“Violence, Found Footage and Censorship”- An Interview with James Cullen Bressack
A little while ago I reviewed a hard-hitting found footage/home invasion movie titled HATE CRIME. Now, director James Cullen Bressack discusses his ideas behind the film, working with a talented cast, issues of censorship, as well as future projects and Leprechauns!!
1. What inspired you to write HATE CRIME?
My co-writer Jarret Cohen and I began writing Hate Crime soon after our own encounter with racial prejudice. We were in a bar in Texas when confronted about being Jewish. We were shaken by the experience and began talking more about racial hatred that exists that we have been shielded from. We soon found in our research that this kind of hatred not only exists, but has been on the rise in recent years. It’s a story we felt needed to be told.
2. Has the hard-hitting subject matter always been something you’ve felt strongly about?
I have always felt strongly about discrimination of any kind. Despite Hate Crime dealing specifically with anti-Semitic themes, it’s lessons apply to the failings of all hate groups.
3. The found footage sub-genre is very popular at the moment, what do you think defines HATE CRIME from other films?
Hate Crime is shot to look as one continuous shot, without music or other extraneous effects. I think it adds to the realism of the film. And ultimately, it’s that realism that was needed to make a film with real impact.
4. The film showcases a very talented cast, who give very convincing performances, how did they all come on board?
It was real important to have realistic performances to make this film work. I got really lucky in casting with an amazing group of actors. Their dedication to their roles was more than I could have asked. I had worked with Jody Barton on Unmimely Demise and knew I wanted to cast him as One. Ian Roberts (Three) was also cast early and the two of them helped work the scenes with the other actors during auditions. The rest came in and killed their auditions. It was a pleasure working with them.
5. Did you face any challenges as a director when filming disturbing scenes?
The challenge was not feeling bad for what I put the actors through. It wasn’t until the filming was complete that I realized how much my actors had to experience. We all became close on set and we had to handle the intense scenes with care. While still accurately portraying the brutality. The trust built with the cast/crew on set was crucial to create the realistic atmosphere we needed.
6. How have audiences received the film so far in the US?
So far our audience has been mostly reviewers, most of which has been extremely positive. In mid October we will have a screening in Long Beach, CA at the Late Night Horror film festival, in Las Vegas, NV at Pollygrind film festival, and Grimmfest in Manchester UK. We are looking forward to audience response.
7. Congratulations on getting HATE CRIME selected to play at Grimmfest in the UK this October, what are you hoping the UK audiences will take away from it?
I hope they take away the fact that they actually got watch the film.
8. Are you nervous about the BBFC’s reaction to HATE CRIME and what are your general thoughts on them?
We hope we’re not banned. Despite its extreme brutality, much of Hate Crime’s violence takes place off screen. Plus, its message is strong and important. Particularly in Europe where anti-Semitism is growing. We hope everyone who wants to see it gets to.
9. How did you start up your production company Psykik Junky Pictures?
Deep within the earth’s core a child was born. The child was born of flames originating from the first fire on earth. One night after a heavy night of hallucinogenics, James Cullen Bressack was dared to look into the fire. What he saw frightened him at first. Then he saw destiny. Psykik Junky Pictures was born.
10. You’ve also filmed a short for the anthology film THEATRE OF THE DERANGED II, what can you tell us about the project?
It’s an anthology film with some really talented people involved. And they also let me direct something even though the anthology was all my idea. It’s going to be kick ass. You’re gonna look back on that shit man, and be like fuck, why didn’t I watch that a million times. Then you’ll have it on DVD and be like, fuck, now I own it, I can watch it a million times. And your life will be complete.
11. Your first feature MY PURE JOY allows the audience an insight into the mental state of a killer, what inspired your ideas behind the film?
The insight into my own mental state as a killer. I only made it so I didn’t have to kill people myself. I better make another one quick.
12. What do you personally believe makes a good horror movie?
Leprechauns. You need Leprechauns for good luck.
13. Are you currently working on any other projects at the moment?
Yes. Working on a film called Pernicious shooting in Thailand. Productions starts in January. Follow us on Facebook for more updates. That’s all I’m allowed to say about it. They monitor my emails and tap my phones.
14. How do you go about marketing your films?
I cannot reveal my secrets. But I use all my resources and put in a lot of time on promotion. I love making movies but I also want people to see them.
15. As a young filmmaker, what advice would you give for anyone who is contemplating making their own movie?
Just go make a movie if you have an idea. No matter the budget, these days you can get a film for cheap. Oh, and make sure there is enough money in the budget to cast Jody Barton. He’s the fucking best. /signed/ Jody Barton.
Interviewer: Hayley Alice Roberts
Check out my review of HATE CRIME here: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/home-is-no-longer-sweet-a-review-of-hate-crime-2012/
For more info on James and Psykik Junky Pictures check out his Facebook pages: