Q & A with Blarghaaahrgarg directors Nuria Leon Bernardo, Pedro Florêncio, Tiago Augusto, Fernando Alle and Luís Henriques.
frightmike: Blarghaaahrgarg is an interesting title for a film. How did you come up with the title? And more importantly were there any disputes on the correct spelling?
Nuria Leon Bernardo: Blarghaaahrgarg is the sound the film’s monster makes, we didn’t really come up with it, it’s merely a direct translation. As for the spelling, it’s all a matter of memorizing where the H’s should be.
fm: I understand that there was not one director for this film but it was a collective effort by the Clones. Tell me about how you typically go about writing/directing/producing a film in this way? Do you all yell “cut” at the same time? I would imagine so if you are indeed “clones.”
nlb: Although we all share creative credit on our films, we do have individual roles and as such there is one director/producer/camera guy etc. (as you can tell by the final credits) The only difference is that everyone has input and we all help each other at whatever we’re doing.
fm: I had the pleasure of seeing Banana Motherfucker at the London Fright Fest in August 2011, it was a motherfucking hit, congratulations! I’m curious though, how you were able to feature footage from around the world. Did you all travel to these locations, or did you commission locals to shoot for you?
nlb: Let’s just say we’re lucky to have some foreign friends with cameras.
fm: What can we look for next from the Clones? Would you ever consider making an autobiography? You know, a movie about clones?
nlb: We can’t say much about our next project, it’s still top secret info! But we can safely say it won’t be an autobiography, otherwise it would be the dullest film ever.
fm: And lastly, what are you motherfuckers afraid of?
nlb: We’re afraid of the following things: giant octopus, drowning, the film Gran Torino, dying while using a toilet, infected needles, house fire that only targets our dvd collection, wild rats, scary hobbos in the alleys while you’re walking your dog at night, eating spoiled food, angry skinheads, actors who drop out last minute, driving on ice, losing our friend Nelo, a sequel to Toy Story 3 that might ruin the trilogy, a sequel to Twilight that might ruin the trilogy, having to go to court against each other (social network style), being in a plane crash while on the toilet, flying cockroaches, Christopher Metz turning Anna Grimaldi against us, cops knocking on our door for reasons we can’t divulge, our director of photography becoming a dad and abandon us, pope Ratzinger’s face, cold Mcdonalds fries, getting fat and waking up one day completely bald.
Q & A with Red Balloon directors Damien Mace and Alexis Wajsbrot
frightmike: Red Balloon features some impressive visual effects, (specifically in the opening sequence). Do you have a lot of effects experience and do you frequently use visual effects in your work?
alexis wajsbrot: Damien and I have been working in the VFX industry for almost 10 years, so we can say that yes we are using it very frequently . Damien is a lead Matte Painter/Concept artist and recently finished post production of GAME OF THRONES and is now working on SNOW WHITE, i am lead Fx Artist currently working on GRAVITY from Alphonso Cuaron.
fm: I notice Red Balloon was co-directed. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having 2 directors and… are either of you afraid to direct alone?
aw: There are [tons] of advantages, the first being the emulation between us, there are no compromise between us, I simply had to convince him (or reverse) in order to have an idea approved, plus we believe, if we are already pleasing 2 different people, we have a greater chance at pleasing a wider audience!
On set, there are so many things/details not to forget, specially on a very low budget movie, where it’s always the rush than having 2 brains is better than one. It’s also easier to manage a team of 30 people, Damien may speak more with the DOP, and myself a bit more with actors.
Co-directing is also an incredible human experience, a movie is very long and slow process to make, being able to share this experience with someone a brother (for lots of directors) or in this case a best friend is great. There is always one of us to motivate the other one to go even further and push for the best.
The disadvantages may be that’s it’s slightly longer to take a decision as the other one has to agree, but most of the time it’s for the best. An advice would be to choose carefully the person you are going to work with, as it’s long hours with him. The ideal would be someone that complete your skills, with the same kind of experience and feeling. Be prepare, It’s almost a wedding for the worst and the best, ask Damien’s girlfriend !
fm: I can think of a few films that feature horrifying rabbits, Donnie Darko, Fatal Attraction even Monty Python and the Holy Grail had a killer bunny. Why are rabbits so well suited for creepy violence?
aw: I am not sure ! In our case Damien and I went to a costume store to make a quick pre-shoot of the movie at the beginning of the project (to test few shots we had in mind). We fall in love with a rabbit costume, it was just a happy rabbit that was very creepy.
