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Interviews

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She played in Anna Shapiro‘s Derailed Dollar Baby film as Mila.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Maria Ryshenkova: My name is Maria Ryshenkova, I am from Russia. I am a theatre and movie actress. My main place of work is Russian Academic Youth Theater (Moscow).

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actress?

Maria Ryshenkova: I was dreaming of becaming an actress since childhood. Although it was a moment of weakness when I wanted to became a road trucker. My father is an actor so i spent a lot of time in the theatre where he worked (Vakhtangov Theater). That’s the place where my dream was born.

SKSM: How did you become involved in Derailed Dollar Baby film?

Maria Ryshenkova: Anna Shapiro invited me to this project.

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Maria Ryshenkova: Whatever we believe we can’t know what awaits us after death. And I think this is what attracts the most. I am very impressed by the ambition of my character Mila, to move forward and go ahead no matter what, despite of this new unknown reality, and not to lose her beloved ones.

SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?

Maria Ryshenkova: I didn’t have an audition. Since Anna was familiar with my roles in the theatre, she made me this offer and I was very glad to accept it. I think that it was a very interesting creative experience for all of us.

SKSM: You worked with Anna Shapiro on this film, how was that?

Maria Ryshenkova: I enjoyed working with Anna, it was easy and interesting. She is a very deep, reflective and sensitive person.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Maria Ryshenkova: It was really long ago, about 8 years ago… I remember we with my partner Viktor found out that our cameraman was looking like Hemingway. That was funny and that’s how we called him between us: Hemingway.

SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?

Maria Ryshenkova: We are colleagues with Viktor Panchenko, we play in the same theatre. So we are still inseparable. Our last premiere is “Romeo and Juliette”, where Viktor plays Tibalt and I am the queen of the fairies, Mab.

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Maria Ryshenkova: I am not a fan of Stephen King, but I adore “The Green Mile”. And I find amazing Frank Darabont’s movie! I really enjoy watching this movie again and again. And I respect Stephen King’s work, he is very professional and talented.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Maria Ryshenkova: Be healthy and happy! Believe in yourself! Be kind and do good!

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Maria Ryshenkova: Thank you, Oscar, for this conversation! I was so glad to look back saying “Wow, this is happened to me! Great!” I consider Derailed as an attempt, a bit immature student work, but at the same time so necessary for all of us at that period of time. Thanks to Stephen King for giving us this opportunity to discover and comprehend the universe of cinema!

He played in Anna Shapiro‘s Derailed Dollar Baby film as Yan.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Victor Panchenko: My name is Victor. I’m an actor. Mostly I play in theatre for about 12 years now allready. And I dreamed to play there first and only after that in cinema. But when I was about 5 years old I loved to watch movies of the 90’s with fightings and so on, and I remember once I said that I’m going to be a famous film actor. This dream has not become true yet.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?

Victor Panchenko: I decided to become an actor in the end of the school after I saw my first drama theatre perfofmance wich I visited thanks to my friend. Something happened inside of me. Intuition told me that this might be mine. But first of all – I studied very bad at school, didn’t understand anything. Secondly – I though started realising that I’m not so dull as the the school marks declaired and that I want to be interestd in something but school at that moment hadn’t enough tools to make knoledge a happy thing. I started reading books and started to think of my self different. I asked my self questions like about what I’d love to do for living. The key word was Love in that question. And several conditions appeared- It should be something real (remember my school marks) , something creative (???) and something that would give me education and provocate a journey in to my self. And then I thought that it would be great to be a director (theatre or film, no matter) and I’ve had I heavy talk with my father that brought down my selfworth deeper than it was and after what I lost any believe in my self. Then I started visiting courses in a polititian institute, thanks to that friend again. And felt so shameful that I couldn’t answer simple questions about history. I felt It wasn’t mine. So I took the least innerstrength I had and decided to become a theatre actor. My mother payed acting clases for 6 months (for what I’m greatfull to her) , with a theatre actress we prepared a program and right after school my dream came true. It was a big luck and at the age of 17 I became a student of the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts in Moscow (for free) with out any experience of being on stage, school drama class or something like that. After what my Master invited me to his theatre where I still play.

SKSM: How did you become involved in Derailed Dollar Baby film?

Victor Panchenko: I was involved in Derailed mouvie by chance. The director Anna Shapiro saw me in theatre if I’m right and our common friend told her about me I think. But I’m not sure.

SKSM: You worked with Anna Shapiro on this film, how was that?

Victor Panchenko: Working on the Derailed was hard because it was very cold and I had very less of experience in cinema.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Victor Panchenko: Now I’m working on producing theatre performances and continue playing in theatre.

