Interview with Filmmaker Patrick Coleman Duncan (COMPEL)

COMPEL was the winner of BEST FILM at the January 2022 WILDsound Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

For me, all stories begin with character. The character of Dan has been with me a long time and knew he would eventually have his own story. I thought about who he could interact with and what unexpected surprises could occur for all concerned. It became a story of people fighting to control each other and finding out their impulses were really in control of them.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

The idea and first draft of the script came immediately as early as 2014. I workshopped the script through my film collective in Hollywood, We Make Movies ( I knew I needed to do it correctly and give it time. While I was pulling together resources and personnel for this film I wrote and directed two other shorts, a drama “Jes and Lora” and a comedy, “Life’s a Pitch.” I used what I learned on these films to help make “Compel” the best I could make it be.

Finally towards then end of 2019 everyone was available, all resources acquired and we shot in one 12 hour day. Picture edit was done early in 2020 and then came the pandemic. The rest of post was finished in lockdown remotely and test screenings done over the internet. Finally, we had a live premiere in Los Angeles in July 2021. Worth the wait.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Psycho Thriller.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Scheduling to shoot when all the right personnel were available. Personal responsibilities took a key person out of the picture for two years, but I didn’t want to replace them. I was determined to wait until they were available.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

So pleased that the audience was with the film the whole way. Glad to hear the suspense left some wanting more and some puzzling over what they saw. My goal was to raise questions and make a film that stayed with people after it was over.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I was one of those kids who grabbed his father’s super 8 camera and made films with buddies in his backyard. Always knew I would do this.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably “Wizard of Oz.”

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Would love to do live Q and A with audience who just saw the film. Hard to do with online but I like answering questions from audience while the film is fresh.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Excellent. Very thorough and efficient site.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Anything when I’m hungry … but I’ve been watching “Yellowjackets” so I may have to qualify that …

11. What is next for you? A new film?

In 2022 I want return to concentrating on acting. Although I want a break from doing my own films I just produced a short for another director and we’ll be readying that for festivals this year. In addition, I’ve been actively making films for festivals for nearly 25 years now. “Compel” is the 7th narrative short I’ve written and directed and I want to go back and curate some older works for posterity and internet streaming. Finally, “Compel” has only begun its festival journey and I have it submitted to festivals through mid 2023. I hope to be able to travel for the film, especially to the U.K and Europe.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: