team work, it‘s not about one ego, it's about trust, creativity and ambition. I try my hardest to combine these things, it's up to those who see the films to decide whether I succeed.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


I am a massive fan of David Cronenberg for his icey intelligence, David Lynch for his surreal nightmares, Darren Aronovsky for pushing the boundaries of art and disturbance, John Carpenter for always being an independent just like Robert Rodriguez.


Your favourite movies?


My top ten movies are: Mullholland Drive, Oldboy, Videodrome, City of God, 12 Angry Men, The Thing, There Will Be Blood, Kill Bill, Taxi Driver, The Seventh Seal, Suspiria.


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


Feeling lucky ?
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Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports ?
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Your shop for all things Thai

Always has to be Passion of the Christ, God I hate that film, awful symbolism that's shockingly bad.


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


YouTube: trashartsportsmouth

Facebook: trashartsuk

Twitter: trashartsfilms


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


Nope all groovy here.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
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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