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An Interview with Todd E. Freeman, Director of M is for Marriage

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2013

Quick Links

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Your short M is for Marriage - in a few words, what is it about?


Well that is a complicated answer but Iíll try and do it in a few words. Itís a peek into the world of our next feature film Love Sick and shows a very unique doctor-patient appointment. Dr. Christian has been a therapist for 15 years and is the foremost expert in the controversial field of Bio-Medical Psychotherapy. His most recent case involves a husband and wife who are looking for either closure or a path back toward healing. Their stress has hit a critical stage and must be confronted in what Dr. Christian calls a Bio-Transference session. This 3 minute peek will show that session.


The ABCs of Death - what do you find so appealing about the series you want to be a part of it?


To be honest Iíve hated short films for as long as I can remember. I think it comes from the very real place when I used to go to short film programs at film festivals and was bored to tears. Too many donít know how long is short and what the right time limit is for something like this. The ABCs of Death-folks have figured out the EXACT limit of time in which a short film should be. Itís an awesome peek into a world that hopefully showcases the best of the teams that make the short films. Itís giving us a new platform and avenue to show what we are up to. We are so very thankful for the opportunity and are attempting to stay in the Top 12 for the next round of judging. There are over 300 amazing submissions from around the world and we're just so happy to be in the running.


Since you had to pick a word starting with M for your horror short - what made you choose "marriage", and what were your sources of inspiration when writing the film?


Well like I said, this is a peek into the world of our next feature film that is very much based on very personal horror stories from a time in my life I didnít know if I was going to be with the woman that I have always thought Iíd be looking into the eyes of on my death bed. Itís a scar on my body that is healed but I see it every day in everything that I do. This movie is based on that scar... that wound that I never thought could heal. So I guess my inspiration for the movie would be the pain of the past... and the reality that people can heal.


How would you describe your directorial approach to your subject at hand?


Well I donít really know what my approach to it all is. I guess Natalie Victoria (Deadheads) would know better than me since she watched me during the process. ďAs an actress, the intensity and emotional trauma of Louiseís character was intriguing for me to explore and I was hooked after my first read. Todd is such a strange visionary to work with too; his precision to every detail, his offbeat humor, his weird creativity that thinks beyond what you normally would, and his methodical pace in building this unsettling intensity yet engagement with the characters and audience - all at the same time. Itís like when you know a car crash is coming but you canít tear your eyes away from watching it happen. Intense, irreverent, poignant, and vulnerable all tied together.Ē
So yeah... I guess thatís what I did. Still not sure if what she said is a compliment or not... but yeah... I guess thatís what I did. (Laughs)


You just have to talk about the effects work in M is for Marriage for a bit!


Well we had a hard time out of the gate with effects. Had an awesome game plan and had tested everything perfectly but something got lost in the translation to what we did on set. Day 1 we started with the hardest effect in the movie and it just didnít work. Weíd wasted half of the shoot day and had to clean the actor up so we could shoot the half of the short with no effects. Everyone pulled together and we got the day done. Effects had the time to figure out the problems with the applications and we were off to the races on day 2. They truly are amazing and Iím so lucky to be surrounded by the amazing people that I am.


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


Well I have been talking with Natalie Victoria for a few months about the possibility of working together on something. Co-producer Christian Burgess had shoved us toward one another and it just clicked. Sheís an amazing source of inspiration and encouragement and I canít wait to work with her again... if sheíll have me. When I wrote the short scene I actually envisioned Jeffree Newman. We hadnít talked much and didnít know each other very well but Iíd seen some amazing work that he had done locally. I had him and others send in tapes online to audition for the role of the good doctor. He immediately embodied Dr. Christian. Not sure if thatís a compliment or not. (Laughs.)  But yeah it is... it says a lot about his abilities as a performer. Lastly Michael Draper is just amazing. Saw him in an actorís piece I was shooting and knew immediately that he had to be the infamous Steven. Again... canít wait to work with these people sooner than later.


Do talk about the actual shoot for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere!


