Interview with Filmmaker Joshua Conkel (HE WATCHES)

HE WATCHES, 14min., USA, Drama/Horror
Directed by Joshua Conkel
40-something Tom has his boyfriend Mikey move in. What seems like domestic bliss at first gives way to creeping dread as a malevolent spirit makes itself known. This gay ghost will stop at nothing to get close to Tom, even if that means eliminating Mikey.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Two things: men have been terrible to me but also, I have a mischievous ghost in my house. I just combined them.

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

I wrote the first draft in 2017, so that’s quite a while. I knew I was a good writer – I’m a tv writer by trade – I just didn’t really believe I could produce and direct a film until I did it.

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

Horny ghost.

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

Like anybody, I think, it’s just a lack of resources. I was very lucky that Danny DeVito and Jersey/2nd Ave came in to produce this. That’s the only reason it got made. After that, well, it’s hard to get people to watch a short, which is why I’m so grateful to festivals. Captive audience, and all that.

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

I really didn’t want to watch it because I was afraid they would say mean things and, honestly, I know what I would do differently if I were to make it again. I know the films’ flaws. But they were all really generous with their feedback and I was appreciative of it.

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

There was never a moment in my life when I didn’t want to be involved with filmmaking in some way.

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

At various points in my life, my comfort films have been The Dark Crystal, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Rosemary’s Baby. So those three. He Watches borrows more from Rosemary’s Baby than the other two, obviously.

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

I think putting queer filmmakers together is the best thing.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Something Southern and homemade. Chicken and dumplings, probably. I also eat an insane amount of popcorn.

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

Hopefully a feature version of he watches, which is ready to go if anyone out there has money for me! Other than that, I’m working as a writer on Dead Boy Detectives, a new spooky YA show for HBO Max.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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