Friday, December 21, 2018


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Coming from Brazil but molded in Portugal is the new interviewed. In 2019 we will watch INNER GHOST, the directorial debut of Paulo Leite a native  brazilian filmmaker but filmmaking shaped in Portugal, Paulo comes with a freshy terrorific story about "a woman who receives a gift from ghosts: a device that can communicate with the other side." That's the INNER GHOST premise, i can't tell many but I can assure you it will be a refreshing story that you can't lose. Now, I had the chance to chat and have a talk with this promising filmmaker. I Hope you can fully read it and would enjoy it too.

EFF: Hello Paulo, I really hope you be well today and thank you for this moment and you could answer my questions. I always start asking, where were you born, and what was that exact moment you realized in you wanted to live doing this: filmmaking.

PL: I was born in Recife, a city in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. There wasn't a moment where I realized I wanted to work in films. I always loved films and they were always an integral part of my life. I think I have always wanted to work with films. I always read about films and wrote about films. Everything drove me here, I guess.

EFF: What role did you commence in this industry in and what work was it?

PL: I was 17 (seventeen), just finished school. I did a short course on filmmaking and found a job at a TV studio that was producing Portuguese soap operas. I was an assistant director. A few months later, I was transferred to another studio to work of different shows. Although the shows were not particularly good, they taught me a lot about working in the audiovisual business.

EFF: What people should know about INNER GHOST, what is it about? When is gonna be out to the audience?

PLINNER GHOST should be released in 2019 in different countries. The film is a very small production about a woman who receives a gift from ghosts: a device that can communicate with the other side. From then on, many things will go wrong. The film was shot in Lisbon (Portugal) with a British cast.
Inner Ghosts (2018) Imdb | Facebook Twitter Webpage 

EFF: INNER GHOSTS is gonna be your debut as a director at all and also you wrote the story. How the film idea came up on your mind, is it based on true events or something personal? Tell us about it.

PL: The story is fictional, but I read a lot about ghosts and came up with some personal theories on my own about how the ghost world works and how they interact with us. Then I spent some time trying to write a story it would reflect those ideas.

EFF: I know this movie had a crowdfunding campaign in KICKSTARTER to get money for sound, right?  So, How it was the pitching process? How it was the road to pop out the film from the paper to get it off the ground? How did you make that part?

PL: The financing of the project was relatively easy because I already knew the financers and they liked me and the story I was trying to make. They understood my film and stood 110% behind me. The pitching was important, but I was well-prepared. After they agreed to finance the film, I went home for some 5 months and wrote the script. Very soon into the production, I realized that sound was a big part of the film. In fact, I decided to shoot the film entirely at night in order to record the best sound. Lisbon is a noisy city during the day because of lots of construction that's going on. So, I had to go against my crew's wish for a "normal" day shoot. Working at night, however, we could guarantee absolute silence and that made a big difference later during post. We could use all the sound recorded because it was practically noise-free. That made our sound post a lot cheaper. However, I wanted the best sound post and even with great recordings that is still quite expensive. Plus, we had some unexpected expenses with special effects that we could not avoid. This meant that a Kickstarter campaign was our last hope of being able to pay for the sound I wanted. Link 

EFF: I can imagine how hard could be assemble a good story and try that every aspect of the characters support the story. What things you found truly hard in the moment to creating the story, I mean on paper, any specific character or any specific situation. In addition, how many drafts did you write out?

PL: The script went through several drafts. In every small independent film, money is always scarce. I had to do several rewrites because some ideas I had were too costly and impractical at our budget level. When that happens, you have to make decisions and be very careful where you'll put the money - preferably on the best scenes. Fortunately, I was working with a great team. I had Portugal's best director of photography and some of the most dedicated crew I've ever seen. The hardest part to write was the film's last 20 minutes. I wanted to try some ideas I've never seen before. I did not know if they were going to work out, but in the end I was very pleased.

EFF: How did you do the location scouting, was it hard to get the locations? Tell us if you had any related problem with finding locations?

PL: Because I had very little money to make the film, I had to write a script that was possible under that budget. That meant limiting the number of locations. You waste a lot of time moving a crew from location A to location B. That's bad when you only have two or three weeks to shoot. So I tried to keep the different locations to a minimum and concentrate on places we could control best. We had the support of some great friends at the Lisbon Film Commission who let us have some locations and permits for free. That was a great help.

