Monday, June 18, 2012

Indie Filmmaker Spotlight: Philip Gelatt

Name: Philip Gelatt

A few blogs back I reviewed the film "The Bleeding House" and was impressed with its polished look and genuinely creepy vibes. And while it had some flaws I was blown away find that this was his first film. I would recomand you check it out, people who have streaming on Netflicks can view it right away, and please do!

Mini Bio: Philip was born in a small town in Wisconsin. When he turned 18 he moved to New York to make a name for himself. While living there he wrote for several mayor comic labels such as Dark Horse and Oni Press. He then made the transition into film making. His feature the Bleeding House marked not only his first film as director but writer as well. His three favorite films are Psycho, Alien and Barry Lyndon.

Philip directing a scene.

Indie Filmmaker Phillip Gelatt gives Gorehound Mike a one on one!

GM: When you moved to New York you wrote for some big comic labels, which comics did you write?

PG:   For Dark Horse I wrote an Indiana Jones comic (this was around when the last movie came out).  And almost did some work on their Star Wars stuff but it never came to fruition.  For Oni I did a book called Labor Days and a book called Petrograd.  Petrograd I am particularly proud of, it’s about the assassination of Rasputin in the run up to the Russian revolution.  It was drawn by Tyler Crook, who is currently doing BPRD.    

GM: How did you make the leap from comic writer to filmmaker?

PG:  Before I was in to comics, I was in to film, basically.  So while I was writing comics, I was also working in the office of an indie film company in New York.  While doing that, I read a lot of bad screenplays and figured “screw it, I can write something better than this.”  That led to me writing the first draft of what would become The Bleeding House.    Originally, I was only interested in writing.  But as the producers started getting money together, at a certain point the idea of me directing came up and I jumped at the chance. 

GM: I obviously am a huge fan of your feature Bleeding House, what inspired you while writing it?

PG:  A lot.  As it was the first screenplay I wrote to completion, I was pulling inspiration from anywhere and everywhere I could.  The principle inspiration was just thinking back to my hometown in Wisconsin and how easy it was to get lost on the back roads around it.  I love the idea of little corners of forgotten America where strangeness lives and breeds.   There is a lot of literature and music influence in the movie too.  There are some specific references to things as well, particularly in Nick’s dialogue.  References to songs and poems and historical occurrences.   There was, for a time, a scene in the movie where he quoted the opening line of Call of Cthulhu but I took it out. 

GM: This being your first film, what are some things you learned from this experience?

PG:  I learned so much I can’t even begin to tell it all.  The big lesson, I think, was no matter how much you think you’re prepared to start shooting… you’re not.   Another big lesson: you might think you have plenty of time to get a scene exactly right… you don’t.  And then more specific lessons:  don’t shoot night exteriors in the middle of November.  Don’t write a movie with a live bird in it. 

GM: What was the most challenging aspect of the shoot?

PG:  Oh mostly things that taught me the lessons I learned.  I really wasn’t ready for the time pressures, I wasn’t ready to have an AD saying to me “we have to move on, we have to move on, we have to move on.”   It was really a mentally and physically exhausting process. 

GM: Did you have to scale back your vision at all, due to time and or budget?

PG:  Yes.  Definitely.  We cut extensively from the script, scenes and violence.   Scenes because our shoot time was so quick, violence because the budget wouldn’t allow anything too extensive.   My vision for the movie definitely mutated at budgetary concerns came to surface.  

GM: This is a dark film, was the mood light on set?

PG:  The mood on set was great, actually.  Everyone got along really well.  The cast were all very close with each other.  I think the only storm cloud on the set was me and that’s just because I was constantly stressed. 

GM: Would you like to work with anyone again on a future project?

PG:  Definitely.  Frederic Fasano was my DP, he shot a few of Argento’s latest movies, and he was amazing.  I never would have made it through production without him.  I’d definitely work with him again.  Both Alexandra Chando (Gloria) and Nick (Patrick Breen) brought amazing things to this project.  They had very different styles and approaches but I had a great time collaborating with them both.  Nina Lisandrello (Lynne) was also great to work with, I’m very excited for her, she’ll be on the new Beauty and the Beast show on the CW this fall.    

GM: Speaking of future projects what are you currently working on?

PG:  A sci-fi/thriller script I wrote just wrapped production a few months ago.  I didn’t direct it but I was intimately involved throughout production.  It’s called The Europa Report and it has Sharlto Copley in it.  And now that that is done, I’m working on writing.  All genre stuff, I’ve been writing a lot of sci-fi recently but I’m hoping to get things back on Earth and back firmly in the horror headspace soon.   I have a project I just started writing that I’m dying to direct myself, so fingers crossed.    

GM: Any advice for future filmmakers who may be reading?

PG:   So much advice.  Study the films you love and figure out why you love them and then figure out what you don’t love about them; figure out what you would have done differently.  Filmmaking is work, so be ready for that.  There’ll be a lot of people out there who will hate what you do, so don’t do your work for them, do it for yourself.  

Thank You Philip for taking the time to do the interview! Guys seriously check out Bleeding House 

the interview on this blog is the sole property of Gorehound Mike and should not be used in any website,blog or magazine all rights reserved 2012 Michael Vaughn

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