Alexander von Hofmann
He is the man behind Harvey’s Dream Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Alex von Hofmann: I am a filmmaker from Perth, Western Australia. I am a writer and director and I love to work in the horror, thriller and survival genres. I have made a series of short films over the last eight or nine years. They have screened at festivals and won awards all over the world and a few times I have been lucky enough to travel with the films and meet the great audiences and filmmakers at those festivals.
I have a love for horror that started when I was about five. My father and I went from video shop to video shop working our way through the horror sections of each. We watched everything, good and bad. That way I learnt the power of storytelling, make-believe, and the human response to fear, which is still our oldest and most powerful emotion. It took along time for me to circle back to these roots, but when I was about 25 I started to think about making horror films myself, and I wrote my first short script.
SKSM: When did you make Harvey’s dream? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Alex von Hofmann: I made Harvey’s Dream in 2015. I had just been through a long and hard filmmaking experience on my previous short, and I wanted somthing that wasn’t going to be funded and I could simply make the way I wanted to. I got the rights to Harvey’s Dream and wrote the script pretty quickly. So much of it is Harvey’s monologue, which is filled with great Stephen King dialogue. The challenge was about making Janet’s inner thoughts available to audiences through her actions on screen. But it came together well, and I had some strong visual ideas that I was excited to try. We got together a very small crew, two brilliant local actors, and shot it over two days. All up we spent $400 dollars – on some lights, equipment and food. It is still the easiest shoot I have ever worked on. Everything just fell into place.
SKSM: How come you picked Harvey’s dream to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Alex von Hofmann: I loved the tone of the piece the most. It has this deep, building dread that grows as Harvey recounts his dream. It’s like a third carácter in the story. It seems to wind its was through the suburb and land in the kitchen of this elderly couples house, and once it’s there with them, there is no escaping it. I wanted to take on the challenge of bringing that feeling to the screen.
SKSM: Harvey’s dream was selected in a lot of Festivals. Has the movie received any awards?
Alex von Hofmann: No it didn’t, in the end. I was really happy with the number and quality of the festivals that selected it. The feedback from festivals and audiences was really positive. But it didn’t win any awards. Here in Western Australia James Hagan (who plays Harvey) was nominated for a WA Screen Award for best actor.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Alex von Hofmann: The film has pretty much completed it’s festival run now. If it were invited to another festival, I’d absolutely enter it. But I have made two short films since then and I can usually only market one at a time.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Alex von Hofmann: When I was looking for the perfect location for the film, I ended up doing a lot of driving around and random door knocking. But I wasn’t having any luck. I needed a very specific layout for the story to make sense. So I typed up a letter and dropped it off in houses all over the neightbourhood that looked promising from the verge. One day I got a call from a woman who said she was a huge Stephen King fan and that Harvey’s Dream was one of her favourite stories. She said I could come look at her kitchen. I wasn’t sure what her house would be like, but it was absolutely perfect. Then she told me that her Maiden name was Harvey. And that is where we filmed. I guess it was meant to be.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Alex von Hofmann: We have received lots of really positive reviews for the film over the years. And it’s been a real pleasure to sit in audiences and see people react to the ending in such a dramatic way. I can’t say we’ve had a negative review yet, which is nice.
SKSM: This was your second Dollar Baby Film adaptation. Could we see a third one in the future?
Alex von Hofmann: Maybe. I have been focusing on feature films over the last couple years though. I have three original horror scripts that I am developing, in the hopes to attract funding to one. In the meantime I may take on another one so that I can keep my directing skills fresh, but I dont have any in mind yet.
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)?
Alex von Hofmann: No, I wish! With both dollar baby projects there has been zero contact. Everything runs through his office, and I’m not even sure if he watches the films when they are delivered. I like to think that maybe, when he has a spare hour off, he goes to the shelf and chucks on a couple dollar babies.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations.
Alex von Hofmann: Yes, I am a big fan. I read most of his books. My favourite works are the Dark Tower books, The Shining, 11/22/63, loved the Full Dark, No Stars collection. My favourite adaptations are still The Shining and Shawshank Redemption, but I have a soft spot for almost all of them.
SKSM: Tell us a little about your future projects. What are you working nowadays?
Alex von Hofmann: I’m writing a few horror features. One is a paranormal thriller/horror about a nurse looking after an old woman with Locked In Syndrome, and the old womans past comes to haunt her. The other is about the power of the mob in influencing politics through social media. It’s an exploration in how low a group of people can sink when group hysteria takes them. My hopes are to get one or both of those funded and made in the next few years.
SKSM: Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Do you want to add something more to this interview?
Alex von Hofmann: Thank you for your interest in dollar babies. I love that Stephen King has made this opportunity available to filmmakers. While it’s a shame that most don’t have a life beyond the festival circuit, it’s still a fantastic learning exerience to work with such well written source material.
Alex von Hofmann