Tuesday, April 27, 2021


Hi Folks! Every interview is sacred to me because through that way I and many filmmakers out there  can learned from every filmmaker interviewed. That said, I must to say there filmmakers who only says the necessary or only played in the right amount of information we are requesting for and that's perfect,I mean they give us a piece of their free time to share their insights and experiences, But there are others than land you with a bunch of worthy information and one of them is KERRY HARRIS. He and I talked about his directorial debut film, DREAMKATCHER, how it was developed in, the setbacks he found off on its path creation. KERRY giave us plenty of advices in regard the filmmaking experience gained with the creation of DREAMKATCHER.

DREAMKATCHER was relesaed last year (2020) by Lionsgate and Grindstone among others and had a superstar cast such as Radha Mitchell (Silent Hill), Lin Shaye (Insidious) and Henry Thomas (The Haunting of Hill House - Tv Serie). 

Please , Join us and read this great interview, I know you will like it and you will learned a bunch of valuable information.

EFF: Thanks to let me interview you. Where are you from and how did start the interest in filmmaking?

KH: I'm from New York City originally but went to school in Canada. I attended McGill University where I majored in Film and Communications. As a child I was an actor in a lot of theatre and then ended up acting a few movies in my late teens early twenties. In New York as a child, you see so many film trucks on the street and every time you turn on the TV or go into a theatre you see your city up on the big screen, so, film is kind of in the back of everyone's mind in the city.  I didn't like the idea of having to audition all the time and having other people in control so it seemed like directing was a way of seizing that control.

EFF: The film was written by Dan V Shea but the story was laiyout by you, am I right? Could you tell us when and how you commenced the crafting of the story?

KH: The story idea came to me a few years ago. I was at a friend’s house in Toronto and I saw they had a guest bedroom with a dreamcatcher on the wall. I thought about the idea of sleeping underneath someone else's dreams and what a scary concept that was, going to sleep with someone else's dreams, both good and bad, in such close proximity seemed like a good jumping off point for a horror film.
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EFF: How was the project born out? After you had the story in your mind. When and how were getting involved the rest of the people?
KH: I was introduced to Dan Shea, the screenwriter by a mutual friend. Originally, the script was with a different producer. We worked together for a few months developing it and then Orian Williams and Christian Taylor came aboard with Annie Stewart and they got the movie cast and made. Christian, Orian, Annie and I were all personal friends so it was easy to approach them. We all basically just wanted to work together on something and this seemed like something that would be fun and might have an audience.
EFF: The cast was composed by superstars, I mean, Radha Mitchell, Lin Shaye and Henry Thomas. First off, how was working on with this tremendous group of actors and secondly, how did they get interested in the film? Radha and Lin were co-producers, too, right?
KH: I was really lucky to get such a good cast. They're all wonderful actors and with people of that cailbre you don't really have to give them too much actual direction. It's more like being a line judge at a tennis match. You might say "you're just outside the line" with a particular take... "Maybe just a little more gentle".  But, the intention is always correct it's just really minor adjustments that need to be made. As well, I feel like on independent films that it's important to let them take chances that maybe they wouldn't ordinarily be able to do when you're dealing with a larger budget. If people are showing up for you and willing to work for an indie film rate they should at least get to have fun and follow their own instincts in a way that they couldn't on a studio picture. You can't ask people to show up and not have fun, or I suppose you can but they'd probably stop showing up.
EFF: OK, after all was checked, story, producers, then, how was the pre production process, getting the perfect location for instance?
KH: I was very familiar with Upstate New York. I had a large group of friends with houses up there that I'd spend time at. It always seemed like the perfect spot to shoot a film.  No matter what direction you point a camera in, it's always spectacular. As well, there are a lot of film technicians that have second homes up there. They have apartments in New York City but second houses up there so that they can get away from the madness of Manhattan.  My idea was that it would be quite appealing for people to just stay up at their country houses and work from there. That said, while it's beautiful in terms of landscape, we still had to find the right house. Because most of the movie is set in one location we had to make sure that it both looked beautiful and was practical for the production. There was one house that was fantastic but the rooms were quite small so there'd be no way to move a camera around properly. I happened upon the house we used just by looking at Air B and B's and found our "hero house".  It turned out the owners and I had a friend in common so it made it very easy to convince them that we weren't going to destroy their house in the process of shooting the film. That said I think there is in fact a rather large axe dent in their kitchen table. Sorry about that guys!
EFF: Did you have any setbacks shooting the film? How did you solve them?
A great director once said that you need three things to make a good film. A good script, great actors and luck. If you're missing one of those elements you're in trouble. I view the "luck" part of things as the crew. We were extremely lucky that we found people who were willing to come out, work incredibly hard for very little money, be extremely professional and make the film happen. Without them the film wouldn't have happened or it would have but it would have simply been me on an iPhone with incredibly bad sound. The other element of "luck" is of course the weather and mechanical issues... We were fortunate that we didn't get rained out and that we only had one camera break. The breakdown did only let us shoot one take of a particular scene but it could have been so much worse.