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Victor Panchenko: I’m not a fan of Stephen King  but I read the Shawshank Redemption and saw the film for about 50 times not less.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Victor Panchenko: I would like to say to whom it may concern -actors, editors, playrights, artists, musicians and so on and not only, anybody –

It’s not a shame or crime to have a dream and to follow it, to obtain it (if it’s positive and crimless of course)

It’s good for an artist to be friends with his head, with his brain, his psichologie. It’s better to know your self good, to treat your self well , to accept and love your self and know what you want before acting or creating and so on, because artists (actors , directors, musicians etc.) with deep problemes mostly make depressive art pieces (as I think, It’s my opinion) and it doesn’t cause much pleasure or happiness, It’s all about suffering mostly that causes next suffers. Some can like it of course but it should be realised I think. Art should be healthy, meaningful but healthy, vital and the main purpose of it should not be the changing of the world or something like that but mostly just for the life’s beauty.

And It’s good to have some other skills besides in case of failure or hunger. Life is not only about art, there are many other interesting things.

And it’s important to remember that failures in art are very usefull. Such failure as I think is my work in Derailed. I’m not ok with my job there. But who could know how It’s gonna be in the result.

Thank you. And good luck.

He is the Cinematographer of Anna Shapiro‘s Derailed Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Dmitry Savinov: Hi, I am a cinematographer from Moscow, Russia. Most of my jobs are series, along with commercials, features and music videos. My main hobby is film photography, medium and large format especially.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a cinematographer?

Dmitry Savinov: It was a happy accident, actually. When I was a kid, I just wanted to be a writer and journalist. My fellow cinematographer invited me to the business as a camera trainny/technician, so I started my professional growth through camera assistant positions to a DP (graduated at VGIK when being a working DP already). So I am about 25 year in the saddle)

SKSM: How do you communicate with a director to design a visual strategy for a film?

Dmitry Savinov: References are the first step, whatever that takes- pictures, photos, films, paintings… then you work on script, you talk to director about your impressions on the literature you’ve read. Your primal task is to figure out what’s in director’s head, than things come easier)

SKSM: You worked with Anna Shapiro on this film, what do you think the relationship between a director and a dp should be?

Dmitry Savinov: I think trust and coincidence rule.

SKSM: You worked in a Dollar Baby based on a Stephen King short story. It was your most challenging film?

Dmitry Savinov: I cannot say if it was most challenging film or not. Every time it is a journey without a certain route and final point. The most challenging was the winter weather I believe.

SKSM: When you’re going to shoot, what are your favorite lenses? Formats?

Dmitry Savinov: It was shot at 2.39:1 aspect ratio with Zeiss High Speed lenses as I remember. Nothing unusual.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Dmitry Savinov: I think it was a biker’s night club shooting when the band was playing and extras dancing and everything was a real mess but we handled it with courage and did it finally!

SKSM: Who are some of your influences (favorite dps/films)?

Dmitry Savinov: Number one is Roger Deakins, ASC/BSC, and most of his films. Than plenty of cinematographers and my professor Vadim Yusov, that is for sure.

SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?

Dmitry Savinov: OOOOH YEAHHH! All my childhood was under the influence of his books, and It is most beautiful among them.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Dmitry Savinov: Series titled Hypericum, it is a thriller like Se7en and near.

SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Dmitry Savinov: Once I substituted my friend at a mortuary and even made up a diseased granny.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Dmitry Savinov: Try to be different every time you start a new task AND DO NOT AFFRAID OF ANYTHING!!!

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Dmitry Savinov: Thanks for your attention!

She is the filmmaker of Derailed Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Anna Shapiro: I was born in Moscow, in a Russian artist family. My grandfather was a renowned Soviet painter of the socialist realist school. My mother is a post-modernist artist with wide cultural horizons.

My education was in the classical humanities and fine arts, in Moscow. At age 23 I began working full time with TV Channel One Russia, in their “promo” department, first as a copywriter and then as a director, creating, shooting and editing promo trailers and teasers for special programs. All my free time, however, is spent shooting short films, writing scripts, inventing video-arts for art exhibitions – in short participating in any creative process that might lead me to my dream, which is to make feature films. I watch as many films as possible, preferably on the big screen. I am a big fan of traditional cinema screening, although I also appreciate internet and new TV formats. Even TV series I try to watch using my home projector.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?

Anna Shapiro: Observing paintings from my earliest childhood, I developed a permanent curiosity about the stories that could lie behind the frames of artworks. I imagined what sounds and music could fill their atmosphere, what the figures on the canvas could do when nobody was looking. Since that time all information I receive is transformed inside me into visual, moving and often symbolic images. “Officially” I knew I wanted to become a filmmaker at age of 15, when I had staged a play at school as a director.  My dream is to shoot movies full time, to open the box inside me that is full of characters, stories, painful images and joyful scenes.