EFF: Now, you had all those stages done, you got the money and the idea of the film. When did you start to shoot the film? How long it took you shoot the entire movie? What were those setbacks you had to overcome in order to go on with the story? And by setbacks I mean on scenes, locations, actors or other issues there.

PL: We started shooting in April. We only had three weeks to shoot the entire film. A film is such a complex mix of events and tasks (especially on a micro budget) that all kinds of setbacks and obstacles will always happen. You can foresee, minimize and control some, but there will always be a few that will take you by surprise. This means we had all the problems one could imagine: having to replace an actor who had a family tragedy days before shooting began, having to deal with special effects that did not work as expected, having our trucks vandalized... everything happens in a film shoot!
Inner Ghosts pics

EFF: As says on your Kickstarter campaign: "Sound it matters on horror movies" I wanna ask you how hard it was the Post production? What did you find out there off the plan? Sometimes, in that stage director notice that maybe some shoots were needed or something like that.

PL: Post was extremely lengthy because of the last 20 minutes of the film. One key scene had very complex special effects we had no idea how to do (laughs). We ended up finding a great VFX studio in India. They are called Anibrain and they work with Hollywood studios. We were thrilled when they agreed to do that scene for us and we worked with them for quite a long time making sure it looked perfect. It looks perfect and I am very proud of it. The last six minutes of the film were also very difficult to edit in terms of both image and sound because I hadn't seen anything like it. I was experimenting. When you experiment, you need time to find your own way. Editing the sound of those last six minutes took over a year. The scene is entirely lit with strobe lights and the sound tells a lot of what's happening. I am happy with it, although it's not for everybody's taste. It's very extreme.

EFF:  This is a Portuguese movie in the entire word, the cast is mixed up but still, what can you tell about the casting process, What were you looking for on actors and if you have any anecdote about it.

PL: I met Celia Williams early in the process. I loved her so much I chose her on the spot. I had such a joy working with her. She is one of those actresses that you just trust blindly and everything she does will sound and look great. Most other parts were a similar process. I did not feel the need to do a long casting process. A funny thing was that Celia Williams is Elizabeth Bochmann's mother. I was talking to Elizabeth completely unaware they were mother and daughter. In fact, they only told me the truth after they were both confirmed. Iris Cayatte was also a joy to work with and a great Actress.
Paulo Leite

 EFF: What sort of atmosphere you wanted to pervade in the film? Cinematically speaking. I mean did you take any references from other movies or conception it by your own?

PL: I am a fan of British films. One critic in London noticed that the film reminded him of the works of Nigel Kneale, of whom I am a huge fan (laughs). He was a big influence on me because I used to watch his films on Brazilian TV when I was a kid. I tend to like films that burn slowly, but surely, to an unpredictable ending. I believe the audience will not be able to predict the turns INNER GHOSTS will take from a certain point on.

EFF: How the movie has been up to at festivals and with the audiences? Have people received the message you wanted to express? When it was released on and where it was premiered on?

PL: We have been selected to several festivals already. Our next stops are Blood Window at Ventana Sur in Argentina and Montevideo Fantastic Film Festival in Uruguay. It will be fun. I am happy with the results so far. The film leaves no one indifferent and that is what I want. Some people love it, some hate it and that's ok. I do NOT make films to please. I make films to affect people.

EFF:  How did you set up your day to day of filming? I mean how your working organization is. Do you make storyboards, rehearse with actors before every shot, things like that, tell us for example, for one shoot what did you do?

PL: The more you try to plan things, the more God will laugh at you. This is the truth. However, you will always, always try to plan it anyway: read the script with the actors, rehearse, plan your schedule... but in the end, the universe will fuck it all up; or you will have better ideas and do the fucking by yourself. How fast you adapt to changes is key.

It is important to always rehearse the full scene before you start shooting. The director, the director of photography and the 1st assistant director are key here. They must work closely together or it won't work. No matter what you have planned, the rehearse will tell you what you'll do. The acting on the set has such a gravitational pull that you will want/need to change things. That's why you'll always need a great director of photography and a great 1st assistant director to make it all happen.

EFF: From what you had in mind, what did change out from the first script draft or your first idea in how to shoot the film to what we can watch now in the film and why?

PL: I could sell the first draft of the script as a totally different film. The ideas were evolving along different drafts. Lots of things were left out because we could not afford them, or because I replaced with a different idea. The writing process is very fertile.

