I recently got the opportunity to chat with director/writer Daniel Benedict whose latest film, Bunni, premieres today. The premiere is being hosted by Verite Cinema and owner Pj Starks has this to say, “I’m stoked that Verite Cinema will be hosting the premiere of Daniels film. Since 2007 my goal was to showcase local talent and ultimately use my connections to help aspiring filmmakers reach the next level. By setting up the premiere of BUNNI, this definitely falls into line with what I want to accomplish. It should be a fun event and I look forward to seeing Daniel get his film out there. It’s a big and exciting step. I’m glad I can be apart of that journey.” Learn more about Daniel, his love of horror and all about Bunni below! Also be sure to visit the Red Serial Films website to watch the Bunni trailer (I’m super excited to see this one!!).
ML: Bunni is your latest film. You’ve been making films (8 shorts and 3 features to be exact) since 1994 and all in the genre of horror. What draws you to horror?
DB: I’ve always been obsessed with monsters, villains, and scary things of all kinds. The only books I used to check out of my elementary school’s library were ones on ghosts or the Universal movie monsters, etc. As I got older and was able to see R rated films, an entire new world opened up for me. A wonderful world of masked murderers and dream stalkers. So in 1994, a friend and I decided to get together and make our own Friday the 13th sequel. We had just seen Jason Goes to Hell at the drive-in the previous summer and thought we could continue the story. So I convinced my parents and grandparents to play the victims , which resulted in the most valuable (to me) VHS tape of all-time.
ML: Bunni was produced by Red Serial Films – is this your company or did they simply call you in to direct this? If it is your company, can you tell us a little about Red Serial Films?
DB: Red Serial Films was started by myself and long-time friend Steven Boling who served as producer for Bunni. He and I had been involved in making films since the late 90’s. So when the time came to start production on Bunni, we decided we needed to take the next step, gather together some highly creative talent, and create a brand striving to produce quality entertainment.
ML: So you also wrote Bunni?
DB: I started writing the script in the fall of 2010. I bounced it around among Steve, our script supervisors, and special effects team for about a year. This enabled us to flesh out the plot and characters more, work out the kinks, fill in the holes, and gave us a really cohesive story.
ML: Bunni, from the trailer, looks to be a slasher film. What’s the synopsis?
DB: Bunni takes a classic slasher stance. Basically four people are walking home from a Halloween party and make the terrible mistake of breaking into an abandoned building where a killer waits to bludgeon them. Two of the group discover what appears to be living quarters and a disturbing home video that reveals a horrific truth.
We’re by no means redefining the horror genre; our goal was to create an entertaining movie with originality at the same time paying homage to slasher films of the past. And I think we’ve accomplished that.
ML: Can you tell us a little about the cast of Bunni and what they’ve done before this?
DB: Mercedez Varble portrays Paige- the film’s protagonist. Mercedez is involved with the Theater Workshop of Owensboro and most recently starred in their production of Little Shop of Horrors. Paige’s boyfriend, Chris, is played by Kent Blue who is a regular cast member on the October Road Youtube channel.
ML: Is directing and filmmaking your full time gig or do you have a “day job”?
DB: I currently produce tv commercials as a living, so I’m constantly writing/directing. I hope to be able to continue to do feature films and take it as far as I can.
ML: Do you have any advice for future directors and filmmakers?
DB: I would tell anyone interested in doing films to just make one regardless of your resource limitations. Use whatever equipment you have, collaborate with anyone willing to help you, and create something that you love. Everyone has to start somewhere. It doesn’t matter if you have a Red Epic or a Sony Handycam, or whether you use Final Cut Pro or edit with 2 VCR’s, a cassette player, and Mario Paint (which is what I started with.)
Also, be willing to compromise, selflessly help others as much as you can, and please don’t get an ego. That’s so annoying. 😉