There is nothing that the Black Saint loves more than talking with young directors looking to make some waves in the horror genre with their latest productions (OK…I do enjoy making my kids play in traffic a lot too, it relieves tension). They might be awful, they might be amazing but they all come from the blood, sweat and tears of people who believe in what they’re doing. By and large these are filmmakers that have little more than a few dollars, some really good friends, a decent camera & a dream. But they’re out there fighting the good fight for all of us who love the genre and with any luck, who knows? Their “Little” film gets some attention at festivals & conventions, it gets picked up for distribution by a major company that likes what it sees and next thing you know their name is all over the place and everybody wants to know what their next project is going to be. It’s happened before and it’ll happen again.
Director Bryan Wolford is currently making the rounds with his latest short “Myctophobia“, a 10 minute excursion of terror. Starring Kitsie Duncan, it’s a quick, creepy and scary look into the problem a woman has with her overwhelming fear of the dark…and what might be lurking in it. He (Along with Ms. Duncan) was kind enough to discuss his film and his plans for the future with Horrornews.net.
HN: Let’s start with your production company, Freakwolf Productions. How did you get it started? What do you want to accomplish with it?
BW: Well, since I was in high school I wanted to be a filmmaker and what I did was take my best friend’s nickname (Freak) & since my last name has the word “Wolf” in it I put them together to create an innocuous, stupid name! But I always wanted to make movies so I finally decided to get off of my butt and get to it. So far I’ve directed four short films and I’m hoping to begin work on my first feature film sometime next year which will be followed by taking it to the festival/convention circuit and finding an audience for it.
HN: What was your inspiration for “Myctophobia”?
BW: I was asked to do a film for the Collective Vol. 4 (The fourth in a series of collected short films dealing with one specific theme) which was all based on emotions. I was assigned the emotion of fear so what I did was get a list of phobias together to find one that I thought would make an effective short film subject. The first thing I told myself was that “I Was not going to do any fear of the dark film because it’s so cliche” but after looking over the list for more than an hour and not finding anything I decided that maybe fear of the dark wasn’t so bad after all (Laughing)! So I came across “Myctophobia” and the way it was defined was as a “Fear of darkness” and I thought that was really interesting because the definition sounded as if it gave the dark a presence. So I built on that, with the idea of how someone would react to having darkness itself engage them.
HN: How long did it take you to write the script?
BW: Two days! Which is baffling to me. I literally came up with the idea, wrote it out and sent it to Kitsie and asked if she wanted to be in it. Thankfully she said “Yes”!
KD: I was all over it (Laughing)!
BW: And then I got in touch with my friend Steve (Christopher) who plays the therapist and asked if he wanted to be in it and he said “Yes” as well. So I had the entire script & cast set in three days!
HN: And what did the total cost of “Myctophobia” turn out to be?
BW: About $1500 dollars. We wanted to make sure everybody got compensated for their time and most importantly we wanted to make sure everybody got fed as well.
KD: We were fed VERY well!
BW: Exactly! One of the things that all indie filmmakers will tell you is that if you at least feed your cast, they’ll be happy no matter what else is going on. So I tried to make sure we had really good food & that everybody was well compensated. We had a really good time making this short.
HN: How long did it take to shoot from beginning to end?
BW: Shooting wise? We shot this over a period of two days and I had sworn to myself that I was never going to shoot another film like this over a weekend again. But Kitsie was so sweet and she wanted to be sure that we got all of her shots in the can because she lives six hours away and I didn’t want her to keep schlepping in every other weekend to work on it. So we just squeezed it all into one weekend and I think it turned out really well.
HN: Kitsie, how did you meet Bryan?
KD: Facebook (Laughing)! Actually I had submitted one of our films to Drunken Zombie eons ago and we just kind of kept up with each other through there. He sent me this script and I fell in love with it immediately and the rest as they say is history I guess!
HN: You’re excellent by the way! It was hard for me to take my eyes off of you, you command the camera and you most definitely have a presence!
KD: Well thank you! I had a really good director as well!
HN: What have you done in the past that we might have seen you in?
KD: Not a whole lot that’s been released actually! I was in “Lethal Obsession” which is a Darkriders studio production. There’s a short on Youtube called “A Christmas Scream” which is a Darkriders Studios/Musclewolf Productions production. There is also “What They Say” which is hitting the festival circuit right now.
BW: “What They Say” is awesome!
KD: Thanks Bryan! It is a truly beautiful piece. My husband and I run Darkriders Studios and we had done a piece on the very first collective as well called “Meat Eater”.
HN: Thanks for the heads up Kitsie! Bryan, are there any plans to maybe expand on the idea behind “Myctophobia” and make it a feature film?
BW: Not particularly, if you look at all my other short films I call this the last entry of my “Darkness” trilogy. My first short film was called “Shadows” and it was about a kid who claims there’s a “Shadow Man” in his bedroom and his dad doesn’t believe him. My second short dealt with a dorm room that had a ghost trapped in it’s closet. I have a friend named Wes Thompson who’s been in all of my films and he told me that I had something for people who find themselves in the dark and I never really thought about it before he mentioned it to me. I guess “Shadows” & “Myctophobia” definitely have something in common but I don’t have a story in my head where I can expand on those themes right now.
HN: “Myctophobia” looks great! What equipment did you use to shoot it?
