Monday, 15 July 2019

Interview with filmmaker Andrew Eltham

Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival will be screening The Small Woman In Grey

*How did you get into making films? 
I first got into film as a means of escape. I loved jumping out of reality into something different. When I was about 10, I saw Halloween (1978) and it blew my mind. It was terrifying and scared the shit out of me, but also ignited this interest to de-construct it. Figuring out how they did what they did in that movie became a hobby and i repeated it over and over again on about a thousand more horror movies. Fast forward two decades and I became a fully-fledged horror geek (and proud of it). I was running Felissa Rose's website (a dream come true), for those in the know, she is the infamous Angela Baker in the classic 'Sleepaway Camp'. She is a brilliant force of nature and I once told her I was thinking of making my own movie, and she was ridiculously supportive and laid a lot of my fears to rest. I was concerned I didn't have enough experience or money or anything really...Felissa said "who cares" and she's right, it's better to be trying and attacking something you love than sitting wishing you were. My husband and I had always dabbled in small projects and loved the idea of working in film (he is more talented than I), so on the cusp of turning 30, we did it. And though 'The Small Woman in Grey' has its faults, and I know it does - it taught me and my partner so much about film making, technical things, and script writing. It was a crash course! 

*What inspired you to make your movie? 
We wanted something simple and I love a good urban legend. I read an urban legend called 'The Small Woman in Grey' and though the events of the original urban legend are only referenced in my film it was enough to start my brain thinking hmmm, what lead to this situation [portrayed in the urban legend]. Then leaning on Friday 13th and other classic horrors 'The Small Woman in Grey' appeared. A fun little woodland slasher meets the supernatural. I also knew that I want to add some things in that as a horror fan I would love to see; like none stereotypical LGBT leads, exciting roles for older female actors, challenging relationships. 

*How has your style evolved? 
Since 'The Small Woman in Grey' massively, this film gave me the fastest education into the film you could ever ask for. I think I have a blend for combining a classic 80's style of storytelling with a modern edge. I love a gritty grunge style, but I think I am more a shiny polished vibe. My new film [in post production] is very different and adds thriller elements to the horror theme. The new short script I am working on is a dark, dark little number. 

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film? 
Whilst we were making the film we had many laughs. There is one thing (and a slightly less than a professional thing) you get on my set is laughter, nothing is off the table in terms of humor and mocking. We love to have a laugh. Something strange? One day whilst filming in the woods we started at about 10 am. It was a long day and we didn't stop until around midnight. During the day a Japanese woman began watching our filming session. We didn't have a problem with that, we understood it isn't something you see all the time. At first, it was fine, she watched - I believe she asked me a question or two. All of which was fine. Then she began interacting during takes. Like she had inserted herself into the story and she began responding to the actor's lines as if she were a character. We then asked her to stop and she got worse and worse. Then I asked her to go away, but she remained watching for an hour or two from a distance. Then disappeared. When we shut down for the night we returned to our cars, and there she was sat in her car!! creepy huh? She had been in the woods for over 12 hours! We also found a small burnt and beyond creepy doll on day 1 of production. We kept her and she became a mascot of the film and indeed my second film. She has a tiny cameo in both. Keep your eyes peeled in the opener of the film when Tiffany walks through the kitchen it is small and on the side. 

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind? 
Inspiration. Pink8 manifesto is my personal mantra, it covers everything I believe about creativity and having a go, and not just sat being a keyboard warrior moaning about the state of film in the world. Instead, it's about getting up - no matter what and being creative!! Embracing the good, the bad and the ugly and embracing it. 

*What can we expect from your next film? 
Well, my next film is in post-production. It is called Seven Boxes. It is a thriller/horror film. We are hoping it comes out by Halloween this year. We have the best people in and working on this little production. It is presented by Felissa Rose. It features the voice over work of Brinke Stevens (horror icon). We have the amazing Sam Hodge working on our music and grading. He is an indie movie maker who is, in my opinion, one of the best around! We have self-taped cameos from some incredible people including new horror icon Charles Chudabala, Actor and model Jason Caceres along with a lot more. We have some twists and turns for people to enjoy, some beautiful and talented actors. I'm in love with it. We have incredible artwork done by Sinister Arts, we cannot believe how many people are supporting this film as we made it on zero money, and the world of horror has stepped up to help. Couldn't be more proud. And cannot wait to see what people think!! I have attached the poster.