Interview with Filmmakers Oliver Zel & Hunter D’Ancona (BLISTER)

BLISTER was the winner of BEST FILM at the April 2022 LGBTQ+ Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Comparing our own experiences, one queer and one straight, we saw a painful throughline highlighting the reality that gay men far from escape toxic masculinity and are wrought with warped standards of intimacy. We were really itching to uncover how behavior amongst queer men reaps troubling consequences on man’s ability to express himself freely.

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

The process in its entirety spanned approximately 10 months. We reunited with one another for the first time since before the pandemic in the first week of March, 2021 where we were writing everyday; practically eating, sleeping, and breathing by each other’s side.

By April, we launched into production with a modest crew of 5 and parted ways in early May to return home, where editing proceeded for the following 7 months. Frequently passing scenes back and forth between each other and many late-night Zooms later, it was in the edit where we really discovered the tonal intricacies of the film’s verbal brevity and thus its entrancing and ethereal atmosphere.

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

Brutal and Entrancing

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

Having set out to make Blister with a meager budget, we struggled mostly with having many overlapping key production roles.

Roughly 72 hours before shooting our second lead dropped out which left no option other than one of us stepping in to act which cost an essential crew member, hampering Hunter’s availability to direct. It was incredibly difficult to balance the weight of production amidst the volatility of the dunes; we couldn’t both be behind the camera 100% of the time.

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

It was a really touching experience. This was the first personal exposure the film has received and it was a real privilege to hear how our film resonated with people.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

Oliver: I realized it likely at around 15. I had just watched Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl and realized that still photography was not immersive enough.

Hunter: I had always messed around with cameras so I could have stuff to edit with in iMovie, but my parents showed me The Godfather when I was about 10 and that was a slap in the face.

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

Oliver: I’ve probably seen Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs the most. It’s my comfort movie.

Hunter: Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz. Always brings me joy.

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


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

Submitting to LBGTQ+ Los Angeles was incredibly simple and concise. We have nothing but gratitude to express towards the administration, programming team, and attendees of the festival for the support Blister has received. It is an honor for Blister to have been awarded the ‘Best Short Film’ of the 2022 festival.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Peach-Nectarine Red Bull

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

Oliver: I’m currently in the throes of pre-production for my next project and beginning to collaborate with some fantastic musicians to solidify its identity while it’s being adapted. I’m hungry to explore psychological horror/thriller.

Hunter: As of late, I’ve been completely focussed on my writing––mainly in the feature realm. I’ve begun to wrestle with the inklings of the next short I’d like to produce; a concise familial drama against the backdrop of a bleak winter in a modest New York suburb.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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