Your movie Hello,
My Name is Death - in a few words, what is it about?
It's about a man who wakes up in a nightmarish limbo where he is
approached by Death. Death tells him he's just been shot, and the only way
he can survive is by figuring out which woman in his life was the one to
shoot him: his wife, whom he beats, or his daughter, whom he molests.
perhaps philosophical question up front - your private thoughts about
death and the afterlife?
man, that's a tough question! I guess the one thing I can say with
certainty about death and the afterlife is that we have no idea what it
entails. And that's why it makes a great setting for a movie! It gives you
the chance to be as creative as possible and take your story in any
direction you want.
What were your sources of
inspiration when writing Hello,
My Name is Death?
love Bunuel movies and the concept of surrealism, because in a surreal
world you can get away with pretty much anything. Nothing needs to make
sense so long as it implants a particular thought or feeling in you. The
idea of personifying Death has also been something that I've been wanting
to do, especially after having seen it done so effectively in Ingmar
Bergman's The Seventh Seal.
To what extent can you
identify with your lead character, the Man, actually? Or with any of the
other characters for that matter?
the protagonist's acts are especially heinous, there is something
disturbingly relatable in his plight. We all have this kind of dread that
whatever wrongdoing we've committed in the past will inevitably come back
to haunt us. Everyone has regrets and wishes they could undo things
they've done to others or have had done unto them. And if everyone had an
encounter with Death, suddenly a second chance at a clean slate sounds
like nothing short of heaven!
Ziyad and DP Neal Todnem framing a shot
My Name is Death is mostly limited to one very featureless
location - so how much of a challenge was it to keep things interesting
Given the stark black background, we had to find interesting ways of
shooting it. Disorienting angles, terrifying close-ups and fast-paced
editing to immerse the audience into the utterly twisted mind of the
protagonist. My sound designer also did an amazing job of creating the
most jarring sound design that will haunt the living daylights out of
you. When you add that to the featureless location, it ends up creating
a very unsettling atmosphere that feels almost inescapable.
What can you tell us about your overall
directorial approach to your story at hand?
It's meant to
be a psychological assault on the senses more than anything else. I just
wanted to bring the audience into this world that may or may not exist.
Nothing is overtly stated because nothing in the afterlife is certain.
Everything in the film is implied through ominous images that lead the
audience to draw their own conclusions rather than giving anything away.
Ambiguity was the driving force of the movie.
about your cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?
James was my ideal choice to play Death. She isn't at all what you'd
expect the character to be, and yet after watching her play it it's hard
to imagine anyone else in the role. All three women in the film have very
unique physical features, which are wonderfully emphasized by the fact
that each actress differs from one another in terms of hair, make-up and
wardrobe. The character of the man was very difficult to cast, but my
choice of Andre Herzegovtich came when I noticed how perfectly he was able
to capture the vileness and frenzy of the character. Ultimately, the cast
works as well as it does because each actor has such great on-screen
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was a pretty great shoot overall with a really small cast and crew that
made the whole experience all the more fun and intimate. It definitely got
a bit hectic at times with all the shots we were trying to get. That's
kind of the trouble you come across with experimental movies. Because
you're experimenting with something, you're not entirely certain of the
best way to go about it. Despite that, however, I think we had a strong
enough team to put everything together as needed.
$64-question of course, when and where will your movie be released onto
the general public?
Just started sending it out to
festivals. Will keep you posted!
Any future projects you'd like to
Right now I think I'll take a break!
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
You can look up the feature film I produced here:
And my personal Facebook page:
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
Can't think of anything right at
Thanks for the interview!