You are currently putting the final touches on your latest film, Crawler.
What is this movie about?
is about a construction crew that run into problems with their
bulldozer, and the guys get to realize eventually that the heavy machine
is having a life of its own, and is a living creature that has the ability
to change shape according to its surroundings. The piece of equipment is
also heavy in attitude, and has an insatiable hate against mankind...
The main villain of your film is a
50 ton bulldozer. How hard was it to handle such a thing effects-wise?
actually it wasnít so bad, but we did write the story accordingly. We
certainly donít move a real bulldozer like we do a Tonka toy, so when we
wrote the story, we took that in consideration. For instance, a dozer is
slooooow. A man walking can outrun a bulldozer you know, so we had to find
solutions for the shots where the dozer crushes workers to death. Itís all
about being creative, finding tricks believable enough so the audience buy
them and leave enough to the imagination for a maximum impact. Itís a
lot about the story and concept and a bit about visual effects.
A few words about the rest of
Cast and crew of Crawler
of the talents on the cast were new people, folks I never worked with
before, but I saw the leads in other films and I thought they were perfect
for the various roles. Deke Richards (Recon 2022 and its sequel, Deaden)
and Heidi Hawkins (Recon-series) were a perfect match, these two work
together incredibly well. For our bad guy, I had in mind this local actor
who looks extremely mean, big and tall, has that biker-look that scares you
right away at first sight, but when auditionning all the guys for the role
I found that even though his appearance worked, he didnít have the voice
tone I wanted, when he was speaking, he had a soft, friendly voice that
was making him sound more friendly then menacing. So we found this
other guy, Keir Cutler, a very tall actor, whoís looking handsome, but
when he speaks, there is something commanding in his voice tone, and
he can get very intimidating. That was working perfectly for the bad guy.
His physical appearance was misleading for the character and as the story
unfolds, he gets more and more scary. In real life Keir does stand up
What were your inspirations for Crawler?
I had that idea in mind for quite some time now. Actually the first time I
thought of a killer bulldozer was when I watched John Carpenterís Christine. At the end of the film, the kids manage to kill the haunted
1958 car by crushing it with a bulldozer. When I saw that in the film, I
was like: ďOh my god! The evil spirit in the car will now move into the
bulldozer, and now itís gona be total chaos!!!Ē But nothing like that
happened, the car dies and the film ends there. So Iíve been thinking of a
killer bulldozer ever since. Thereís also a novel thatís been written
by Thedoroe Sturgeon, back in the 40s, where a group of workers building a
small airport on a desert island fight against their bulldozer thatís
controlled by a space alien. They also made a TV movie out of it in the 70s, but it wasnít that good. Our bulldozer story has nothing to do with
Christine or the Sturgeon novel, Killdozer.
film's website/mySpace/whatever else?
can check more on www.crawler-movie.com
or on my company website
When and where
will Crawler film be available?
hard to tell. The film is now available for distribution, and weíre
closing deals left and right. At this time, the film is already available
in Russia, and it even aired on Russian TV a few weeks ago. We recently
sold for Czech Republic, and also Thailand. Weíre working on deals for
China, Japan, USA and Canada these days. I guess it should be available
everywhere before summer 2010.
[Update: You can now purchace Crawler
present behind for a while and moving ahead into the past: How did you get
into filmmaking in the first place?
it happened a bit by accident. I never planned to become a filmmaker, I
was a painter and designer first. Back in the 80s and early 90s I was
doing a lot of heavy metal cover artwork for UK and German record labels
mostly. One day, one of the band I designed the front art asked me to work
on their music video. I never worked with a camera before, so out of
curiosity I said yes, letís give it a shot. I loved the experience! I
discovered that I could be telling my stories in moving images and not
only in still pictures.
Your first short is
called Cold-Blonded Murders. A few words about this film, and how
did you come up with the great title?
yeah, my first short film... It isnít that much of a great film, but
itís entertaining, even though it has rough edges...
The title came
along as the film had some sort of comedy feel to it, and our killer was
a sultry blond, I thought about replacing cold-blooded murder with
cold-blonded. We shot that film within a single day, it was quite a
filmmaking marathon... Editing took about three months, it was a learning
curve. But overall I am not ashamed of the film, as long as people keep in
mind that itís been made under such a short timeframe. And the film is
entertaining, thatís the important part. Lots of things donít work in
that production, but when audience watches it until the end without thinking
of the remote control and the forward button of their DVD player, thatís
all that counts.