SKSM: When did you make Derailed? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?

Anna Shapiro: We made Derailed in 2014, partly with family friend financial support, partly with my own savings. I didn’t expect it would cost that much – it costed near 30 000 $. The big part of it was for the light and expedition. DP is, as we call it in Russia, a “saint cow” for me – I always try to give them everything they want, because they should transform my inner visionary into screen. In Derailed DP wanted Arri Alexa, wanted a lot of light (because of the night time of shooting).

I was the producer, director, line producer, administrator –everything. And I don’t practice this mix of functions anymore, because the organization of all the production processes influenced my director’s attention and creativity while shooting.

We filmed it in four diverse days in two months.

SKSM: How come you picked Willa to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?

Anna Shapiro: That time I tried to start the production of my feature film script Downward Spiral, a criminal drama (in 2016 this project got into the Sundance Lab short list). A producer who liked the script told me he couldn’t imagine the visionary manner of it, because I said it should be in the border between reality and unreality.  So, I was looking for a short story to film and show my type of vision. A story with something surreal in it. I picked Willa for its in-between life and death, trying to imagine how it may be felt, especially if you don’t want to accept what is happening. The other theme that I liked was love. How fragile love may be when faced with routine mutual prejudice. And at the same time love is the only guide between life and death that I can imagine. There was also a social aspect: I found out that King’s passengers on the train station are a clear metaphor of Russian society – they don’t want to accept reality themselves even if it leads to total “black hole”, and they are aggressive to the people who try to understand what’s happening.

SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wild guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?

Anna Shapiro: Honestly, I don’t remember. I think I have chosen Willa and then knew about the necessity to clear the rights and then was lucky to fund Willa in the 1$ list. But may be vice versa.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Anna Shapiro: Special for me were the moments when a kind of miracle happened: famous Russian adult actors agreed to take episodic parts in the film pro bono– Avdotya Germanova, Igor Savochkin, Anna Chiruna. Their stringency in playing their parts as passengers was important for me. Two leading young actors –Maria Ryshenkova and Victor Panchenko– found the possibility to work with me in their busy theater schedule. The funny moment was: we shot at the circle experimental railways (where they test trains). On the day of shooting, it appears that every four minutes a train should pass at a very high speed. So, we have only four minutes for a take, then everybody should run away from the station, otherwise anybody could be damaged.

SKSM: How does it feel that all the King fans out there can’t see your movie? Do you think that will change in the future? Maybe a internet/dvd release would be possible?

Anna Shapiro: Very good question! Only when I finished the film, I realized what does it mean that I can’t show it anywhere except the festivals. Maybe I have avoided fans’ disturbance, but disturbance better than absence of feedback at all. I respect the rules and I am very grateful to Stephen King’s 1$ program, but I hope they may make it more flexible –for example, give a permission for release on some platforms or after five years have passed or on their own site. Thanks, respect and hugs to Andrey Popov who organized Dollar Baby Film Russia and showed 1$ dollar films from different countries –it was like a small window to King fans.

SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?

Anna Shapiro: As there were not a lot of screenings, I don’t have a lot of reviews. I’ve mentioned that audience divided in two types: those who accepted the film fully, have read the ideas and were touched emotionally. And those who remained indifferent. Derailed won some prizes on festivals. As far as I know they liked the atmosphere and visionary style of the film. Bad reviews that I know are: it is very difficult to follow the film in English because of a lot of subtitles.

SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?

Anna Shapiro: Not anymore. Derailed is too old for it: the festivals accept films not older than two, maximum three years. And I think I grew up from it – now I see too many things I would do better and differently if I shot it now, I am more skillful today))

SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?

Anna Shapiro: I wouldn’t call me King’s fan, because I haven’t read all of his books (as I think fans should do). I love him and respect. And if I meet a film or TV show based on his books I watch it for sure. I love Shining, but both for King’s and Kubriсk’s work. Misery, Green Mile. From recent Mr. Merсedes impressed me a lot.

SKSM: Did you have any personal contact with King during the making of the movie? Has he seen it (and if so, what did he think about it)?

Anna Shapiro: No, I didn’t. It is not supposed, I think. Upon the 1$ license you should send a dvd of the film when the production is finished. In 2014 we with my husband travelled throw USA and we imagined how we travel to King’s house/office (according to the address in license) and drop the envelope with dvd into the mailbox. Ha-ha)) When we looked at the map, we found out that the address led nowhere between a cemetery and a slaughterhouse… We decided it was very “King’s like”. So we’ve sent the dvd by post and I was really waiting for any, even formal, reply. But nothing. Do you know anybody who has received any answers? Of Course, I understand how busy Mr. King is, what millions of whatever he receives daily. But I think the King’s office could send…

SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick -at least- one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?

