Fatal Pictures, based out of Toronto Ontario, have brought us several fantastic short films such as CONSUMPTION (2008), WORM (2010) and most recently FAMILIAR. These films have screened internationally at a wide range of popular genre festivals including Dark Bridges Film Festival, Screamfest, Oklahoma Horror Film Fest and The Sydney Underground film festival.
Co-founders Zach Green and Richard Powell are responsible for nearly every aspect of the filmmaking process from initial concept to marketing. Producer Zach also edits and is heavily involved in post, with hopes of writing and directing in the future. Writer/Director Richard also takes an active role in the editing room alongside his producing partner. Together they work to create original and challenging independent films of high quality and artistic value.
I’ve been corresponding with Zach about the upcoming festival screenings and he was able to put me touch with Richard who kindly answered a few questions for us.
BT: The two of you met during film school and went on to form Fatal Pictures almost 5 years later. What was it that drew you together?
RP: We met during final term when I needed an editor for my short film assignment. I posted an ad and only Zach replied. We bonded over the making of the film and really grew to respect each other as filmmakers and friends and eventually we decided to combine our abilities to a greater effect.
BT: Your body of work thus far has been predominantly genre films, do you plan to continue in this direction?
RP: Genre filmmaking is fun and has a freedom to it but I would never bind myself creatively to anything at the exclusion of all others. I love film and think in terms of story and character before genre and other kinds of classification.
BT: Considering your history together, and your continued working relationship with actor Robert Nolan, would you say that you enjoy working with a familiar team? No pun intended… okay maybe it was.
RP: I feel at an independent level it is a necessity, when you have enough money you could hire your worst enemy to work for you but guys at our level survive on favors and relationships. Personally I love knowing as many of my collaborators as possible and establishing relationships that span films. We have worked with the same Fx team the Butcher shop on all three shorts as well as our composer Bernie Greenspoon. I like having a team I can trust and grow with. I feel it adds something to the process that is missing in the more mercenary side of filmmaking.
BT: What is the tone usually like on the set of one of your films?
RP: Hectic but fun. We genuinely love making movies but there is an immense pressure to create great work. We have fun but take it very seriously. We also tend to schedule too much into our days which is a great recipe for stress. Hopefully with more success and resources we can make our days a little lighter and make time to appreciate the moment.
BT: The effects in this film are pretty fantastic, were they true to your original vision?
RP: Very much so, and all thanks to the butchershop run by Ryan Louagie and Carlos Henriques. I gave them my sketches and they realized them beautifully. They are great artists and I can’t wait to work with them again.
BT: What is the most difficult effect you’ve ever had to shoot?
RP: I feel the scene in Familiar where John discovers some very nasty things on his torso was the most difficult of all due to the mirror, the confined space of the room and all the little tricks we had to employ to make the lumps move. It looks simple but special fx require so much prep, planning and choreography in order to be successful. I really had to be on my toes to make those scenes work. Fx are fun to use but can become a pain in the ass very quickly, that said I look forward to using them again and again and learning along the way.
BT: Being that you are both involved in each stage of production, what would you say is the most enjoyable part of the process for you?
RP: I personally love the writing stages as there is a freedom to create and destroy with out consequence or cost. Once a crew, budget and schedule becomes involved the cement begins to dry. That said I really enjoy all of the technical aspects of filmmaking but I feel most at home when writing.
BT: Looking back on this film what is one thing you were most proud of upon completion of the project?
RP: Just being able to pull the project together on little more than favors and good will is what I’m proud of most. We couldn’t have done this a few years back but being able to make it happen now means we have progressed and that’s always the objective.
BT: What is your favorite genre flick?
RP: The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dawn of the Dead, Demons, Suspiria.
BT: What is your favorite thing about filmmaking?
RP: Creating characters and stories that haven’t existed before and sharing them with the world.
BT: Since this is Canadian Content, if you could work with anyone within the Canadian industry, who would it be?
RP: David Cronenberg by far, he’s made so many classics and continues to make daring and original films. He managed to make genre films in Canada and reach a global audience in a way no other Canadian has.
BT: What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers?
RP: Quit and get a Business degree. You can make a nice life for yourself as mid level management with a salary and benefits.
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