Woods is a science fiction/thriller, which played as part of the Short Film Showcase at the 2014 Blood in the Snow Film Festival. At the festival, I saw down with writer, director, producer, and star Jon Hyatt to talk about the film.
Sean Kelly: What gave you the idea for this film?
Jon Hyatt: Basically, I wanted to do some kind of a sci-fi/horror movie, because I’m a huge fan of the genre and I just plugged away in my own crazy brain for a while, put it together and wrote it. I guess it’s about people dealing with technology; people dealing with loss.
Sean: What were some of your inspirations behind the film?
Jon: I really kind of liked the work of Chris Cunningham and things like that and both Kubrick and Polanski. Movies like Repulsion, things like that. There’s a lot of that kind of stuff in the film, even the way we shot it. You grow up and watch so much stuff. There’s so much garbage in my brain at this point, I’m just picking through it and borrowing little pieces of genius from everywhere.
Sean: How much was the budget of this film, since there are some decent effects?
Jon: Yeah, we were looking at about ten grand. We were very lucky; a lot of people put a lot of free time into the movie, as they do with Canadian shorts. People are very generous with their time and there was a very small crew. We didn’t have a craft person, so I ended up making hot pockets and stuff like that in between takes. So, that was kind of tough.
Sean: What was the most challenging thing about the production?
Jon: The most challenging thing was 12 hours before we went to go film, our lead actor got shingles. It was terrifying; we try tried to recast it the night before and couldn’t and that’s why I ended up playing the main character. I had to jump into the actor’s suit within 12 hours and do the entire film – and direct and produce – so that was very tough
Sean: Were you always intending this to be a science fiction meets thriller film?
Jon: Yeah, I guess so. Did I intend to make this movie like that?
Sean: Were you always intending for there to be an android?
Jon: Yeah, actually the first idea of the movie I had was going to be an old man in an apartment and his wife had passed away, so they get an android to take care of him that malfunctions and tries to murder him and beats him up in his condo. It just kind of gravitated to “How about we do it in the woods?” So, I guess there was always an android and science fiction stuff from the beginning.
Sean: What’s one thing you want people to know about the film?
Jon: It’s the first in a trilogy of shorts that I am making. They don’t continue or anything like that, but they are all going to have that same kind of feeling. They will all have that same kind of look and then after that I will hopefully go for a feature. But, I hope people take away that a lot of hard work went into the film and we really put 110% into it.
Sean: What are your thoughts on the film having been shown at Blood in the Snow?
Jon: I think Blood in the Snow in a fantastic film fest. The fact that it’s a horror fest that really showcases Canadian work is fantastic. We really need festivals like this. It’s great that they are doing it at the Carlton. All the volunteers, everyone that works at this festival is fantastic. Kelly is brilliant for doing it and there is so much passion behind it. We are totally honoured just to be a part of it.