Today I will be interviewing film producer Zach Green from Fatal Pictures. Fatal Pictures is an ever evolving production company based out of Canada that creates thought provoking short horror films. They are currently working on getting their first full length feature film made. I interviewed writer director Richard Powell from Fatal Pictures a few weeks ago and decided it would be cool to delve deeper into the creative process by speaking to producer Zach Green about their Box Cutter Trilogy films which includes Worm, Familiar, and HEIR.Each short film they create has an element of body horror where the main character uses a box cutter in some horrific way.
For those of you who have not read my interview with Richard Powell about his film HEIR, and my video review of the film you can find it here.
Now for the Q & A interview with producer Zach Green. I will be listed at IA (Immortal Alexander), and Zach will be listed as ZG (Zach Green).
IA: First off thank you so much Zach for taking the time to talk to me today.
ZG: Thanks for having me.
IA: Richard Powell from Fatal Pictures said you two met in film school in Canada. Can you tell me a little about how that all came about?
ZG: I was attending film school for editing, and Richard was in the Film & TV production class. Each person in his class would write a script and submit it to the faculty. The best script would be chosen to be made as part of the class. Richard‘s film was lucky enough to be chosen. I had no idea who he was at that time since we were in different classes. I applied to an ad on the bulletin board to edit the project, and they accept me. That’s basically how Richard and I met. We built a great rapport while working on the edit of our class project.
IA: What part of filmmaking interested you the most while in school?
ZG: Editing most definitely. I really love piecing the story together and making the director look good. Your goal is to make the film look and feel the best it can. My only interest was to be behind the camera. I never had any interest in being in front of it.
IA: How about after school. How did you take your passion for storytelling and extend that beyond school, and why did you transition from editing to producing the films you made?
ZG: Basically as soon as we left school we both started making short films. We both saw it as a kind of an extended film school where we could learn by doing. When you really learn is when you’re troubleshooting on the go. That’s when it really makes or breaks the kind of filmmaker you are going to become. You can learn all of the technical stuff, and all of the basics, but actually getting out there and doing, actually applying what you’ve learned is another story. You need to be able to constantly troubleshoot anything that happens on set. If you don’t your wasting the day and everyone’s time. My decision to produce came from trying to make the films look and feel the best they can. I wanted to help put the films together from start to finish because they were our babies. I wanted to cast them, crew them, and do the best for our films.
IA: So it was out of necessity that you became a producer.
ZG: It’s part of the nature of independent film. You have to do a lot of it yourself. We started our company in 2007 and made our first film Consumption which I will let you see some time.
IA: I would love to see it!
ZG: Consumption was the first film we wrote and produced. It happened organically. I went and got the locations, permits, and whatever we needed for the production. I learned producing on the go by getting in the mix and doing it.
IA: I watched your film Worm recently. In all of your films the main character uses a box cutter, usually involving some kind of elaborate practical fx. In Worm what the character is doing with the box cutter is obscured so I can’t really tell what’s happening. Can you explain the scene where the teacher uses the box cutter in the mens room?
ZG: Ok, so in Worm we did have a practical fx guy on set but the scene didn’t really require elaborate special fx. In the scene you are describing the main character is cutting himself. You see drops of blood on the floor, and then you see the box cutter fall. Later you see him washing his bloody hands. Worm is a story about a guy who is slowly unraveling. He’s a failed writer, a disgruntled teacher, and you are seeing a small slice the characters day.
IA: So which part of his body was he cutting?
ZG: Even though you don’t see it he is cutting his arm in that scene.
IA: It’s cool that you guys created your own company to make the stories you want to tell.
ZG: Thank you. Even though we are making our films outside of any studio the process is still just as difficult. There are a lot of moving parts that you have to keep track of. Thankfully our film Worm had some good traction so it was a little easier to get some great talent involved when we made Familiar, and HEIR. Our cinematographer Michael Jari Davidson who shot Familiar also came on to shoot HEIR. He also brought on an amazing steadicam operator. We were very lucky to work with such talented people. The final shot in Familiar where the shot moves around actor Robert Nolan on the chair as done all in one shot with a steadicam and it’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s my favorite shot of the movie.
IA: It’s always lucky when you find amazing talent that understands your vision.
ZG: It is, but there is no such thing as luck. It’s all timing and hard work. Cream of the crop is going to rise regardless. If you make a great film you need to push it out there otherwise you might as well have not ever made it. You have to get your film into the hands of people like you. Without people like you we wouldn’t be doing anything.
IA: Thank you so much! I find it extraordinarily rare for filmmakers to take such care in telling a great story. It’s not always profitable to just tell a great story. A lot of times it’s more about the results as opposed to how it was put together.
ZG: I’m glad you brought that up. We’re just waiting and searching for that opportunity where we are able to get a bigger budget. We want to have an investor be amazing by what we are able to accomplish for such a small budget and give us the opportunity to show them what we can do with a much larger budget. I make award winning short films that are doing as well as they are which hopefully puts us that much closer to that first feature film.
IA: It’s a give and take when the projects get much bigger. I hope you find the funding you need to make some amazing films that not only terrify, but also makes the audience feel something. Where can people find your current films?
ZG: We don’t have anything on DVD or Blu-Ray yet but our film Familiar is on iTunes, and our film HEIR will be on iTunes as well once it has finished its festival run. Our strategy is to get our films out there so as many people as possible can see it.
IA: I do believe all of your hard work is going to pay off. I can see the evolution from Worm, to Familiar, to HEIR, and I’m really excited to see Consumption!
ZG: I greatly appreciate that. Thank you so much! For people to say that it means we are doing things for the right reason.
IA: HEIR is definitely the pinnacle of storytelling for your company Fatal Pictures. Not to say that there was not great storytelling in your other two films from the Box Cutter Trilogy. It’s just that the main character in HEIR is much more grounded, more human. The story is amazing, and the atmosphere is palpable. From the directing, the acting, camera work, lighting, performances, and editing, it was just a beautifully crafted film!
ZG: Thank you. The film HEIR was a metaphor for child abuse, and sometimes people don’t get it if they don’t read the write up first. I’m glad it resonated with you. Richard is a very smart writer. He’s great at approaching a story from a very well thought out place. He’s great at making meaningful stories. It just means the world when people understand the film, and write a review about it. One of my favorite lines from a review was from Jovy Skol from Icons of Fright. The reviewer said “HEIR asks to be discussed, not to be cheered.” I absolutely love that!
IA: Thank you so much for your time Zach. I really enjoyed speaking with you and I am looking forward to seeing more of your work in the near future!
ZG: It was my pleasure. Thank you so much! It’s means the world to us to have people talking about our films.
You can find out more about Fatal Pictures here:
You can also find Fatal Pictures on Facebook to get updates on the current and future projects:
You can find me on twitter @HtvImmortal