Interview with Filmmaker Richard Powell (FAMILIAR Short Film)

The experience at WILDsound is always a great one! The feedback videos are a great tool to study and learn from and actually sitting in the audience during the screening gives alot of great perspective. Our upcoming short HEIR is Co-Produced by RED SNEAKERS MEDIA, a great Toronto Film team we had the pleasure of meeting at a Wild Sound event during the Festival run of our previous short WORM. I’ll always remember and credit WILDsound for that opportunity to meet new collaborators!

– Directer Richard Powell on the WILDsound experience (Review)

    Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video from the festival for FAMILIAR:

Matthew Toffolo interviews Director Richard Powell:

Matthew: Your short film played at our festival in 2013. How has it done since it screened? Has it played at more festivals? Distribution deal? Can be seen online?

Richard: FAMILIAR has played at over 50 Film Festivals world wide and continues to screen to this day. The amount of Festival selections and reviews the film has had is something we are very proud of. FAMILIAR was a project we had alot of confidence in so we look to have it screened and reviewed everywhere and by anybody interested in checking it out! To date Familiar has been hosted by FearNet where it had been awarded a STAFF PICK and GORIEST SHORT and currently FAMILIAR is in the process of being made available on ITUNES. The film being made available on ITUNES will hopefully make it that much more available to new audiences to find it and us!

Matthew: What motivated you to make this film?

Richard: FAMILIAR was really motivated by my desire to explore the themes of my previous short film WORM but through the prism of horror. WORM explores the hidden dangers of frustrated ambition and creativity through the use of an ID like inner monolog which dominates a High School English teacher. The short is a drama which flirts with the idea of horror and violence but ultimately prefers to explore those themes in verbal ways, I wanted to see if I could scare and or upset an audience with words only. The experiment was fun and in my mind a successful one, so much so that I have written a feature length version of that short film. After WORM I was thinking about what the inner monolog is, what the ID is, what desire is and those questions led me to FAMILIAR, a film which questions if our deepest desires and darkest thoughts are ours alone or originate elsewhere. How can something which is apparently ourselves work against us and motivate us to harm our selves and the ones we love? Surely this desire can’t be a part of us if it is self destructive? These questions and some fun blood and guts make up FAMILIAR, a gory counter part to WORM, the bloodless dramatic predecessor.

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

Richard: FAMILIAR took a long time, all of our shorts do because we write, finance and distribute the films our selves. We have never earned a grant or been blessed with rich relatives (although relatives have surely helped us beyond words!) So our films taking a long time really makes us consider each project, each cast or crew member and finally how long we push our films into the world. These aren’t cheap, throw away short films, these are our first films and they mean everything to us. FAMILIAR took atleast a year to cast, to find locations and to develop the special FX with the Butcher. We also had to work our day jobs to raise the budget, infact everything we have created is always on Evenings and Weekends, which makes the prospects of doing this full time a dream we strive for every day because with that amount of time we know we are capable of great things cinematically.

Matthew: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Richard: Luckily FAMILIAR was much easier to make than our previous film WORM and WORM is the reason why. We spent alot of money and learned alot of lessons on WORM which allowed FAMILIAR to come together in a much more streamlined way. Due to the fact that we spent the time and money to make WORM great we were able to attract high level cast and crew who were excited to work with us on FAMILIAR. Due to the fact that we had established relationships on WORM with certain cast and crew we knew who we could rely on when it came to FAMILIAR. Every film makes the next one easier but because the next film should be better the difference in negligible. No film is easy and every film you do makes that all the more clear.

Matthew: What film have you seen the most in your life?

Richard: I watch ALIEN, TAXI DRIVER, GOOD FELLAS and TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE the most. I’ve watched them since I was kid and will do so until I’m an old man because every time I watch them I see more and learn more. These films never age or diminish but grow stronger with each viewing.

Matthew: What is next for you? A new film?

Richard: We are close to completing a new short film HEIR which will hopefully be on the Festival circuit this Summer/Fall. It’s something very different and I have a feeling will cause some great discussion once it begins to be seen. Aside from that we are trying to get our feature film WORM made and I am personally trying to write much more these days to get all of the ideas I have out of my brain and into the world!

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