EFF: How did you set up the preproduction stage? I mean, did you storyboard the film, or were you finding out the right shot and frame during the shooting?
KH: This production was a bit of a mad rush and I certainly wouldn't shoot the same way again. We actually didn't know until the morning of the first day if we were in fact shooting.  We were waiting for a bank transfer to finance the film and it had been flagged as "suspicious activity" which in bank parlance means that they thought we were either dealing drugs or weapons. We had people working for a month without pay and the night before the first day of principal photography the other producers and I had a very frank discussion about if we should ask actors to come to set the next day. We really didn't know if the money was going to arrive and then magically in the middle of the night the wire came through. Because of the rush there really wasn't a proper prep for the film. I met with the production designer (who did a brilliant job by the way) in a cafe in Brookly for thirty minutes to discuss the film and that was the last time we saw each other in person until everyone went upstate. Same for the first AD.  So, because of the mad scramble it really was sort of shooting on the fly which I wouldn't recommend to anyone and I certainly wouldn't do that again. It works for a certain kind of movie and can give you a certain fun Robert Altman shambolic film but it's not great for this genre. So, learn from my mistake. Storyboard every second. There's no time off when you're shooting and on your actual days off you're exhausted and also dealing with problems that have come up for the next week. So there is no time to get away and sequence things out. Before you start, is really the best time to do your storyboards. Maybe someone with better time management skills or stamina could do it while they were having lunch on set or something but on the next film I'm doing I've boarded out every single shot like a giant comic book.
EFF: How long it took you shoot the film? And when it was shot?
KH: The film was essentially an 18 day shoot.  It was shot in May of 2019 I believe.
EFF: What camera did you use and why?
KH:  We used ARRI Alexa's and then had a 5D for some distorted flashback moments. The ARRI's are great. I've shot on RED's which have looked equally great. I think the most important element is your lens package. The cameras in my mind essentially all do the same thing.  I've matched 5D to RED on commercials where I've done multi camera setups so the image quality is excellent on all of these things. I'm sure there are people way more technical than I am who will explain why the ARRI sensor is superior to the RED or vice versa but with all of these cameras you're going to get a great image from a practical point of view.  I think the character comes from the lens more than the chip / sensor.
BTS "Dreamkatcher"