Anna Shapiro: While adapting Willa into the script, I found out that King’s literature was a trap for cinematographers. It looks very adaptive for the film: thriller story, rich visionary and imaginary layer. But when you start adapting, you find out that all that has impressed you so much, very often is the inner life of characters: their thoughts, their fears. This is good for literature; it forces a reader’s imagination. But bad for staging drama. Cinema needs visionary emotions, reactions and acts. So I think, the best King’s adaptations are based on the books that were good for it. I haven’t read a story that could lead me to a new adaptation. And I don’t want to be hand-tied by license anymore. It may change if the project is started by a big film company. But not by myself anymore.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Anna Shapiro: I am trying to start the production of a feature film, negotiating with producers. Continue to shoot promos for special occasions for Channel One Russia and diverse show artists. Collaborate with screenwriters. Shoot video-art for artists. Perform master-class on promo and video-art. Hope for better.

SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Anna Shapiro: It’s difficult to surprise people who don’t know you…

I trust in God. Seriously. Is it surprising?

My grand grandfather was the second president of Israel… But I can’t get permission to apply for citizenship in Israel, because I am an orthodox Christian.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Anna Shapiro: Guys, thank you so much for reading and supporting Stephen King Short Movies. Your interest makes creators creative. Your love to your favorite writers or whoever prolongs their life.

SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?

Anna Shapiro: Dear Oscar, thank you for the questions that made me remember and take thought. Thank you for giving Derailed a chance to live further.

 

She played in Cameron Grimm‘s The Man Who Loved Flowers Dollar Baby film as Norma.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Gabrielle Bousum: Well, my name is Gabrielle Bousum- it’s pronounced awesome with a B. You wouldn’t believe how many people think it’s pronounced like bosom. I’m a local, professional actor in Indianapolis, IN, that is passionate and determined. When I’m not on a set, I work as a Simulation Patient for IU Health during the day and bartend at Helium Comedy Club on the weekends. I’m pretty confident most people reading this won’t know what a Simulation Patient is, so I’ll answer that quickly. A Simulation Patient is a hired actor that acts out a case for med students, and they have to use their smarts to figure out what’s going on with them. Yes, like Kramer in Seinfeld. No, I haven’t had the fabulous opportunity to act out having an STD yet. I’ve done everything from a basic cough to an anti-vax mom that I made obsessed with Jenny McCarthy (that was my favorite). I feel fortunate to love both of my side jobs and my coworkers. When I’m not stashing money for those expensive headshots and classes, I love reading, painting, archery, listening to my record collection, and laughing with comics/friends and family.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actress?

Gabrielle Bousum: I knew I wanted to be an actor when I was a kid. I remember forcing my parents to watch plays that I would put on (thanks to them for sitting through that), and I would act out Disney movies. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, not just because I love scary movies, spooky things, and candy, but I loved being different characters. Once I hit my awkward phase in middle school and started getting bullied, I realized even more how much I loved acting because I could escape and be someone else for a while. Sad but real.

SKSM: How did you become involved in The man who loved flowers Dollar Baby film?

Gabrielle Bousum: It’s been so long since we filmed The Man Who Loved Flowers, but I think I just saw a casting call on the Indiana Filmmaker’s Facebook page, and, as they say, the rest is history.

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Gabrielle Bousum: Stephen King is such an exciting and fun writer, so that automatically will attract people. It’s also terrifying that this guy just walks up to different women that look like his wife. He’s being all sweet and then bashes their head in out of nowhere with a hammer! I think the casting was on point, the shooting locations were fantastic, and the crew brought the story to life.

SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?

Gabrielle Bousum: I had to audition for it. I believe I had to twice, but my memory could be betraying me at the moment.

SKSM: You worked with Cameron Grimm on this film, how was that?

Gabrielle Bousum: Working with Cameron was excellent. He’s friendly, not egotistical, and listens to other’s ideas. He collaborates. He never made anyone feel invaluable whenever tensions arose, just from being tired or visions not lining up. It was great to be on that set.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Gabrielle Bousum: I can’t remember a particularly funny moment except for just random laughing with the crew and cast. There was a special moment when we saw how talented Chelsea Swinford was at the special effects. It’s not easy making someone look like their eye has been bashed in with a hammer. It didn’t feel great on your face either but, man, did it look amazing.

SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?

