Blog Archives

Interview with Pascal Payant

Hey guys!!  Dudes, I have been CRAZY busy!!  Like, busier than usual, it’s totes ridic.  I don’t remember what that sleep thing is at all.  And next month is going to be just as crazy, if not MORE so.  On top of all my 800 jobs deciding that I am really 3 people and giving me like 80 hours a month each, next month we’re supposed to finally re-start and finish filming the web series “When the Lights Go Out” (YAY!!!!!).  Soooo much excitement about that!!   Oh and one more thing – if you’re a filmmaker and you’d like me to check out your film/short film/whatever PLEASE contact me at cinemaschminema@gmail.com and please don’t leave a comment with a link to your work.  Thanks!
Anyway, a couple of months ago for Rogue Cinema, I did a review of a short film called On the Horizon that I absolutely adored.  I ended up emailing back and forth with the director for awhile and finally asked if I could interview him for Cinema Schminema and he said yes and that was wayyyyyy back in April and well, busy girl got even busier so I only have the interview NOW.  So without further ado – my interview with filmmaker Pascal Payant.  I’m including links to several of his films at the end of this, so be sure to check them out (especially because I want to know if anyone else saw some of the things I saw!  ;)).  Pascal’s pretty cool and the interview was a lot of fun so thank you Pascal!
Pascal


ML:  Your films (Something in the Way, White Blossoms and On the Horizon) evoke a sense of lyricism and poetry and are for the majority told without a lot of actor interaction (i.e. more in the form of voiceovers or one person speaking to the camera).  Would you consider this your signature style and how did this become your signature?
PP:  I love intimacy. I love when it’s simple, delicate but there’s dark layers, rich underground of meanings. It can look simple from the exterior but if you start analyzing the film you will see that every aspect of the film is there for a reason. every color , framing, sound, music, action etc. Everything is there for a reason. It’s my signature for sure. That’s the more crucial part for a director it’s to find your voice. When they click play they need to say yes it’s “THAT” person film. I never wanted to be a generic director. I want to have a voice, I want my films to have communal themes that connects all my works. Short films are there to experiment and find that voice. Once you are at the stage that you have your voice and you master your style. then go for the feature film. That’s where I’m at now. after 35 films,music videos etc. Now I’m ready for my feature film. It’s called “Stolen Season” It’s a road movie about a woman’s journey of self discovery.
Behind the Scenes - On the Horizon © 2013 Daniel Scherl

Behind the Scenes – On the Horizon © 2013 Daniel Scherl

ML:  Parts of On the Horizon in particular were very reminiscent to me of aspects of the band The Doors – partly due to the meter of the dialogue and partly due to the location.  Are you familiar with The Doors and if so were they in any way influential to your work?  Or is this purely coincidental (or perhaps on my part, just a huge Doors fan making connections)?
PP:  I think you are just a huge Doors fan 🙂 but I love the Doors. The beauty about art is that there’s meaning for everything. Every person will see something different. That was your case with this film. I didn’t have that in mind but I can see the connection.
Shooting a music video in Dijon, France