BW: We used a Canon 7D and a Canon 5D which both look the same when you shoot on them. I thought the picture came out looking beautiful, the coloring/lighting looked amazing. I had the BEST crew I could possibly hope for working on this! The best thing about being a director when you have a crew like this is having someone tell you that your film looks amazing and then I turn around and tell five other people the same thing! All I do is walk on set, they show it to me and I say “Yeah…it looks amazing. Let’s do it” (Laughing)!
HN: Speaking of your crew, I noticed the name Brandon Lamprecht all over the credits. It was almost as if he did everything but direct the film. Where did you meet him?
BW: The weird thing is we both went to high school together and didn’t even know it until we met years upon years later! Brandon & another friend of mine who worked on “Myctophobia” named Darrin Ford had made a short film together and I run a local horror film festival here so he got in touch with me through that. And as we began talking back and forth we realized we were working on the same kind of material and decided we should try to work together on something. They’re doing stuff with me & I’m doing stuff with them and it’s turning out to be a pretty awesome little group we’ve developed together. I love writing & directing, I can get by on editing but I’m not that great whereas they’re really good with lighting and editing. We all seem to have a particular strength that the others don’t have so when we come together it’s pretty spectacular!
KD: They’re all absolutely amazing!
HN: Was “Myctophobia” filmed in your home Bryan?
BW: No! I was starting to get worried because I couldn’t find the right house to shoot it in. We shot for two days & I think we shot for 17 straight hours on Saturday, is that right Kitsie?
KD: (Laughing) YES!!!
BW: (Laughing) So we had to literally take over someones home for at least a day and a half and they had to be OK with it. My friend Les, who I mentioned earlier, has a girlfriend who’s a Realtor and she just happened to be selling a house that belonged to her aunt and would I like him to ask if it was possible to use the house for the movie? Nobody was living in it either, it was empty. So after the usual “Signing over my life if the house burns down” forms, we got to use the house and it was awesome! I even rewrote some of the script to fit a room that I found up at the top of the house which was sort of like a storage type of room. I had originally envisioned the end of the film taking place in the living room but once I saw this room I knew it would look better for the finale. The house was just perfect!
HN: Are you familiar with a director named Jess Franco?
BW: I feel like I should know him because the name is very familiar but no I’m not.
HN: He’s a Spanish director of some renown. I ask only because there’s a shot in the film where Kitsie’s character hears a knock at the door & the camera zooms into her face very quickly. That to me looked just like a classic Franco zoom shot, he’s well known for using the zoom lens way more than necessary.
BW: We had a bunch of crew members who were always wanting to try out new ideas..
KD: Yeah, that shot was totally last minute.
BW: We filmed that scene straight a few times and then one of the crew asked if we could try the zoom lens on it and if it worked, great. if it didn’t we had some pretty good shots already. It worked fantastically, I’m definitely going to look up some of his stuff now.
HN: What’s next on the agenda for you and Darkriders Studios Kitsie?
KD: Darkriders Studios is kind of on hiatus right now. The “Real World” jobs have come into play and things are on hold for Darkriders right now. We have a movie in the can that has some audio issues called “Mother’s Blood” that we’re hoping to get out as soon as we possibly can but I can’t give out a date at this point. As for me and my acting, I just finished filming “Proxy” with Zack Parker, check it out on IMDB there are some pretty amazing names connected to that. Next week I’m going to begin work on “The Impersonators” which is by Joshua Hull and it’s kind of a superhero comedy. Please check me out on IMDB under Kitsie Duncan or at KitsieDuncan.com, I’m always looking for work!
HN: Thank you for your time Kitsie! Wishing you much success in your future. Bryan is anything planned between now & next year when you say you want to start working on your feature film?
BW: Well I’m actually producing/writing a movie this fall. Brandon, Darren & I have been working on this project about the mysterious Rhoda Derry who is sort of a local legend around here in Illinois. The thing about her is she was in a mental hospital that was situated here in the early 1900’s and although it’s very obvious now that she was schizophrenic it wasn’t back then. Nobody knew what was wrong with her, she just kept babbling on about the devil being after her and such. She ended up clawing out her own eyes at one point! Nobody knew what to do with her so they literally locked her in a wooden box for 40 years. We’ve actually been in contact with her great grandnephew who was doing a lot of family research at the same time we were. We really want to help tell her story because it kind of changed the way mental health was dealt with in Illinois in the 1900’s. We’re doing it as sort of a half documentary/half feature film with lots of interviews with mental health experts and lots of good reenactments of certain events in her life. When people see it it’s going to be amazing! We already have sort of a demo online which is very cool. After that I was asked to be part of an anthology film that I was really excited about but now we have no idea if it’s really happening or not, but I have a script ready for it.
HN: Can I ask what it’s about?
BW: It’s my take on a Wendigo story. I don’t want to do it like the usual monster movie, I wanna do something a little different with it and hopefully modernize it just a bit. Hopefully that’ll happen next Spring but I have no idea if it will or not right now.
You can watch the “Demo” for the proposed Rhoda Derry documentary here: youtu.be/8e9qB7bNVrI & be on the lookout for “Myctophobia” at festivals & conventions worldwide. You can also contact Kitsie Duncan at www.KitsieDuncan.com and follow her at www.Facebook.com/kitsieduncan.
Interview: Bryan Wolford – Director (Myctophobia)