Gabrielle Bousum: I do! I have contact with a few of the crew, but unfortunately, I have the tendency to do a project, and then I’m on to the next because I am usually pretty consistently booked. Because of that, I haven’t had the chance to reunite with Cameron or 5 After 5 Productions. I’m very open to doing so! I did happen to fall in love with our sound and score guy, Josh Beck, while working on this film, and we are still together to this day!

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Gabrielle Bousum: These days I just did a trailer for the superhero series Transmetropolitan. I play Vita Severn, an ambitious PR rep for a political candidate. We have a big-name executive producer, and crossing our fingers, it will land on Netflix, but I don’t want to jinx anything. I’m also working on a screenplay of my own. It’s about a nurse whose boyfriend comes into the ER in a coma while she’s working. She gets handed his items, including his phone, and then lots of crazy stuff unfolds. I’m pretty excited about it and have high hopes for it. I have a couple of other projects that are still on hold from the start of the pandemic, and I’m just doing every audition my agents send my way!

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Gabrielle Bousum: I love Stephen King’s work! I remember reading his books when I was way too young to be doing so, but thankfully since I read above my grade level and my parents were cool, I got away with it. I recently read Pet Sematary for the first time, and I have to admit, as a full-grown adult, I had difficulty reading it by myself after dark. The book is way better than the movie (and I love that movie)!

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Gabrielle Bousum: Something that would surprise people is that even though I might laugh, joke around, and appear confident, I regularly struggle with depression and anxiety. On top of that, I feel like I’m not talented or interesting enough, not smart enough, or just inadequate in general. Most days, I have a decent hold on these feelings, but some days they can fight to win, and sometimes they do. Thankfully I have a great support system of family, friends, my agents and coach are amazing, and they help remind me that I am unique, interesting, and talented. They remind me that I do have something to offer and to keep going for it. I’m very fortunate.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Gabrielle Bousum: To the fans reading this interview- I honestly am not sure what to say. Thanks for your passion and support of filmmakers because without you, we wouldn’t have anyone to watch our creations! Keep loving spooky stories, my fellow weirdos.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Gabrielle Bousum: Thank you for reaching out, and I hope this wasn’t boring to read!

He palyed in Cameron Grimm‘s The Man Who Loved Flowers Dollar Baby film as The Flower Man.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Chris Abel: I served 30 years in the US Army and 12 more as a DOD civilian. I’m fully retied now and do acting whenever I get a chance.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?

Chris Abel: I kind of just fell into it. I was giving a motivational speech and one of the attendees sent my wife and I a gift certificate to eat at a restaurant. We went to their website to look at their menu and saw a link to their Murder Mystery show and how to apply for acting parts. The rest is history.

SKSM: How did you become involved in The man who loved flowers Dollar Baby film?

Chris Abel: I saw the Casting Call on Facebook and went for an audition and got the part.

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Chris Abel: The script. Stephen King is a true artist in his story writing.

SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?

Chris Abel: Yes, I had to audition.

SKSM: You worked with Cameron Grimm on this film, how was that?

Chris Abel: Cameron is a great Director with a vision on how to bring a script to life on camera.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Chris Abel: We were filming my scene on a public street and people driving by would toot their horn or yell hello. Did several takes because of that but we would laugh and got it done. It was a fun day on set.

SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?

Chris Abel: Yes, Cameron and I are friends now and have worked on other projects.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Chris Abel: I just finished filming a short film in Florida and Booked for another film as well.

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Chris Abel: For sure!

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Chris Abel: I have been blessed to have been in 11 films with my granddaughter.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Chris Abel: Stephen King rocks!

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Chris Abel: If you have a dream make it a reality!

He is the Cinematographer in Paul Inman‘s That Feeling Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

John Lennard: My name is John Lennard. I am a filmmaker/videographer from Myrtle Beach SC. I like to dabble in different aspects of production but primarily focus on cinematography, directing and editing.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a cinematographer?

John Lennard: From an early age I would say around 13. I grew up in the exhibitor industry and as a kid I was naturally drawn to cinematography and filmmaking in general, and the different ways you can tell stories with images always fascinated me. I was a movie junkie as a kid and it was a natural fit for me.

SKSM: How do you communicate with a director to design a visual strategy for a film?

John Lennard: With any collaborative effort you have to work together and as a cinematographer it is my job to bring the directors vision to life. So constant communication with the director of what they are wanting and throw in suggestions for what they might not be thinking about. I like to make a lot of suggestions for what I think they are wanting and I will usually add my own spin and suggest things that the director may not think about.

SKSM: You worked with Paul Inman on this film, what do you think the relationship between a director and a dp should be?

