DREAMER’S JOURNEY was the winner of BEST HORROR Film at the August 2021 Thriller/Horror Film Festival.
1. What motivated you to make this film?
Originally the film went into production as part of the final Senior Project production class I was in while finishing my undergrad. I really wanted to make a “calling card” film to showcase my style as a horror writer and director. I pitched the film to my classmates and was lucky enough to have my film be voted as 1 of 2 films to be made for class. The concept of lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis has been a concept I’ve wanted to explore in film for the last few years, so this was my chance to bring the story to life.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
Pre-production was about the first three weeks of the semester, then because of equipment rental bookings at the University, we only had about six days for production. We spread out those six days over two weekends. Post-production was about five months of different phases of work. I had to assemble a rough cut to be graded by the end of the semester, but the film by no means had to be a locked and finished film. Doing all the VFX was a team of three, including myself, my co-assembly editor, and my good friend/VFX artist Jendo Shabo. Creating the score and sound design was about eight days of work, where I essentially lived in the studio with my composers and good friends Avius(Stefano Lacivita) & Sikandar Seleem. Once the tracks were done I spent another two weeks making the final adjustments to the 5.1 and Stereo mixes.
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Time and Money. Being a student project we were on a race against time as our film had to go into production with only about three weeks before the end of the semester. Luckily my crew was an absolute A-Team, being made up of fellow film students and my alumni friends who had started their film production careers in Toronto. With the little money left over from my student loans, I was able to give the film enough of a budget to pull off everything we wanted. It was a blurry and emotional race against time but we did it, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
The Covid Pandemic made it impossible to attend many of the genre festivals we have been featured at. This was a great opportunity to see genuine reactions. It offers a sense of validation and almost creates the sense of a dialogue being made with other film lovers. I loved the unique voices and opinions of everyone on the feedback panel, everyone was fantastic.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I always knew I was going to make films. It was the only thing I’d ever wanted to do when I “grew up”. Watching the classic universal Frankenstein and Wolfman films as a very young child I knew the only thing I wanted to do in life was make monsters.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Frankenstein, Jaws, Friday The 13th.
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
It is a great platform for filmmakers across the world to find genre festivals. The issue is finding the right ones, there are many festival out there wanting to take filmmakers money and offer them nothing. So all filmmakers must look into the festivals they submit to, doing your homework on the right festivals is important.
9. What is your favorite meal?
Medium steak or Fettucinni Alfredo with shrimp/crab
10. What is next for you? A new film?
I have been working on a feature film debut script that is in the works, the film will be an absolute rollercoaster for horror lovers. The script is getting finished and early financing steps are underway. It’s a project all those currently involved are VERY excited about. In the meantime, I do have two smaller creature feature short-films in the works that will be made while the debut feature is getting the final details worked out.