MIFS: Where did the idea for the film come from?
I had been thinking about how so many people are overcoming the issues of their childhood. I wanted to present it in manner which depicts ultimately overcoming the past and moving forward. I also have long been intrigued with dolls, puppets, automatons, & objectification. How we are used or exploited by others, or allow ourselves to be part of that exploitation. In this film it is unclear whether the puppets are really people or the people are puppets. Maybe this is a film about puppets that are played by people. It really doesn't matter, maybe we are both. I have always enjoyed the silent era of film and knew that I would do this film with that aesthetic. I am not really trying to copy a silent film, as this has other elements, but I do like that it has a hand made, imperfect quality.
MIFS: How much did the project change from concept to final edit?
After I had developed the original concept, I became friends with J. Karl Bogartte, a local surrealist artist. MAM owns a few of his pieces. We wanted to collaborate and this project seemed like the perfect opportunity to incorporate his art into the projected background sets. Bogartte created most of the 'sets.' They are all projections that the actors are standing in front of. Bogartte and I co-wrote the script. I then met Tine Kindermann through John Kruth; she plays the musical saw and makes interesting puppets, as well as incredible dioramas. John invited me out to New York to watch his band play a live soundtrack that he had written to my film The Unfortunate Gift. It was a perfect opportunity for Tine and I to work on the puppet portion of the film. We shot the scenes in her studio which is in a building Edward G. Robinson went to school in. As with most film projects, it is a matter of balancing the vision in our heads with what is actually possible to do. Nick Waraksa did the post production and helped me obtain some of the special effects I was hoping for. This is the closest I have gotten to what I originally imagined and was only possible because of the generosity of the collaborators I met while developing this film.
MIFS:Where there any challenges during production?
Time is always the biggest challenge. People are on limited schedules, We are working as fast as possible, trying to make sure we get every shot, do it in peoples time schedule and still try to do this while being creative.
I keep promising myself that I will take more time to shoot a film, but inevitably I shot all the actors scenes in one day. It would not have been possible without a cast and crew that deeply cared to get it done.
MIFS: With the film completed, what has been the most rewarding thing about the whole experience?
The talent in this film was incredible to work with. I like to get good people and give them a lot of room to create. Everyone brought more to the table than I expected. My crew was Shannon, Carrie Anne and my wfie, Theresa. We had all worked together for years on our TV show Joy Farm. This was a great chance for us all to work together again. They know what I am looking for and are incredible at being in tune with where I am at and what I need when shooting. The film was a chance to re-connect with talented old friends and make new friendships with very passionate and creative people.
Soul Chamber screens Nov 9th in the Lubar Auditorium, MAM at 7pm.