So we kept the idea of the rabbit, it’s a doll a little girl could have, and TEZ PALMER made the final costume that we used in the movie
We are also big fan of Donnie Darko, it may have influenced us unconsciously.
fm: What other projects are you looking forward to?
aw: Apart from hunting rabbits we are still working as VFX artist and Directors. We are pitching few feature length movies in L.A. where we are now represented, and also some commercials in France (where we come from).
fm: Aside from rabbits, what makes your hair stand on end?
aw: I personally hate spiders and snakes and for Damien, scary children and old [people] in horror movies.
frightmike: Midnight Roadkill has a dark comedic sense to it. Are you driving horror down the comedic highway or comedy down the horror highway?
owen mulligan: There’s a fine line between horror and comedy so I would say I purposely swerved to both sides of the road. Initially, Midnight Roadkill was not meant to be funny but I came to realize during rehearsals that I was laughing at how the scenes were playing out so it was fun to just let that be while working to create a creepy atmosphere.
fm: Have any animals chosen to off themselves by running in front of your car?
om: Oh sure all the time, there’s a lot of poor animals out there that do this but I make every effort to avoid hitting them. The thing I remember all too clear was a raccoon or something lying dead and smashed in the center of the road awhile back. The assholes that were re-painting the yellow line had painted right over the body. That image speaks a thousand words to say the least.
fm: What’s scarier, guy in white leotard with fangs or overbearing girlfriend?
om: That’s hard to decide but I would say the guy in white leotards with fangs unless he’s attractive then I guess I’m a sucker.
fm: Tell me a little about what this shoot was like. Where did you shoot? How many nights? And were you afraid to pee in the woods alone?
om: The shoot happened in Hyde Park and Williston, Vermont over the course of about four nights that were spread out. It was extremely challenging to pull off so I was too focused on technical stuff to be afraid of peeing out there. We did get a visit from the local sheriff due to reports of ‘strange naked men’. Since we shot on a public road, several cars had passed by during shooting and must have noticed my naked creatures. Luckily, the creatures were smart enough to hide in the bushes and we got off Scott Free.
fm: What are some of your favorite horro-comedies? I think I just coined a phrase, did I?
om: I believe you may have coined a phrase, better Google it. So horro-comedies, well the Evil Dead and Dead End are the films that come to mind and that I always love to revisit. I usually don’t like horro-comedies though to be honest but maybe they’re growing on me.
Owen Mulligan is the founder of DeadFi Productions based out of Burlington, Vermont. He’s been creating short micro-budget films in the horror genre since 2008. His films have played films festivals in Massachusetts and California and have been broadcast on the Creeps Creature-Feature TV show, which aired throughout New England. His film Midnight Roadkill was included on a DVD compilation that was released with an issue of the UK magazine GoreZone. His films have also been mentioned on Ain’t It Cool News.
daniel bruce: Growing up in South Africa we learn to live our daily lives with a certain amount of consistent paranoia; even though we are not always conscious of the fact that we are doing it, we are always looking over our shoulders with the idea that anything can happen at any moment. Not so much with regard to random incidents like car accidents or coconuts falling on our heads but more specifically regarding violent crime. This heightened sense of self-preservation often leads to heightened imagination where we will sometimes see serious threats where there simply are none. So coming from that background, this story based on the premise of tragically blind presumption seemed something i was qualified to tell and i am sure had something to do with its inspiration.
fm: Do you typically like working within the thriller genre? Why or why not?
db: yes but not in the pure sense of the genre, i like to give it some dramatic integrity too… so thriller/drama. but to be honest there is no real genre that i typically prefer working with… if its a good story then its a good story. my other short is an abstract black comedy… so…
fm: What are your favorite horror/suspense films?
db: havnt seen any in ages actually…umm… a french one from years ago called Vibroboy or something, i saw it a the Barcelona Film Fest. It was like Texas Chainsaw Massacre except instead of a chainsaw the killer had a big dildo strapped to the end of a jack hammer.. was fucking twisted:)
fm: What are some of your upcoming projects?
db: a Feature Film (thriller/drama), TV series (comedy) and a TV movie (Drama)
fm: What are you most afraid of?
db: Bad acting and sharks because i surf!