Shooting a music video in Dijon, France

ML:  You seem to be a fan of shooting in wide open spaces such as the desert or snow covered fields. Is this representative of a deeper layer of your works in the sense that they represent what seems to be common themes of isolation and loneliness in your films?  Or is this merely because you shoot with no budget and/or team and this creates both a less expensive and beautiful
backdrop?
PP:  It’s both. When you have no budget you chose location that can be stunning and filmic. An ocean, a field, snow or desert cost nothing and you can create the most stunning piece using these locations. A film is a visual medium. You need to have something to dream about when you watch a film otherwise what’s the point? I love wide space. I love the fact that you can escape and be totally free in nature. I’m a bit claustrophobic so if you stuck me in a forest I will feel weird but if you let me go in a huge empty desert, I feel at home. I’m calm and at peace. Even if there’s darkness around me at that moment, wide open space can be very therapeutic. It can be isolation or it can be an healing process. depend on the film, depend on how you receives it 🙂
ML:  As well as short films, you’ve also done a number of music videos (I watched two done for Automatik Eden, one for Zeraphine and one for Philip Aelis).  The bands all seemed to have a similar style and flavor – do you seek bands out to shoot their videos and come up with their concepts or do they seek you out?  Or are these groups friends of yours?  I know in a few of your videos you featured music written and performed by friends.
PP:  Music video wise, I’m kinda of a groupie. I don’t care about the money or fame. I just want to create cool concept, videos with bands that I love. Zeraphine for example, I contacted them cause I love their music for years. They checked my stuff and the singer said yes, let’s shoot. So I flew to them for free to shoot with them. It was so fun. I will never do music video if I hate the band, just for money. I won’t. I won’t have any fun doing it. Same from Philip in France or Automatik Eden. I did 2 videos for them and they look different but similar. We experienced and tried stuff. It’s so fun. The goal is to bring your style in everything you do. It can be challenging. I create all concept then I pitch it to them. I love supporting new bands or just collaborating with amazing talents around the world. I have so many bands I want to work with.
ML:  The Philip Aelis video seemed very unlike the other music videos I viewed in that it featured color instead of muted black and whites.  What was the difference there that made you move away from what you’d done with other bands?
PP:  We wanted to create something that the woman was in her own world, isolated from anybody. He had a connection to a night club and I said what about having this girl to be all alone and dancing with the lights and lasers, that she can be free of anything. Something very simple but elegant, classy and dreamy. There it was. In everything that I do, the colours need to pop out of the screen. I love when everything is natural, organic. I hate special effects , I don’t want to do them. My challenge is always to create beauty just from the lenses and the person. Nothing fake. It’s hard sometimes but at the end it works.
ML:  You mentioned to me in our conversations over the past couple of months that your films are about the strength of women in cinema.  Does this include your music videos? I noticed in Automatik Eden’s The Agency that there were themes of BDSM with a woman being in chains amongst other images.  If your work is about the strength of women in cinema, was your message here about power play in the BDSM community and were you trying to say that subs have the most power over doms instead of vice versa?  Or was this video simply one you directed as being opposed to one you also came up with the concept for?
PP:  It’s funny what you can see in my films 🙂 I love it. I love sensuality, beauty, fashion and in cinema, mostly it’s always about men point of view and the woman are object or secondary. I never liked that. I always wanted to give the woman a voice in so many ways. When you check my work it’s never about the body it’s about the face. Anybody can have a perfect body but no one has the same story in their face. Everyone is different, unique. I love facial expression and the beauty of the face. I’m really pushing hard to give woman a place in cinema with my style. My 3 next feature films are all about woman again. Men are there but they are used in a totally different way. For the music video, the song was about being trapped by the system so I had an idea to have her chained with the spotlight on her with her clothing all ripped off. They really liked it and on camera it look bad ass I think 🙂 I wanted her to have control of the chain and be strong, fierce when she was looking at us and it worked.
ML:  Your works that I viewed all feature very stunningly beautiful women.  Do you believe that women’s strength lies in their beauty?
PP:  Beauty can be a sadness and a strength  it can be a prison for some and courage for others. It all depends. That’s what I love about woman, about man, about visual. It’s so complex. It’s never just one layer. Beauty is everything and nothing at the same time. Depend on your personality at the end. It’s to creates a balance. Like I said in White Blossoms: Beauty is nothing if you don’t have the energy , the vibe, the personality to bring it to life in the most unique way. It’s all about what you do with the tool you have. You can be visually ordinary but if you have the most amazing personality. you will be the most gorgeous woman on earth.
ML:  On that same note, your film White Blossoms once again features very beautiful women and on the surface at least seems to be about body image.  But it also could be viewed as a take on the sexualization of women in society and also as the sexual journey a woman takes throughout her lifetime.  Is this up to the viewer to decide or is the meaning supposed to be very clear?
PP:  I think in the film it’s very clear where I stand. Like I said, if you don’t know what to do with that beauty that you have, you will be an empty shell, woman or man. It’s the same, you can be perfect from the outside but so empty inside. Every one needs to stop running and being stuck in that circle of life or society and just focus on themselves. they need to connect with the inner beauty to really create that balance of pure power and strength to be able to functioned.
ML:   I only watched the links you sent me (the music videos, Something in the Way, White Blossoms and of course On the Horizon) and with the exception of the music videos, there really aren’t any men featured in your works.  Are there men in your other works or is it really all about the women?
PP:  In my short it’s mostly about woman. My feature film will also be about women but, yes, men will be there too but it will be used in a different form. They will never be the center of my story. I prefer to give the voice to the women and make them shine with my style. People will love it or hate it but at least they will have a voice. I don’t know, all my life I’ve been connected way more with womean then men. It was just naturally for me. I always talked, listen and interacted with women. They said write about what you know, well that’s what I know 🙂 All my films, characters are me. They are women through my eyes. I love to create dreamy, moody films to showcase them in that world, just to recreate reality for me is boring. I want to dream and be in a different world. If I want reality I’ll open my door and see where I live 🙂 Nothing is accurate cause it’s an opinion. Like the film On The Horizon – that subject I’ve been there. I’ve been both parts: the broken hearted and the heart crusher. I’m far from being perfect but everything relation wise I know I’m pretty good at talking and expressing that subject in film or feature film.
Advertisements

An Interview with Cesar Cruz

You might remember (or not, lol) that I did a review for a little indie local film called Dark Passages back in August.  Well, I was also lucky enough to score an interview with creator Cesar Cruz about the film and his entertainment company.  From what I’ve seen, Mr. Cruz is hella talented so check out what he has to say below! (And more Antfarm Dickhole will be coming your way soon…yay? ;))

 

1.  At the Dark Passages premiere, I noticed that it was also your production company’s 14 th
anniversary. You look pretty young – when did you start making movies?

