Monday, February 26, 2018


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Steven Karageanes, he is an indie filmmaker with a lot of awards over his shoulders for his plenty of short films, he gave me the chance to talk about his horror film NEEDLESTICK an awarded production which is directed, produced and written by him,  NEEDLESTICK is a movie that speaks about the greed and evilness of a doctor who wants excel trying to make a medical discovery. Apart of that we spoke about his thoughts and advices for new filmmakers. I hope you like this interview.

EFF: Hi Steven, I am really glad to talk to you and thank you by allow me interview you, I will like to start this talk with: why and when did you get into film industry?

SK: Thanks, Elder. I had a strong interest in film when I was 9 or 10 years old, then I went on to become a sports medicine doctor. I finally took the plunge into the film industry in 2007 once I could not ignore my creative urges anymore. My first short film “American Piety” screened in Cannes, Monaco, LA, and NY, among other festivals, so I progressed from there.
American Piety (2008)

EFF: Where are you from Steven?

SK: Born in Detroit, Michigan.

EFF: "NEEDLESTICK" your last horror film so far, why you decided to shoot this film and how was all the creation process, only script and story modeling?

SK: I wanted to tell a story about medicine gone wrong, when one person becomes corrupted by the potential for fame and awards for a discovery. I thought a more entertaining way to present that story would be thriller-horror, not so much blood and guts and slashers, but psychological horrors of being in a hospital that doesn’t have your best interest in mind. I wrote my first draft and rewrote or adjusted it over a hundred times until it could be made cheaper but efficiently.
Needlestick (2017) AmazonVuduiTunes|

EFF: After you had the idea and all working out in your mind. How hard or easy was the pitching?

SK: Pitching is always tough. Even when you have it down, you are always worried that the other person won’t understand your full vision. However, I had the idea pretty tight and felt comfortable with pitching it to anyone.

EFF: What did you wanna to express with "NEEDLESTICK" apart of the literary plot, what did you wanna to show to audience?

SK: I wanted to show audiences a horror-thriller film without a lot of standard horror elements, to produce horror and shock from a realistic viewpoint from real characters. I also wanted to illustrate just how much trust we put into modern medicine to help us, and how easily one can betray that trust.

EFF: How long it took you shoot this film and what were those problems you faced in and overcomes?

SK: 17 day shooting schedule. Our biggest problem is that our lead actor didn’t get his visa to come over from Canada and work. We didn’t discover this until 3 days before the shoot began! Luckily for us, my producer, Dwjuan Fox, knew Michael Traynor, and he was willing to come to Detroit in a cold December winter and shoot for 3 weeks with us. In the end, he altered the character in so many positive ways that he made Everett much more complex and interesting.

EFF: You had a great cast crew on your film, Michael traynor, lance herniksen. how was the casting process, how was the selection ?

SK: Michael, I just told you that story. Lance Henriksen was chosen from the beginning to be the villain. He has a mystique that we just wanted in the film so badly, so we pursued him and thankfully, he loved the script. I met Harry Lennix at the Action on Film Festival in Monrovia, CA. We won awards in back-to-back presentations, so we met and I asked him about playing our dastardly CEO. He was wonderful about coming out for a weekend and shooting with us. Jordan Trovillion and Alara Ceri, I’ve known for many years and did short films with them, so I wanted them in as well. Same with George Pogacich who played the mute James Ross. The rest of the cast came from casting director Patrick Baca, who made some excellent choices for us.
Scenes from Needlestick

EFF: This was your directorial debut, right? Now that you have seen it finished. What do you think you could have make better, any shot, any scene, something?

SK: This was my first feature film. Yes, there are dozens of things that I wish I could make better, especially with a little more money and time. But there is a famous saying about directors in film, “A film is never completed. It is abandoned.” On the whole, I am very pleased with how the film turned out.

EFF:  How was the performance of the movie, audience response, festivals?

SK: The audience responses were terrific. That was gratifying, hearing the laughs and the gasps where I hoped to hear them (and the moments we didn’t expect). We did very well in the few festivals we entered. I didn’t want to do a huge festival tour because the cost of going eventually eats into the money the film makes in distribution. We did about 3 festivals, were lucky to win a few awards, and decided to go ahead with distribution after that. 

EFF: I was glancing on your filmography, and i saw that your older works you did them on different genres, why did you decide to make your first feature film in horror genre?

SK: I always liked horror, and I hadn’t done that yet. I thought that with the type of idea I wanted to write about—a doctor discovering a cure for aging from accidentally freezing a patient’s heart—I thought that horror-thriller was the best way to express these concepts, especially because medicine can be horrifying to someone. However, the biggest factor was probably that I have so many patients that say they are afraid of needles, deathly afraid. That was the hook I hung onto.
Steven Karageanes

EFF: Describe me your film in five adjectives.

SK: Medical, tense, dark, real, indie (in the truest sense of the term)

EFF:  What cameras, equipments did you use in "NEEDLESTICK" and why?

SK: We used the upgraded Red One camera with the Canon 5D for additional shots. It gave us the best quality for our low budget.

EFF:  What advice would you give to newbies filmmakers who are undecided about how to do a film?

SK: Get out and shoot something. There is no better way to learn filmmaking than to just go out and shoot. That’s how I started, by plunging in.

EFF: What is your directional style in the moment to shoot? I mean maybe you take some methods as references at the moment to do certain things.

SK: My directorial style is prepared, loose, and collaborative with the actors. I want to set up a sandbox each scene for the actors to play in. I keep them to the script for the most part so that we can have the spine of the film to follow and edit, but I welcome input from the actors at all times. Our cast enjoyed this and continually gave input on their characters. I spent over 3 years studying at Second City Improv Theater in Detroit, where I learned an immense amount about developing characters and finding the truth in the scene. I encouraged that with my actors.

EFF: Are you a horror fan? What horror movies you like the most?

SK: I love horror. I was so thrilled to have Harry Manfredini (Friday the 13th movies) do the music for us. My type of horror films have been the ones like Alien, which terrified me growing up, Silence of the Lambs, and The Fly. Science in the horror always gets me excited.

EFF: What directors has inspired you on your directing style?

SK: David Fincher, for sure. I hope to have a film budget one day where I can embrace the perfectionist in me. Old John Carpenter, like in The Thing (1981), Escape from New York, and Halloween, deeply impacted me, being able to build the tension so masterfully and sparingly. Michael Mann, his eye is one of the best out there today.

EFF: If somebody gives you the chance to makes a horror remake, what would you choose and why?

SK: A horror remake….man, what a tough question. I’m actually becoming sick of remakes, because they usually let me down (Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Fog). 

EFF: What is new in your career now any new film?

SK: I have several feature projects and one TV show concept I am developing.

EFF: As an indie filmmaker, if a newcomer filmmaker comes to you to ask you about what camera should buy or accessories for make an indie film with low money, what would you recommend to him?

SK: For very low budget, get the cheapest camera you can get while still taking a good picture. A newer iPhone (with 4K) along with the Filmic Pro app would work great. Get a selfie stick or a mini holder where you can move the phone around smoothly. If you have a little money, rent a little better camera. Audiences will forgive less than perfect video quality. Get a good mic, like a lavaliere or boom mic, so you can capture dialogue. Audiences won’t forgive bad audio quality. Then take any money you have and use it to get the movie made. Also, buying a camera as an indie filmmaker is difficult because the cameras are changing so fast. So save money, plan out your shoot, and rent the best camera you can afford for your film. But don’t get swept up in the hype of needing the hottest camera. In a pinch, get good audio.
Steven Karageanes

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