Your new movie The Blacklight
- in a few words, what is it about?
Blacklight is a genre-bending supernatural crime thriller. Despite trying to
leave behind a life of crime, Danny reluctantly teams with naïve rich kid
Liam and wildcard drug dealer Kit Viper for a robbery that leaves them in
possession of a mysterious supernatural artifact with immense power.
Ultimately the film is a parable about greed and the lust for power
You came up with the story for The
Blacklight with one of the film's leads, Brooks Russell - so how
did you two conceive the idea?
I had a great group of character actors I had been working with for a while,
and I wanted to write some great parts for them. As the characters developed,
the story started to take shape more and more. I brought Brooks in as a writer
fairly early on and he was a great help with structuring it out and finding
more interesting paths for the story to take.
Your sources of
inspiration when scripting The
We were really inspired by the classic Guy Ritchie style crime comedy
thrillers, where you have a big ensemble of colorful characters all clashing
against each other.
To what degree could you actually
identify with Liam or Danny - or any of the other characters for that
Well, the characters in this movie are all driven by an emptiness in them, and
a longing to fill it with something. They're just drawn to the wrong things. I
think to some extent I identify with that kind of longing. The film is kind of
a cautionary tale about seeking the wrong things.
What can you tell us about The
Blacklight's approach to the thriller genre?
I introduced the supernatural element to add a different dimension to the
genre than I'd seen before. It kind of gives the story permission to be really
larger than life and go to some pretty crazy places.
few words about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
Blacklight mashes a couple genres together, so it was really about finding
balance between those. On one hand, the film is basically a neo-noir, where
it's this really heightened melodrama, and you get to watch these amoral
characters driven to their destruction by their own worst impulses. So I drew
a lot from that film noir tradition of high-contrast, expressionistic imagery.
It lets the audience know right away that this story will be larger than life.
And because the story has a very wry sense of humor, you can have a lot of fun
with the style in a way that gives the audience permission to laugh. On the
other hand, there's a dark, supernatural side to the film, so I used a lot of
horror techniques like slow, creeping dollies and unmotivated camera
movements, as though the camera is aware of something the audience isn't. It
helps create that sense of dread and foreboding.
talk about The Blacklight's
key cast, and why exactly these people?
A big part of why I wanted to make this film to begin with is because I have
so many insanely talented friends and it seemed like a great way for us to
mutually showcase our abilities. Most of the main actors are friends who I've
worked with many times, so I had a sense of their strengths and tailored the
roles to them. They all had such great instincts and ideas that really
elevated the material even further.
What can you
tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
Because of the low budget, this film was shot very untraditionally, in
sections over a long period of time. Everyone has their own lives going on
outside of this, so it was tricky to find times where all the actors needed
for a given scene could be in the same room together. Thankfully everyone was
great about making it work.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of The
We've gotten some great reviews and really positive feedback overall. It's
hard to say with a wider audience at the moment since it hasn't been out very
Any future projects you'd like to
I'm in the middle of writing a new feature now that we can hopefully get off
the ground soon. It's a modern mystery thriller in the vein of classic noir
detective cinema, but given a more modern sensibility.
What got you into filmmaking in the first place,
and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
I love storytelling in general, but I think cinema speaks to me more because
movies were so important to me growing up, both as escapism and a way to learn
more about people or the world. So that visual, cinematic language is kind of
baked into the way I think about stories. To me the big attraction of
filmmaking is giving people the kind of experience I want when I sit down to
watch a movie. When it's truly engrossing and exciting, it's such a fantastic
feeling. I love the challenge of trying to create that feeling for others. I
studied at a 1 year film program, but most of what I've learned has been
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to TheBlacklight?
Blacklight is my first feature I've written and directed. Before that I
had worked on a variety of film projects like short films, comedy sketches,
music videos and commercial content.
How would you describe yourself as a director?
Passionate, dedicated and enthusiastic.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Stanley Kubrick, The Coen Brothers, David Fincher, Ridley Scott, Paul Thomas
Anderson and Guy Ritchie.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
The Seventh Seal, The Big Lebowski, Network, The
Shawshank Redemption, The Silence of the Lambs, The
Elephant Man, Nights of Cabiria, Road to Perdition, Blade Runner, The Innocents, The
Deer Hunter, 2001: A Space Oddysey, The
Passion of Joan of Arc.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
Not a big Zack Snyder fan. And The Shape of Water is an awful movie, I'll
stand by that to the day I die.
Your/your movie's website, social media,
@dashfordmedia on Instagram, Twitter and Tik Tok.
Thanks for the