I came up with the idea of Outworld Entertainment when I was 13 years old. It wasn’t until
1998, when I was in college, that Outworld Entertainment became a reality. I registered the
name and created our first website using a basic, free, program called Cool Page. My first
film was a feature length horror/thriller called Darkness which I put together using a lot of
friends and classmates from college. Back then, desktop editing systems and programs were
just starting to get going and there was no HD format! So we did everything with bare basic
equipment, a Hi-8 camera at the time, and a copy of the latest Premiere. All our masters
went onto VHS since DVD burners really weren’t around and those that were, were extremely
expensive. With Dark Passages we shot full HD on SD cards and edited the entire film on a Mac
book Pro. A long way from our “Darkness” days!

2. You wrote and directed Dark Passages, do you write all of your films or do you take on projects
from other writers?

Most of the films I have worked on I wrote and directed myself. I really enjoy the story telling
process and I have always been influenced by James Cameron. Who writes and directs all of
his movies. I feel that the person, who created it and wrote it, has the best and clearest view
of what the film is going to be. With that said, I have directed a few short films written by
other writers. I like to push myself and get a taste of different things. I directed AFTER THE
FALL, REDIMERE and WINDOW, who all had different writers for each film. All three were great
experiences! I try to respect the writer’s original work while inserting my own style and vision.
It’s a unique process and I am glad I was able to experience it.

3. Tell us about The Frappinos, your feature length comedy. What’s the story and how did it come
about?

THE FRAPPINOS is a remake of a remake! It started off as THE FRAPPACHINOS and was my
immediate follow up to DARKNESS. I had this crazy idea of having a NJ mob family fight off
zombies! We were fresh off of filming DARKNESS, so we still didn’t have any idea about what we
were actually doing. There were casting problems, quality issues and continuity was destroyed
since it was shot over a year long span. Despite its problems, THE FRAPPACHINOS was a great
experience. It led me to create a lot of the foundation of what we were going to do and become
as an independent film company. A few years later I re-did THE FRAPPACHINOS and changed
the name to the FRAPPINOS. I got rid of the zombies and put in some ridiculous monster/fantasy
element to it. The characters became a big hit with viewers so I knew I had something special.
When DARK PASSAGES got put on hold for funding reasons, I decided to go back and remake
the film, again! This time I got rid of all the supernatural elements and just focused on making
an adult comedy that was heavily influenced by FAMILY GUY and THE SIMPSONS. I was trying to
make a ridiculous, outlandish and vulgar comedy. In many ways it worked! We won an award
with a budget of $500! It was always conceived to be a trilogy or a web series.

4. Which film that you’ve done is your favorite and why?

DARK PASSAGES is definitely my favorite. I love dark stories and fantasy. I really felt in my zone
when writing, filming and editing DARK PASSAGES. It had all the elements of a story that I love
and had the elements of movie making that I always wanted to do. Unfortunately, the economy
hurt us with funding so we only got to make a fraction of the script I wrote. But, I am extremely
happy with what we filmed and the extremely positive reaction that the film is getting is
awesome! I also got to work with one of my favorite bands, Leaether Strip. It was the first time
working with music composer, especially a world renowned musical artist. Claus Larson is just
amazing! He is full of talent and he really submerged himself into the world of DARK PASSAGES.
He only had the script to go off to create the character that is the music. I knew his work on this
film was something that would be just amazing. It is also really cool to have my film have its
own internationally released soundtrack!

5. What’s in the future for Outworld Entertainment? What upcoming films do you have? Where
do you see yourself in 5 years? What’s your goal as a filmmaker?

The last film I did was a short film called WINDOW. We are working on getting into festivals for
that film, as well as festivals for DARK PASSAGES. I also want to try and get DARK PASSAGES
into the feature that it was intended to be. Other than that, I have no plans on filming anything
new. I have a ton of ideas but funding is such an issue. I also have a project called TRILUNE
coming out. I have been working with 2 long time Outworld Entertainment contributors for a
few months on it. I am looking forward to it being released in October. TRILUNE is a place where
I can let me imagination run free without any budget constraints! It’s dark, brutal and beautiful!
That’s all I can say at this time.

6. Any advice for newbie directors and filmmakers?

COLLABORATION!!!! It is the key to filmmaking! Everyone involved is as equally important as the
director and star of the film. If you are a filmmaker you need to be willing to listen to everyone
involved, you have to trust them and you have to have your ego thrown to the curb. Respect
everyone that is involved! That includes everyone’s private time and schedule. Schedule your
auditions, meetings, rehearsals, and filming dates in advance. Give your cast and crew the
courtesy to work out their schedule and time to prepare for the project. I can’t tell you how
often I see actors getting a call the day before to shoot a scene. We are talking about actors who
have day jobs that all of a sudden have to stress about taking off or finding a replacement, on
top of figuring out how and when they are getting to the shooting location. In the end, you end
up with a cast or crew member who is never 100% prepared to do the job you need them to do.
I have never screamed or yelled during any of my productions. I have fired people, thought! My
basis for firing has always been a lack of focus, reliability and commitment to the project. Either
everyone gives a 100% and is on the same page or there is going to be a problem. So as soon as
I see something that isn’t working, I am going to fix it. There is so much I can say that I learned
from my 14 years in the business but I am not going to bore your readers!