John Lennard: I believe the director and DP should be working hand and hand together. Constantly discussing and planning your next step. Especially on smaller budget productions due to financial restraint. You will always have issues pop up and the better you communicate with the director and have solutions in place ready to go. If you are both off doing your own thing never communicating it will never work.

SKSM: You worked in a Dollar Baby based on a Stephen King short story. It was your most challenging film?

John Lennard: I would say this was one of the most difficult but not the most difficult. I have done other small productions that have had twice as many FX shots but at the same time on this production we had a small crew, were very short on funds and had very limited time to get this complete. Overall, it was difficult but a very smooth process at the same time.

SKSM: When you’re going to shoot, what are your favorite lenses? formats?

John Lennard: To me lenses help tell a story and are a tool to do that. I really don’t have a favorite because I love them all. I love shooting wide and I will always have a 50MM or 35MM on me as they are the most versatile.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

John Lennard: Nothing really happened that stood out. We were very short on time. But beyond the typical panther that happens nothing really comes to mind.

SKSM: Who are some of your influences (favorite dps/films)?

John Lennard: From a DP standpoint Roger Deakins can do no wrong in my opinion. My main influences are 80’s cinema as a whole, Slasher films and Drive-In cinema. John Carpenter, Wes Craven to name a few.

SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?

John Lennard: I am. I will get some flack for one of my choices, but my top three favorite films based on his works are Christine, Maximum Overdrive (It’s cheesy fun!), and The Stand.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

John Lennard: Right now, I am finishing up a script have been writing for a while and hope to start production on that by the end of the year. I am also going to be D.P. on a short film that will be starting production in the next couple of months.

SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

John Lennard: I love musicals.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

John Lennard: I just want to thank everyone for their support and we hope you enjoy the finished product.

He played in Kyle Dunbar‘s Mute Dollar Baby film as The Priest.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Christian Tribuzio: I’m Christian Tribuzio. I wear many hats, I suppose. When I’m lucky I get to act.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?

Christian Tribuzio: I was young, inspired by comedy films starring Jim Carrey and Steve Martin. It seemed like they were having fun. Hey, I thought, I like to have fun. Eventually I discovered theatre and live performance, and I was hooked.

SKSM: How did you become involved in Mute Dollar Baby film?

Christian Tribuzio: Kyle Dunbar is a good friend, and a talented director. We’ve been fortunate to make several films together before Mute (2021). When Kyle calls with an opportunity to work on a Stephen King Dollar Baby, you say yes.

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Christian Tribuzio: Mute (2021) offers something for nearly everyone, and I look forward to hearing what people take away from it. The story is bizarre, but it’s not so far-fetched. It’s the kind of story told by a friend of a friend, it’s up to you to decide what to believe.

SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?

Christian Tribuzio: I’m sure Kyle considered a few actors for the part of The Priest, but I believe he had me in mind early on. Fans of the short story will know that the original character is much older, so while staying as true to the source material as possible, we crafted The Priest into someone that felt authentic to us.

SKSM: You worked with Kyle Dunbar on this film, how was that?

Christian Tribuzio: Another in a long line of great experiences.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Christian Tribuzio: Every opportunity to make movies ought to be savoured, and this experience definitely created countless memorable moments. For many reasons, this one was a special kind of special all its own.

SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?

Christian Tribuzio: We speak often, we’re all friends and filmmakers. The level of comfort and efficiency on-set was the perfect environment to play in. The whole cast and crew are big fans of Stephen King, we were eager to just go for it.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Christian Tribuzio: Well, every filmmaker has at least one script waiting to go into production.

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Christian Tribuzio: It’s probably fair to say I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to Stephen King. I’ve sprinted through his short stories, and I’m continually marathoning the novels. Creepshow and Creepshow 2 (the movies) are just so good.

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Christian Tribuzio: I enjoy camping, hiking, and spending time outdoors. My favourite place to be is on-set, but a close second is on a canoe in the middle of a lake.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Christian Tribuzio: Thank you for the interview! To the fans and readers alike, I’m grateful for your time and interest. I hope we entertained you.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Christian Tribuzio: Go your way and sin no more.

 

He is the Cinematographer of Kyle Dunbar‘s Mute Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Roman Lapshin: I am Roman Lapshin and I am a storyteller.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a cinematographer?

Roman Lapshin: This is a difficult question to answer. I’m not sure I ever even wanted to become one, but composition and lighting always came very easily to me. The thing is, when a good story comes around and I feel like I can add something to it, whether it’s during production or post, I do what I can to give that project life.

SKSM: How do you communicate with a director to design a visual strategy for a film?

