Check back next year for my next briliant blog update!
How did the idea of making a giallo come about?
"I had already made two feature films, The Farm, a thriller which got a small release in America. The second, The Gingerbread Men, which was a dark romantic comedy-musical, got into only one festival and got no offers of distribution. I knew that if I was to make another film, I’d have to film it over the course of a couple of years, as I didn’t have the money for another big production, and it would have to be something that had a better chance of being distributed. I’m a huge fan of Italian genre films, and gialli in particular, and knew that more and more people around the world are discovering the genre every year, and would hopefully be interested in seeing a new example of the genre. I hoped that my own love of the genre would sustain me through the long production process, which it just about did"
When somebody makes a giallo these days, they tend to go one of two ways; they're either great-looking, super stylized affairs that make little or no narrative sense or they end up feeling like poor pastiches of the great films of the 70’s. You've gone a different route. How come?
"I’m generally not a huge fan of pastiche, as the level of self-awareness that those sort of films have is not something to which I really respond. There are definitely a few nods towards other gialli in The Three Sisters, but they’re not done in a way that distracts from the narrative. And as I was the only crew member for 90% of the film, making a great-looking super-stylized affair was never going to happen, as I’m not a good enough technician"
The Three Sisters is self-financed isn't it? I assume it's been quite a few trials and tribulations during filming?
"That’s right, all of my films have been self-financed. I could try and take the more traditional route of making short films and trying to get proper funding that way, but I’d rather express myself on my own terms, without having to play the ‘game’ of the film business, and I don’t have a huge interest in short films.
As I mentioned, I was the entire crew for most of the film, which meant that I had to bring the actors in to dub a huge amount of dialogue towards the end of filming, and also artificially create the soundscape for most of the film, by adding footsteps, sounds of clothes rustling, etc. It took just over two years to shoot, and was very tough to edit, so it’s definitely the most amount of time I’ve ever invested in a single project"
Which filmmakers and films have inspired you?
"Jess Franco for his productivity, Nicolas Winding Refn for his belief in his own vision, Jean Rollin for his perseverance, Paul Thomas Anderson for his genius, Charlie Kaufman for his ability to see what life really is, Lars von Trier for his belief in himself.
I don’t know if any films have inspired me in the same way that people do. Pulp Fiction was very inspiring when I saw it as a teenager, as it didn’t follow usual narrative formulae, and felt like anything could happen at any time. Although my own work hasn’t been directly influenced by that, it definitely opened my eyes to the possibilities of what cinema could be outside the Hollywood blockbuster machine"
What is it that you love about the Italian genre film?
"Probably the biggest thing that appeals to me is the earnestness of the films. They were made by properly trained professionals, who were usually seeking to create solid entertainment; nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes the low budgets, or the fact that they were making films in a foreign language, can result in clunky moments, but I try to overlook that and see the film that the director was trying to make. The fact that they churned out so many movies is also great, as once you get hooked you’ve got hundreds and hundreds of films to seek out"
How did the collaboration with Repeated Viewing come about?
"I saw a link to Alan’s music on an internet message board (the Latarnia Forum), and liked what I heard. At that point I’d shot around a third of the film, and I was looking to get a score to help me edit what I’d already shot, and to help choreograph the remaining set pieces. I emailed Alan and he was very enthusiastic about coming on board, especially after I was able to immediately show him a couple of scenes set to his music. He remastered all the tracks I used, which was a very kind gesture, and managed to secure a US release of the (brilliant) soundtrack on Wil-Ru Records (which everyone should buy)"
What have the reactions to the film been like?
"Generally positive, although the most recent screening was attended by 2 people, both of whom left before it was over. It’s gotten several positive reviews though, and has been pretty well received at a few festivals. I think the fact that most of it’s dubbed might put off people not familiar with Italian genre cinema, and the lack of over-the-top gore and nudity might put off people who are fans. Overall I think I’m pretty happy with it though; it’s a decent film which only cost €5000, and I got to work with one of my favourite iconic Italian actors, Giovanni Lombardo Radice"
What's up next for you?
"Film-wise, I’ve directed a fake trailer for a project called Grindsploitation. It’s basically a collection of trailers for movies that don’t actually exist, similar to the trailers which Eli Roth, Rob Zombie etc did for the film Grindhouse. My trailer’s for an imaginary film called The Samurai Motorcycle Horror Gang, and the project should be released next year.
I’m also writing a novel, which I hope to complete before Christmas.
Finally, I’m finalizing an idea for another feature, which I may try to make at some point next year"