Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Interview with filmmaker Jesse Heisel

Mello will premier at the Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

*How did you get into making films? 
I have had a passion for filmmaking ever since I was 13. I have always had an overactive imagination and I love telling stories. My first film idea literally came to me in a dream. I have always been a fan of slasher movies. One random night I had a dream about the next "slasher icon" in horror. The dream was so visual and exciting, it helped steering me towards filmmaking as a career. Over the next year, I wrote my first feature length script based off of my dreams. After writing the script, all I wanted to do was make movies. 

*What inspired you to make your movie? 
Anyone who knows me knows I'm a horror genre filmmaker. However, for my first movie, I wanted to challenge myself by thinking outside the box.I wanted to make something completely different from my other work. So, I decided to write and direct a Romantic Comedy. I got the idea, by thinking about how similar every high school is in America. No matter where you went to school, big or small, there are always these types of people; popular stuck-up kids, bullies and the outcasts. I wanted to make a relatable movie, where anyone can see these characters and think, "Oh, she reminds me of such-and-such from high school." My goal was to go outside the traditional ways a rom-com is made and create a more gritty realistic story. 

*How has your style evolved? 
Every now and then I will look back at some of my high school films and laugh at how bad they are. It makes my happy to watch them, because they show how much I have grown as a filmmaker. When I first started making films, I knew nothing about filmmaking. I did not understand character development, jump cuts or even the 180 degree rule. My first films are a mess of continuity errors and lack in storytelling. It was not until I got into college, and surrounded myself with talented filmmakers, when I began to understand how to correctly make a film. I do not consider myself an expert by any means, but I am proud to say I am a much more coherent filmmaker today. 

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film? 
One funny story I remember fondly is when we stopped production for an hour, so everyone could talk about Sharknado. We were filming in the library and someone brought up Sharknado. It had just came out, so everyone was talking about it. Everyone on set had seen the movie and wanted to talk about it, myself included. Next thing I know, an hour has gone by and we have not shot anything. 

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind? 
Underground filmmaking. No matter what others say, you as a filmmaker will do whatever it takes to create your art. Whether you have some money or no money, a true filmmaker will figure out how to make their project work. 

*What can we expect from your next film? 
Definitely something in the Horror genre. I enjoyed making a Romantic Comedy, but Horror is my true passion. My next feature will most likely be a Slasher film. Horror is where I can truly express myself and bring up the topics I want to discuss. I have always been intrigued by the morals of people and how some use loopholes in those morals to inflict evil. Whichever one of my scripts gets funded first, I can guarantee the film will be a bloody good time.