If you have read my recent articles on Canadian Horror Filmmakers, then you’ve likely heard of the Fatal Pictures filmmaking team of Richard Powell and Zach Green.
Starting with the short films Consumption (2008), Worm (2010) and then most recently Familiar (2012), they have made series of high quality horror films. I was lucky enough to present the world premiere of Familiar in March of this year at my Fright Nights film series; the film has been running up a mountain of festival awards since. This was no surprise to this writer. In this day and age of anyone being able to pick up a camera, the subtlety, complexity and sophistication of their work is quite unique in horror filmmaking these days. I spoke with director Richard Powell again recently to talk about their film and what they have coming up next.
Take me back to the beginning. How did you both meet and how did Fatal Pictures start?
Zach Green and myself met back in film school. He was a post student and I was in production. When my third term project was selected to be produced by the school, I needed and editor and Zach Green was the only person to reply to the ad. After film school we decided to take our filmmaking serious so we raised a small budget and produced our first project under the Fatal Pictures banner. That film was Consumption. Since then we have produced Worm and most recently Familiar.
What do you think the biggest challenge being an indie filmmaker has been so far?
Without a doubt, money. The desire to make films and improve your craft early on is constant but the means to do so are not. Luckily, we have met many generous and ambitious filmmakers over the years that have donated time and skill to help bring our projects to life. Of course all that means nothing if you're not willing to invest in yourself and your own films. There are times when no one supports what you believe in but if your will is strong enough you can convince others and make it happen.
In this day in age just about anyone can pick up a camera and make movie. What do you do with your films that make them different than the usual stuff that is out there?
I don't feel the need to follow trends or perpetuate what's already being done in abundance. The motivation is always going to be characters and stories that emerge from personal interests, experiences or curiosities. We don't feel bound by genre or convention and that allows a freedom to do anything, go anywhere with our films.
Watch the teaser for Powell's short Consumption:
You've worked with actor Robert Nolan quite extensively, first on Worm and now on Familiar. How has it been like working with him?
It's been great. Robert is the kind of actor who totally commits to character and takes the time required to understand and inhabit his role. He is also very generous with his time and that's makes all the difference in no-budget filmmaking. Having worked with him twice I'm beginning to understand how those famous filmmaking collaborations such as DeNiro/Scorsese, Kurosawa/Mifune and Bergman/Sydow occur. A kind of harmony and energy is harnessed when you have an actor who understands the director and a director who understands the actor.
Since Familiar premiered in March (of 2012) the film has really played quite a few festivals. What has the reaction been like?
Having actually been in the audience for the screenings at Fantasia and Fangoria's Fright Nights I was able to watch audience members react to the film and see how it plays. The reaction is what I had hoped for, a mixture of laughter, repulsion and apprehension. Some people are into it, others disgusted and shocked, but all I hope are fascinated and want to see where it goes, how it ends. If a film can compel you to keep watching, its won.
Watch the teaser for Powell's s Familiar:
Once the festival run for Familiar is finished, what are your plans for your next project?
There is the feature version of Worm that we can't wait to begin making. This will be our debut feature, after that it’s hard to say. In the mean time, there is always a chance for one more short film. The script is done and I'm currently in the middle of drumming up support for it. Hopefully one of these two projects gets off the ground in the not too distant future. The chances of that happening are good, as I said earlier, if the will is strong you can convince others and make it happen. The will is strong!
You can check out Familiar at the following upcoming screenings: