I got to watch Phobias. It is a great film. I think Robophobia speaks volumes, especially with everything happening now and society is basically all technology.
Joe Sill- I got involved because I had made a film with one of the producers, Eric Fleischman a couple of years ago. When he brought the idea to me that he was building an anthology film. I thought it was an exciting prompt to discuss a segment that had a particular fear. I have always been fascinated with technology. I grew up, as an only child surrounded by technology. It has become a part of my filmmaking career. So, the irony would be that, I take something I love and use it as a fear. Right now, for tech there are so many different types of paranoias, even with zoom calls.
I heard that from quite a few people and had a neighbor once that told us that we should always put tape over anything that has a little light on it, or on my laptop etc. It is kind of crazy. This neighbor was very scared and he put tape over everything. Was this something you had to take into consideration?
Joe Sill- Yes, I know friends that work in the tech industry. The irony is though, what purpose do they have to watch you? I have nothing interesting to be watched while I’m surfing the web or doing emails.
I think this cast did such an amazing job. My heart went out to Leonardo so much. He had so much to handle in the film. How did you get everyone prepared?
Joe Sill- Oh, thank you. That’s all credit to Leo. He is an incredible performer and an incredible human. There are some moments that are spurred by racial tension in the film. I don’t think I could have anticipated being so publicly present in the press, this week in particular. When Leo and I first connected over the project, we identified as people that care about our families. Leo has two children and I very much care about my parents.
It was powerful. There is a powerful message in this film.
Joe Sill- Yeah, thank you.
I think the one that was especially powerful was how Johnny (Leo) took care of his father. They have this beautiful relationship and there are some beautiful moments.
Joe Sill- I can remember the moment when Steven and Leo shot that scene. It struck a chord in me. I wrote that scene with my own personal history in mind. When I was a child, I might have lost my father at one point but thankfully he did stick around. I remembered what it felt like to have those tough conversations. It felt cathartic and haunting in a way.
I think that Phobias makes you think about fears, mental health, and I’m not a fan of closed-in spaces. Do you have any fears or phobias that you can share?
Joe Sill- I definitely have a fear of large bodies of water. I think that is an externalized fear of the unknown. I think it’s a physical fear of not being in control of what’s underneath you. I would imagine claustrophobia is a fear of not having or not feeling like you have space to move in your mind. I think control is a big thing.
It’s fascinating how all of these stories come together. The characters are all tied in. What was it like working with everyone, and how did you get everyone prepared together?
Joe Sill- I’ll have to give all that credit to one of the other directors, Jess Varley. Jess ended up writing the segment that threaded the five segments together.
What do you want to say to everyone watching Phobias?
Joe Sill- I would hope that people have a fun time watching the movie.
Thank you so much Joe. It was so great to talk to you and Robophobia was excellent.
Joe Sill- Thank you so much.
SYNOPSIS: Five dangerous patients, suffering from extreme phobias at a government testing facility, are put to the ultimate test under the supervision of a crazed doctor and his quest to weaponize fear.
PHOBIAS IS OUT NOW.