Well weíve been doing this for over 15 years now so weíve definitely got a vibe that we try and reach for on set. First off, Iím very concerned about the well-being of the actors and crew each day. These people are so amazing and the fact that they all came out to support me on these two days humbled me immensely. Then Iíd say I just want everyone to feel comfortable... like they are having fun. Iím a very relaxed person on set and always strive for a stress-free environment. I mean it should be fun right? Thatís why I got into this in the first place... to strive for the impossible task of creating something magical... something from another time and place that could only exist because these people at this time decided to do it. Thatís exciting and I hope thatís the atmosphere on set... something exciting, relaxed, and supportive.


Would you like to talk about Love Sick for a bit?


Well Love Sick is about "Gwyneth and Amos who have been together for 10 years and after much deliberation have decided to part ways. After separating and being with others they quickly realize how hard it is to disconnect from one another. The pain, lies, and betrayal all begin to manifest physically within the both of them as well as infect the others who have become involved with intimately. They love each other so much that it hurts... some more than others." So itís something I call a Rom-Mon, which translates to a Romantic Monster movie. Itís very personal and seated firmly within the reality that everyone can relate to... and also a wacked-out body horror monster movie. Iím so excited about it that I can hardly stand it. Canít wait to share with the world.

Any future projects beyond Love Sick you'd like to share?


Currently my brother is finishing the latest draft of one of our next feature films entitled Devil Rides Shotgun which is a Noir-Or film. (Horror Noir)  Iím also currently co-writing a movie entitled The Elements of Murder with the always amazing Yam Laranas.


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


Well I went to film school down in Los Angeles for three years but Iíd give my dad all of the credit for my love of film as well as knowledge about the subject. He was an avid 16mm film collector and raised us with great movies, horrible movies, as well as the making-of stories behind them. Film school was great because of the awesome friends that I met... but I had already learned the important stuff before going there... the ďwhyĒ to make movies.

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to M is for Marriage?


My brother and I have made movies since our early 20ís. Some are better than others... but weíve always had the credo that if what we do next isnít better than what we did last... then we have to quit. Everything has been increasingly better in quality as well as response from the film community... so I guess weíll keep moving forward. Cell Count was last year. M is for Marriage will take us to 2014 and Love Sick. Onward.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


I really do believe that my job as a director is done for the most part before we even get on set. It has to be pre-visualized so you can effectively explain what the goals are on set. Casting does most of the part when it comes to actors. You cast the right person, at the right time, in the right role and the only thing Iím there is to help guide them in the dark to what moment they are in. In this instance on M is for Marriage I canít say that I had a single complaint about anything or anyone on set. It really went that well... first time maybe in my life as a filmmaker and that is SUPER exciting. Directing is just guiding talented people toward intent, visual impact, and pacing. 100% of that has to be absorbed before walking on set and then communicated well on the shoot days.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


Iím inspired by the amazing filmmakers throughout the history of cinema... really too many to name. I try and watch everything. Absorb good, bad, boring, and exciting all in the same breath. The more you see the more you blur the line between who you truly are as a storyteller and what movies you love. I try to love and hate as many as possible but FW Murnau is a favorite of mine. As for people who are still alive... Iím mostly inspired by all of the other filmmakers in the horror world right now and the amazing work that they are doing. Zack Parker, Alex Chandon, Soska Twins [Soska Twins interview - click here], Gustavo Cooper, Eric England, Yam Laranas, Mike Mendez, and Anthony Diblasi (as well as at least 50 Iím sure Iím forgetting). These people are the ones pushing to go further into the mainstream as well as making interesting movies that people actually want to see. That inspires me.


Your favourite movies?


The Last Laugh, Sunrise, Repulsion, Blow Out, and In Cold Blood.


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


Feeling lucky ?
Want to
any of my partnershops yourself
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The links below
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just there!!!

Find Todd E. Freeman
at the amazons ...


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Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports ?
Find Todd E. Freeman here ...

Your shop for all things Thai

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

x-rated  find Todd E. Freeman at

John Carpenterís Village of the Damned. Thatís the only one. (Laughs)


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


You can rent or buy our most recent film Cell Count anywhere online. Go to  for more information. M is for Marriage is currently online and can be viewed at Vote for it by clicking the FB LIKE button above the video and help us become a part of the ABCs of Death 2-anthology film!  Also stay up to date with us at


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


Well just thank you. Iím so very thankful to the entire film community and the horror community in general for their continued love and support. We canít wait to show everyone what we are doing next. Weíll make you proud. Promise.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

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