Murders, Suzi Lorraine [Suzi
Lorraine interview - click here] plays the lead, an actress who pops up quite
regularly in your films. A few words about her?
met Suzi thru a friend of mine, Isabelle, who also stars in Cold Blonded
Murders. From that point on, I worked with Suzi on a couple of feature
films. But now that I am doing union productions, itís hard for me to
call her aboard, and hire a talent from outside the country. The local
union would not allow that.
you tell us about your short Irish Whisky?
was another effort in shooting a film in a short period of time. This one,
though, took three days of filming, and I was starting to learn the ropes
about directing. I was still doing pretty much everything myself, camera,
sound, directing, and the crew was also expanding slowly, we were like
twice as many people as we were in Cold Blonded. It was a fun experience,
but the film should have been better. The story was more complex than Cold
Blonded, but the actors were simply not good enough. Actually they
werenít even actors, just friends of mine who wanted to give a shot at
Night They Returned
was your first feature. What prompted the switch
to go feature length, and what can you tell us about the film?
I was feeling a bit limited with short films, I was feeling that I
was lacking time to tell my stories... Just like when I was doing my
paintings, I was feeling limited with a small canvas. It was only natural
to move to feature lenght, I didnít really think about the difference
of jumping from shorts to feature length. I just wanted more time to tell
my story. We shot The
Night They Returned on week-ends, over a four weeks
period. Thatís 8 days of filming. The new thing I learned was how to
manage a crew. We were now a huge staff of 15 people (!!) including the
actors, and managing the set was something I never really worried about
until then. 15 people asking you questions every 5 minutes is a lot to
handle for the brain. On the last days of filming, I simply blacked out,
burned, my brain couldnít take it anymore, and I couldnít even spell
my name or read the time on the clock. It was a scary feeling... ! From
there I realized that I needed an assistant-director, and start delegate
tasks and trust people around me.
In the end, The
Night They Returned was, again, an entrtaining little
flick, with rough edges and low production value. Lots of graphic gore and
rock music saved the day, and while the storyline with the cannibal
sisters was working OK, I should have spent more time on the writing and
the planning... I am learning to make film by making films, I never took
any training, courses, anything, I learn by trial and error, and I must
say that I learned a lot in The
Night They Returned...
you talk about Purple Glow for a bit?
was a turning point. After The
Night They Returned and the blackout I
experienced, I started to delegate key positions on the set. I had an
assistant to give me a hand on the set. I had a director of photography. A
sound recordist. These were friends of mine with abilities to work in
those fields, while not being industry professionals. So the quality of Purple Glow
was already much better than The
Night They Returned, the
sound was better, and the lighting was convincing. Actors were also pretty
good, and the screenplay was handled by a professional. All the elements
to make a good film were there, but at this point, I was still lacking a
bit of experience to make it all work at its best. Again, the film was
cool, again with rough edges, technically speaking, but it still flows
very smoothly during 80 minutes. Once Purple Glow
was released, I started
to see possibilities of making movies that has potential for commercial
distribution. With Purple Glow, I had a budget of $5000 (three times what
I had on my previous feature) and I started considering investing more, as
I was seeing there might be interest from the industry, and a way to
recoup the investment.
A few words
about She-Demons of the
She-Demons of the
Black Sun was a turning point. It was the first film I made with the intent of
presenting it to commercial distributors. We rented industry entry-level
equipment. Had custom music written. Took more time for filming. Called in
a professional special makeup FX artist. We were still a bit tight on the
budget, but I placed high hopes on that one. Well not really that I wanted
it to become a classic, but at least to have the film out there. I
also made the film ready for the international market, with separated
dialog track so the film can get dubbed into foreign languages. And it
worked. I attended the American Film Market with a friend of mine at
Movie Seals Productions, and we met international buyers in our suite
there. That was the first contact I had with the industry buyers so it
quickly became obvious what these guys were after in the business. Even
though I did not get the distribution deals I wanted, I still received
several offers from distributors, yet none of them were attractive enough
so I would license the film. I kept all rights, released the film myself
again, and only recently have I started to license it to third parties and
studios in some European countries.
So far, your
last movie released is Rise of the Ghosts. What can you tell us
about that one?