Roman Lapshin: Mood boards are my go-to for visual language. There are many online resources that allow for collaboration and communication and it’s very convenient to have access to that sort of stuff wherever you are. For this particular project, I whipped up a quick mood board on Milanote.com, added Kyle to the board and we went from there. I tossed in screenshots of the script with scenes from other films that have similar visual language and Kyle did the same. We exchanged screenshots back and forth until we landed on a cohesive look that served the story well.

SKSM: You worked with Kyle Dunbar on this film, what do you think the relationship between a director and a dp should be?

Roman Lapshin: The relationship between director and cinematographer should be a simple one. Both are there to serve the story to the best of their abilities. There is something to be said about the vague line between both jobs, especially when a director has a very particular vision for the film, but we must take a step back and understand that it all comes from a place of love for the story, then who cares? Story is king.

SKSM: You worked in a Dollar Baby based on a Stephen King short story. It was your most challenging film?

Roman Lapshin: This was definitely not my most challenging film.

SKSM: When you’re going to shoot, what are your favorite lenses? formats?

Roman Lapshin: Although I have yet to shoot a project with one, the Alexa Mini/Cooke combo is a favourite of mine. I was a 1st AC for a couple years straight out of college and that form factor is just perfect. The image is absolutely unbeatable.

That being said, I think it’s a little impractical for smaller projects. For those I’d go for one of Canon’s cinema cameras.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Roman Lapshin: I retrofitted these banners with muslin cloth for diffusion. The banner container was spring loaded so that the banner could easily be erected and torn down at a moment’s notice, which is great for moving diffusion around, but that the also mean that the muslin was always being stretched hard. I had the 8-foot-high diffusion about 4 feet away from our main character, Andrew Bee, and it was diffusing a very directional 300w Dedo light when suddenly, in the middle of a take, the muslin got sucked back into the container with a very loud bang.

We had a good laugh about it, but I felt very embarrassed for ruining the take. I have retired that kind of diffusion for now, until I can figure out a fool-proof way of securing it.

SKSM: Who are some of your influences (favorite dps/films)?

Roman Lapshin: My all-time favourite DP is Roger Deakens. This is mostly because it’s difficult to tell when he’s behind the visuals. He always goes out of his way to serve the story and doesn’t really have a trademark. That kind of ego-less work ethic is something I strive for.

SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?

Roman Lapshin: The Shining is an obvious favourite for filmmakers. It totally changed my life when I saw it. Kubrick was a genius, King is a genius, and although they didn’t see eye-to-eye for that particular project, it was my introduction into the world of Stepehen King.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Roman Lapshin: Currently in pre-production for a short film that we will shoot (hopefully) this fall. Kyle Dunbar is actually helping out on the production side of things!

SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Roman Lapshin: I starred in a documentary that had a worldwide release this year called Portrayal. Check it out at Portrayalfilm.com

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Roman Lapshin: We did not rent any gear. I have a relatively awful LED lighting kit and a small camera package, but that did not stop us from making the film. The point is gear is secondary as long as the story is good (and the audio – thanks to Dave Murray for lending his services and gear).

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Roman Lapshin: I shot the film on the Canon C100mii almost exclusively with a 24mm 1.4 Sigma Art and ¼ Pro Mist filter.

 

 

He is the Composer of Kyle Dunbar‘s Mute Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Nathaniel Reynolds-Welsh: I’m Nathaniel Reynolds-Welsh, most people call me Nate. I’ve been playing instruments since before I could talk, mainly drums and guitar. At this point I’m the drummer/writer for bands Colony, Across The Wasteland, and Hussar. Ranging genres from progressive rock, pop punk, tech-death metal. Within my years taking this professionally I’ve also been honoured with session work and hired gigs, as well as a loyal group of students. Aside from my drumming career my truest passion is writing, I have a solo project called Aghast Imminence. I write all instruments, stacked with synth layers and orchestration. It’s my outlet for writing the craziest, wackiest, most beautiful music I could ever want to hear.

SKSM: How did you become involved with Mute?

Nathaniel Reynolds-Welsh: Funny enough I started a relationship with a really great girl, she heard some of my music I wrote for my solo project and thought it would be great for her brother Kyle’s films. That’s when she told me all about him and his movies, especially Mute which he was currently working on. I send her the tune, she shows Kyle and he put it in the movie. Before him and I met in person he reached out about the tune and moving forward with a potential soundtrack. Of course I jumped at the opportunity! After meeting with him and Rebecca and discussing the soundtrack, I had a really clear vision of how I wanted whatever I wrote to sound.

SKSM: How did you get started as a composer and what do you do on production?