EFF: Why do you think that nowadays, supernatural horror is the hit thing on horror genre?
PL: The genre works in waves. Every ten years someone comes with a brilliant film that makes a lot of money. Then, suddenly everybody is trying to finance more of that. So, lots of people try to imitate that and go with the flow. Then someone else comes with a totally brilliant film that that makes a lot of money. Then it all shifts in that direction. It goes like waves. This happens in every genre. In horror, there may be four or five different waves going on at any particular time. The audience's taste also keeps evolving and every wave seems to bring something that feels fresher. Many times one current wave is the same wave that came 15 or 20 years ago. But because there are brilliant directors, it always seems fresh. The Supernatural sub-genre is one of those waves. I happen to like it.
EFF: Are you a horror fan? What horror films and directors you like most and why? 

PL: Asking a horror fan what are his favorite horror films is like asking a Catholic what are his favorite sins. There are so many! I already said I love Nigel Kneale. However, I also love Dan O'Bannon (Alien, The Return of the Living Dead) who, I believe, was one of the best screenwriters ever. Then of course I love the Masters we all know. However, I also love many European smaller films that speak to me personally, like Angst, Les Yeux sans Visage, Martyrs and so many others. When you truly love a genre, you tend to watch so many different things. It becomes impossible to select films and names. The list will always be incomplete.
Paulo Leite 

EFF: What equipments, cameras, shots did you use for the film? Do you have a predilect angle or frame or technique, tell us why?  Do you have a favorite scene in the film?

PL: We used a RED Dragon camera. The film was entirely shot in 5K Raw. It was my director of photography's choice and I agreed. We used ARRI ultra-prime lenses that worked beautifully with the candle light on many scenes. I was stunned with the film's final look. We used a vast array of different microphones. My sound recordist had carte blanche to select the equipment he wanted. I want my crew to have the best equipment I can afford. I do not have a technique I like best, since this is my first film and I'm trying things. However, by making this film, I learned hundreds of precious lessons that, hopefully, I will apply on my next film.

EFF: What advice would you give for those want-to-be filmmaker who are undecided in how to make their first film?

PL: One: Always trust your guts. If you think something is not quite right, stop! Go back, change whatever you need until it is right.

Two: The person who has the vision should be making the key decisions. Never compromise on your vision. Never stop until you get it.

Three: Always try to get the best people on your side. One rotten apple can ruin an entire film.

Four: Make your film! Do not wait until you have everything you need. It is always more important to make a film then not make it. You'll never have all that you need in order to start. Know when you have the minimum needed and advance like an avalanche. Don't stop. Never stop!

Five: Always get the shot you need. It may be imperfect, but you have it. Having it is always better than not having it.

Six: Do the best you can with little you have.

Seven: Always try to learn. You'll never know everything. Do the best you can with the little you know.

Eight: Be persistent. You are an avalanche.

Nine: You need to grow crocodile skin. The moment you decide to make a film (with little money), the universe will be against you. Don't pay attention. The universe does that to everybody. It's not personal.

Ten: Don't pay attention to critics. Most critics are frustrated because they never had the privilege of making a film. Talking about films is easy. Making films... that's  a whole different thing. By making a film, you are already 100Km above them.

EFF: What is new in your career, what people can expect from you forwards? 

PL:  I have two films under development. I'm trying to finance them. Soon, I'll be able to talk more about them.

EFF: Do you see yourself making horror films always? Or you see shooting another genres?

PL: Yes, I love the genre. I want to stick with it. We'll see what happens.

EFF:  If a rookie filmmaker with no experience at all, goes to you and asks you for an advice about a cheap camera or equipments that he or she can uses to make his low budget film, what would you recommend him or her?

PL: Use anything you have. No film was ever sold because it was shot with camera X or Z. It's people who make the equipment shine. Have the best people (best people = those who support you, stand by you, understand your vision AND have the best training) and go! In the 21st century, there is no bad equipment! There's only people who cannot get the best out of them.

EFF: If a producer gives you the chance to direct a horror film remake. What would it be and why?

PL: Politely, I'd tell him to fuck off. I don't want to do remakes! I've got my own stories.

EFF: Anything else you want to say?

PL: Horror films say about us and about life the things other genres cannot say. Horror films matter! Thank you very much.

 **Paulo Leite's | Imdb | Twitter | Facebook Webpage  **

**INNER GHOSTS' | Imdb | Facebook Twitter Webpage  **

****INNER GHOSTS will be available in 2019. (confirming month)****


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