EFF: How has been the audience reaction?
KH: It's been really mixed. I think some people have really liked it and other people really haven't, I think Lionsgate did a great job of selling the film but unfortunately with that comes an expectation that this was a big budget studio film. It really was an ultra low budget production where some days we couldn't even afford blood. So I think that a lot of people came in with an expectation of one type of film and were a little surprised that it seemed as "small" as it did.
EFF: A headache for filmmakers is being able to transmit the story you wanted to tell, sometimes people get something different, obviously that is ambiguous, but do you think the final work is the film you wanted from the very beginning?
KH: The film is different than what I had in my mind from the beginning. Some things about it are better than what I had envisioned and some things aren't. Really, to me film is experiential. You should go out, have fun, learn from your mistakes and bring that knowledge to the next one and try and have a good time while you're doing it. I got a really nice text from a cinematographer that I work with on the first day of shooting which was "You're making a movie. Enjoy it." 
EFF: What have you learned from this experience, as a director and producer?
KH: What I have learned is really the most important thing is preparation. People bemoan all the sitting around before a movie finally gets to happen.  It's actually a great gift in a way because that's time that you'll never have during a production to work on the film in your head and on paper. Also, nothing usually magically fixes itself once you've started shooting.  If there are problems in the script address them before you start shooting. Give it to a bunch of friends. Have them punch holes in the story and only be concerned if you start hearing the issue from multiple people. Also, this might seem obvious, or perhaps it isn't, but directing is incredibly phyisical. Look at it like running a marathon. You get in shape for months ahead of time unless you're Eddie Izzard who just dove in and ran a marathon right away. But, treat it like a marathon. Go jog, take yoga classes, go to the gym and give yourself about three months out from the movie to start. You'll be running circles around everyone else on set with your energy. Otherwise you'll just be reaching for Diet Cokes, M&Ms and coffee which is a brutal trick. You'll get energy for a bit and then crash... Go the natural route.  Also, make sure you have a great place to sleep and privacy. It's super fun to hang out actors and the crew and drink and have a good time but really the most important thing is to be well rested and have a clear focused head so you can deal with problems coming your way. So, be a bit of a monk. and also don't be a jerk but also don't worry if you're not liked. Ultimately, you are the person who is going to get your next job from the final product.  Don't feel bad about saying "Sorry guys we need to do that one more time". The crew might grumble but it's your name on the line. Friendly but firm, I think is the best approach and ultimately, just do want you'd want to see on screen.  At least then, you know the movie will have one happy audience member.
EFF: What is the hardest thing about being a horror director?
KH: The hardest thing which is oddly the easiest thing is that there's a bit of math involved.  Timing scares, the angles to maximize those scares, the overall pacing. They're all crucial.  The easy part is there is such an archive of great filmmaking at our fingertips with the internet that we can simply see how other people have done it and use that as our jumping off point.  Go shot by shot and second by second. If someone is going to appear behind another character and scare them look at a few classic movies. Where did that director put that camera... how many seconds before he cuts to another angle... It's a great way to learn the rules and then go on and make them your own, with your own twist on things.
Dreamkatcher set

EFF: How have you lived this pandemic? Personally, Professionally...
KH: My father passed away last January right before Covid started and I was very lucky to be able to stay in what was his house in Vermont to avoid the main crush of the pandemic.  The numbers were very low in Vermont so it was a very safe, relaxing place to be and it was also nice to just be able to process the loss of my father and not really have to interact with the world.
EFF: Oh, sorry to hear that, Kerry. What new projects are you working on now, anything you can anticipate us now?
KH: I'm working on a new feature called GOLDIE that is being cast right now. It's more of a psychological thriller between an older and a younger woman. It takes place out in the woods again but there's nothing supernatural about it.  It's more a battle of wits. I'm also working on a few television pilots right now. One drama and two comedies. Comedy is in fact my first love.
EFF: If a producer gives you a chance to direct a horror film remake, what would it be and why?
KH: It's hard to say. If it's a movie that I like, it's probably pretty good as it is so I wouldn't want to remake it. I love John Carpenter's THE THING. It's a fantastic movie but I don't think it can be improved upon. That's the real problem... if it's good we should just watch the original.
EFF: Something you would like to say?
KH: Enjoy the time you have making your film.  It doesn't happen that often so when it does make not to forget to have a bit of a good time.
**Kerrys Harris' | Imdb |**

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