Nathaniel Reynolds-Welsh: From a young age I’ve always wrote songs. I started my first official band Colony when I was in Grade 10. At this point I was writing more so progressive rock/metal tunes with pretty simple structure. I’ve always loved odd time signatures, so in the era of my life my writing was similar to Tool, Rush, Mastodon. Till I finished high school, I stuck in that style of writing very progressive rock/metal vibes, adding different genres in the mix, exploring different harmonies and tones. But it wasn’t till I went off to college for music my writing really became what it is now and what Im most proud of. Being able to record at home was a world of different. Now I could write a riff on a guitar and patch it a violin or a flute etc, I could add huge chords and atmosphere in the background to songs I had already wrote. Having this at my finger tips opened up an entirely new world! As for production, I do it all myself for soundtracks. For album recordings I get my work mixed and mastered by someone else.

SKSM: How did you get started to wrote the Soundtrack for Mute?

Nathaniel Reynolds-Welsh: Like I stated earlier, my writing of the soundtrack began with a song I wrote for my solo project. From there on I just wrote naturally as I would, on a guitar or a keyboard. Recorded the parts. From there I notated them in a score and patched that to synths, orchestration, and atmospheric tones. That what how I captured the feeling and vibe Kyle and Rebecca were going for.

SKSM: Is this your most challenging audio so far?

Nathaniel Reynolds-Welsh: This is the 2nd soundtrack I’ve done, my first was for a podcast Endless Vigilance. With soundtracks, I have no stress, or challenge whatsoever. I just write how I naturally would. The only time that can be a challenge is making sure the director is happy and you captured the feeling they wanted. But I’ve been fortunate enough to have everyone happy with my work.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the music that you would like to tell me about?

Nathaniel Reynolds-Welsh: Nothing too crazy, but it had been 2 years since doing my last soundtrack so it was unique to see just natural how it would differ from the first. The first soundtrack I went a little too crazy initially, put too many layers etc. I basically wrote the tracks as complete songs, where as a soundtrack you have to be in the background, there to set a mood for a viewer/listener to feel while still being able to focus on the film or podcast. Having this knowledge made writing this soundtrack a lot more natural in that sense too. Which for me the key was to know when to stop writing and when to stop adding layers.

SKSM: After Mute did you write more music? If so what?

Nathaniel Reynolds-Welsh: I’m constantly writing music. Aside from writing within the bands I play for, I’ve easily wrote over 4 albums worth of material. I always have at least 3 project files on the go. It’s a constant craft, you can only become a better writer the more you write. In terms of soundtracks and hired work, with covid too it’s been a little slow. Although within the next few months I will be ready to record an album for Aghast Imminence my solo project. I had a few songs from months ago I just finished, as well as a few new ones I just wrote. They all fit the same vibe, so keep your eyes and ears out for that within the next year!

SKSM: What are you working nowadays?

Nathaniel Reynolds-Welsh: Aside from everything musical, for day jobs I’ve worked construction jobs, retail, contracting. Currently I’m a supervisor at a dispensary. In Canada cannabis is legal, pot shops everywhere. It’s a good gig to have, the store I work at is low staff so feels very family oriented in the way of how close we are and how well we get along, also my Aunt is my GM so it’s literally family oriented for me. For high school me I’m working my dream job, but even now it’s one thing that pairs perfectly with music.

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Nathaniel Reynolds-Welsh: I am a fan of Stephen King’s work, the story lines and concepts are unlike no other. Personally speaking I’m not the biggest reader my mind wanders a bit too much that I have a hard time finishing books, or I end up spacing out and having to re-read. Ive read The Shining, it was incredible! I also have Nightshift which is awesome, I’m a huge fan of his short stories. In terms of the movies, TV specials, and TV shows I’ve loved everything I’ve seen which is a big chunk of the selection. I recently finished Mr.Mercedes the show, that blew my mind! I also recently saw the 90’s rendition of The Shining the TV special, that was superb as well, I found it a lot more accurate to the book compared to the movie. Which for me is a bold statement because I’ve always loved the movie!

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Nathaniel Reynolds-Welsh: I have a bacon strip tattoo… I eat 80% vegetarian. Obviously I still eat bacon

SKSM: What advice would you give to those people who want to be musicians?

Nathaniel Reynolds-Welsh: I’ll try to make this short… practice everyday minimum 2 hours, practice to a metronome, learn your favourite songs, listen to every genre, learn every genre and style, find people with instruments to jam with, go to open mics and jam nights to connect and learn from local musicians. Key at this point is to find people better than you, jam with them and you’ll skyrocket! Learn from as many people and as many outlets as you can.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything else you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Nathaniel Reynolds-Welsh: I appreciate you all, especially if you’ve read this far! Enjoy the film Mute, it’s a really great piece of work along with everything else Kyle and Rebecca have done!

 

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