Hitting theaters and on demand July 21st is the feature from Mathieu Ratthe THE GRACEFIELD INCIDENT. The film follows a man using his iPhone camera to record a special night with his friends that takes a turn for the worse. HMU got the opportunity to interview the director and star of the film on his thoughts on found footage films, alien flicks and so on. Enjoy the interview ahead and look for our review next week!
Was there any film or possibly something you saw online that gave you the idea for eye camera in THE GRACEFIELD INCIDENT?
First of all, thank you Travis for your interest in our film.
I wanted to create a suspenseful story that scared the crap out of the audience but also that make them emotionally involve, which is really tough to do in this kind of movie, but I think we achieved pretty well in our film.
The conceptual idea (or I liked to call it the “technique”) came after I realized how many days I was given to shoot our film with the budget that I had. I didn’t wanted to be a typical “found footage technique” movie, so this is how I came up with the cellphone camera integrated into a prosthetic eye. I thought it would be really interesting for the audience to follow a subjective POV and be able to live this suspenseful story in the eye of the main character.
Do you think we will ever see a decline in found footage films in the next few years?
That’s a really good question. In my perception, the term “found footage” is really confusing for the audience. Let me explain; the “found footage” term was a marketing tool when the Blair Witch Project came out and it was genius what they did. But now, almost 20 years later, the term is still use all the time to identified the technique “camera handle” used to tell a story and it can get really confusing for the audience. The audience is tired as I am to hear found footage, and the audience is not stupid, they know this footage has not been found, so I think we should rethink the use of the term found footage if we want to keep alive the independent filmmaking with low budget that wanted to use this technique to shoot their film, that sometimes, like in my case was the only way to make it my film done with the schedule and budget restraint. I hope it makes sense.
Do you feel like there is a fine line between sci fi and horror or do they pretty much go hand in hand?
I think they are two different entities, but people can confuse them. Same as horror and suspense. I prefer to put the horror in the audience’s mind as I’m building my suspense. The audience’s imagination is more horrified than anything I can put on screen.
What kind of challenges did you encounter with the night scenes in the film and how proud are you of your crew’s work with the final results?
I think because of the subjective technique we used to tell The Gracefield Incident, my thinking had to be completely different, more linear I would say. I shot the movie
100% with a camera on my shoulder at the same time I was acting. Only from one POV . It was a real challenge for me, because since I started making film at 10 years old, I’m used to set up different cameras angles to build up suspense and emotion, and edit the film through different perspectives depending how I want to have the audience emote, which in this case was impossible because of the one subjective POV, but very effective for this film.
Cannot be prouder of my crew. Plus Rodeo FX and Oblique FX in Montreal made all the Visual Effects for the film. They are the best in the business in Montreal. I could have not make this film without them.
I think the most important person in the process was Yan Savard (my DP/focus puller, online editor, colorist, cameraman, etc..) Yan shot my first film when I was 10 and we always been together since then, so the chemistry between us is hard to explain and Yan’s role was crucial for this film.
What is it about humans that makes us think not telling people the truth makes everyone safe?
I think humans are a really young species in the universe and we’re not physically and mentally developed enough to understand what’s out there and when you don’t understand something than fear comes in. So I think instead of trying to explain something that most human won’t probably understand it’s better not to say anything.
What kind of reaction do you expect from audiences when they see THE GRACEFIELD INCIDENT?
Honestly, I don’t know. I’m expecting some people to love it and some people to hate it. Which is completely normal, but hopefully they will see that we’ve tried to give a different result to the genre. Not the typical stiry you see all the time. That there is something different about this film.
Without giving it way how many times in your head did you go over the ending?
I changed the ending three times. 😉
Thanks again to Mathieu Ratthe for the interview!