Rise of the Ghosts
is my first film that got commercial distribution, with
foreign dubbing. By then, I have gathered around me a few people that were
industry professionals in their respective fields, the crew expanded to
some 30 people, I was starting to work more and more professionally. The
good thing is that distributors and film studios were starting to look at
whatís coming from my studio, what projects I was working on... It was
very cool to know that, to realize that someone up there is staring
at your lil humble productions. Even though you still work with limited
budget and ressources, what youíre doing with it gathers attention from
those boys from the big business. You feel like... You exist, you know...
Any film you've made I have forgotten?
I did make other films, but they better remain unknown or forgotten...
future projects you'd like to talk about?
these days weíre slowly entering production on a new feature
called Lifetaker. I posted a teaser of the film on my web site:
www.lifetaker-movie.com. This one will be a film thatís more of a drama than horror, though
Lifetaker does have an amount of scare, suspense and disgusting stuff. See
it as a mix between Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, X-Files and
CSI. I am not
putting away horror content, but I wanted to do something more mainstream.
films, you also direct music videos, right?
did, in the beginning, before doing short films. I havenít worked on
music videos for years now... ! Making feature films leaves me very little
time to do anything else!
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
who have influenced you?
canít point anyone in particular, but I absolutely love the films of
Paul W. S. Anderson and Steve Beck. There is something fresh in
their filmmaking. When I direct my films, I just go with the vibe of the
moment, how I feel, what would be best for this type of film, for that
type of moment. I am not trying to find a specific style, I am not looking
to create my style, I just try to tell stories and tweak the film so
it works in the end and is totally entertaining.
Usually, you write, direct and
produce your films yourself. Which part of filmmaking do you like the
most, which the least?
like pretty much every aspect of it... ! From drafting the rough lines of
the film, working with the screenwriter, building work schedule, casting,
all the way down to closing books and dealing distribution agreements,
itís all very cool. Maybe the one thing I dislike the most is when it
comes to a premiere and I have to introduce the film. Iím usually shy, I
hide in the shades, and my place is behind the camera, not in front of an
Your films, gruesome as they
might be, always seem to feature a certain amount of humour. What can you
tell us about that aspect of your oeuvre?
donít know, seriously... ! I simply feel that having a bit of good humour
helps in getting the creepy moment more gruesome. But I donít know, I
like it that way, and make the film that way as well. You know I am very
spontaneous when creating my stuff, whether it be a painting or a feature
film. On the way I shuffle things around, move it all over, replace
things, and make it work in the end. You know, when you are getting ready
to shoot a film, itís critical to establish a precise road map, from
point A to point B. And once you get on the set, itís all about finding
shortcuts on your roadmap to reach point B.
being a filmmaker, you also work as a painter,
designing album covers and the like ...
was a few years ago... My job as a painter led me to making films, and now
I have little time to spend in front of my easel sadly. Maybe later I will
get back to my brushes. Every now and then I get calls or e-mails from
bands or record labels to paint something for a CD release, but I simply
canít do it in a reasonable amount of time so I prefer to pass on. Back
in the 90s I was pretty busy doing artwork though. I could earn a living
out of it, painting two or more Cd cover artwork every month for record
labels in UK, Germany, France, and USA. I sometimes still do some graphic
design work, but I just donít take everything that comes my way.
Anything else you are doing we should know about?
I also do porn movies and audition talents every night. Haha!! No seriously,
besides making my thriller movies, I have very little time left to have any
other occupations. When I travel, itís usually in a business context. When I
hang around in town, also with other filmmakers, we watch hockey and talk film
Your favourite movies?
are many... ! But if I have to point one, that would certainly be Event
Horizon. I canít get enough of that film, I must have watched it a hundred
times already. There is something in that movie that makes me think like
ďwow Ė that IS a film I wish I have made!Ē Another one that I like a
lot is Ghost Ship. This is one great piece of film, and is also similar to
Death Ship, made in the 80s. Movies taking place on the water are usually
winners to me.
And some films you really deplored?
really... Every film has a purpose, maybe those that I am not much into are
the remakes. I mean, come on, donít waste time and money on redoing
something that someone made before... It might not have been perfect the first
shot, but itís done so letís move on to something else. I donít mind
sequels, but remakes? *sigh* But I wonít bash too much though,
who knows, maybe one day I might be commissioned to direct a remake myself for
a given studio...!!
Anything else you are dying to tell us and I've simply forgotten to ask?
guess thatís about it... !
Thanks for the interview!
for your patience, and stick to my website www.blackflagpictures.com
exciting stuff! LOL