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An Interview with Tricia Lee, Director of Clean Break

by Mike Haberfelner

July 2014

Films directed by Tricia Lee on (re)Search my Trash


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Your movie Clean Break - in a few words, what is it about?


A thriller about three roommates who are living the bachelor lifestyle, until one of them gets a girlfriend who will stop at nothing to get rid of any excess baggage.


Clean Break was your first feature film as a director - so how did it come about even?


Well, Corey Brown, the writer, and I have been working toward shooting our first feature film since we graduated from film school. We had tried our hand at larger budget scripts, but found that we needed to start with a low budget, one location film. Corey pitched this idea to me and I subsequently pitched it to producer Geordie Sabbagh. He immediately optioned the idea and off we went, on the journey that was our first feature film!


What was your collaboration with your script writer Corey Brown on that one like, and how did you first hook up even?


We met in the film program at York University back in 2000. We have been friends and collaborated ever since. Corey and I have worked together in some capacity, mostly him as writer and me as director / producer on every film from shorts to features. With so much history and hard work between us, we have found a really great working relationship. I am involved in the ideas from the start and we work together to piece together the story and characters. I read every draft and provide feedback and Corey knows how to interpret my comments and make the script better with each pass.


Seriously, to what extent could you identify with your main character, the "slightly" psychotic Tracy, and any of the other characters you could identify with more?


Well, Tracy doesn't like guys who use women and then dump them the next day. She is on the quest for true love that will last forever. In that way, I suppose I agree with her philosophies. But she takes it one step further. If anything gets in her way of moulding someone into her one true love, she will not hesitate to kick it out of the way. And then she finds herself in a battle against Cam, the ultimate player and womanizer. She doesn't just want him out of the way, she wants to teach him a lesson.


Do talk about the film's look and feel for a bit?


We wanted to play on the Stepford Wives look. She wants to be the perfect girlfriend and wife and has dreams of a nice happy home with kiddies running around and a devoted husband. She's a little more old fashioned than the other characters, who are 3 guys in their mid-twenties and finding themselves at clubs and with different women every night. When Tracy moves into their house, you can see the physical change from a bachelor pad to a home with a woman's touch.


Usually thrillers have a dark look, but we stayed with the bright, warm colours because I wanted to contrast the picturesque scenery of what looks like a perfect relationship with the sinister nature that is hidden just below the surface. This is not just another horror flick. This is something that could happen to anyone. I'm sure a lot of people can relate to having a roommate bring a significant other home. And all of a sudden, they are always around, but wait, aren't there only two of you paying rent? We've all watched our friends entwine their life with their partner, and you can see that it's unhealthy, but they won't listen. This situation is taking all of that just one step further.


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


When we auditioned actors, I actually was looking for a Brunette to play Tracy. Tianna Nori [Tianna Nori interview - click here] was one of two blondes that auditioned. And she just blew us away. She was intense and believable and when she walked out of the room, I knew she was Tracy. It goes to show that you should always keep an open mind when casting! Her performance carried over into production and as you can see on screen, her voracity and dedication to the character never wavers.


We almost couldn't find a Cam. With two weeks to production, we were still auditioning. Samy Osman came into the room and auditioned with the emotional scene at the end of the film. He was so sincere, it moved me and I was so happy we found our Cam. He could play both sides of the spectrum from the womanizing, arrogant player to the guy who hides his heart because of a deep secret.


Clean Break is pretty much restricted to one location - so what can you tell us about your location, and the advantages and challenges of filming there?


We shot for 10 and 1/2 days in MY PARENTS' HOUSE!!  Bless them for opening their home to 30 people running up and down, painting their walls, moving their furniture and turning their basement into a kill zone. We could only shoot this $15,000 film in 12 days because it was all in one location. Even then, I had to cut a lot of planned shots. We shot each room out one at a time and it was great because we really got to know the location and didn't have much travel time between sets. However, it was also very small for accommodating that many people who are all working as fast as they can. But hey, for your first feature, you gotta do what you gotta do to get the film done!


As far as I know, your film has only just been released to the general public - so what can you tell us about the release as such, and audience and critical reception of your movie so far?


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x-rated  find Tricia Lee at

We won Best Drama Feature at the Atlanta Horror Film Festival and played to a sold out house at Blood In The Snow in Toronto. My first two feature films Clean Break and Silent Retreat were playing the festival circuit at the same time, so many reviewers saw both films. While Silent Retreat was a bit of a polarizing movie, it seemed that all the critics liked Clean Break, even the ones that were not so hot on Silent Retreat!


Any future projects you'd like to share?


One Drop is my next film. An elevated genre/dramatic horror about a single mother who overdoses and wakes up in a medical facility to find that everyone is dead and she's nine months pregnant. As she struggles to escape she discovers the facility's secret, they've tampered with the boundaries of death and brought people back to life, but those who've returned, have not returned alone.


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




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


Sean Kaufmann, Leora Morris and Serge Plourde were the supporting actors in the film and really filled out the cast to make this film come to life. Brad Smith (Canada's Bachelor) and Rachelle Corbeil (Playboy model) make a cameo in the film too!


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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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