Gallows Hill, the upcoming supernatural thriller from director Victor Garcia, is a film that only recently popped up on our radar, but once it did, we knew we wanted to hear more from the up-and-coming filmmaker, who is now currently in post-production with the project.
Peter Facinelli (The Twilight Saga flicks), Sophia Myles (Underworld) and Nathalia Ramos star in the film, which follows an American widower who flies to Colombia with his new fiancée to retrieve his rebellious teenage daughter, Jill. But when a car accident leaves the group stranded at an isolated inn, it’s there that they discover the old innkeeper has locked a young girl in the basement, and their decision to set her free has unintended consequences.
Written by Richard D’Ovidio, Gallows Hill was shot on location in Bogota, Colombia, and was produced by Launchpad Productions, A Bigger Boat and Bowery Hills Entertainment.
Check out our interview with Garcia below, and look for more on Gallows Hill later this week! In the meantime be sure to “like” Gallows Hill on Facebook.
Dread Central: Tell us how you got involved with Gallows Hill; what was it about this script that appealed to you as a storyteller?
Victor Garcia: My manager, Mike Goldberg, sent me the script back in February. After reading it a couple of times, I started working on my notes and a presentation for my meeting with producer David Higgins. At that time I was in Barcelona so I met him on Skype, and we shared our ideas and notes on the draft. After that I sent the producers my director’s statement and an animatic of one of the scenes to try to illustrate the visual style I was aiming for. A couple of weeks later I got a call saying that I got the job.
There were several things that attracted me to the project; the fact that it was an original story was obviously one of them, but I really dug the fact that it was a horror movie based on real characters and the emotional beats were as important to the story as the jump scares.
Dread Central: Did you work closely with Richard on the script or add any of your own touches at all?
Victor Garcia: I worked with Rich and David on the following four revisions of the script. We had long meetings, and we shared a lot of notes and ideas. Several of my ideas made it to the final draft; Rich and David were pretty much at the same page as me in regards of what kind of story we wanted to tell so it was a very easygoing process.
Dread Central: Colombia seems like such a wild (but great) shooting location- what was behind the decision to shoot the film down there? Can you talk about your experiences on location?
Victor Garcia: By the time I got the script, I already knew we were going to shoot in Bogota. My experience there was great; the crew was really awesome, and the local talent we used all delivered amazing performances.
Dread Central: I’m a big fan of both Peter and Sophia; can you discuss your casting choices and what they both brought to the table for their respective roles for this project?
Victor Garcia: Peter and Sophia are both great actors; they got extremely involved in the whole process, adding their own ideas to their characters. They have been acting for a while so they have an amazing understanding about the whole process, and they are very aware of what’s going to work on screen. It’s been a pleasure to have them on this movie, and their performances and ideas have pushed the story several steps further.
Dread Central: What kind of story can fans expect from Gallows Hill then?
Victor Garcia: We’ve got a little bit of everything; the story moves from a spooky house story to a more action-driven movie, having always in mind that it’s a story about characters. I think we’ve used all the tricks in the book while keeping the story as fresh as possible and adding a couple of new ideas that I hope fans will appreciate.
Dread Central: Because you’ve worked on a bunch of modern horror films, I was wondering if you could talk about what you do to keep things interesting for yourself as a genre filmmaker. What are the stories you like to tell?
Victor Garcia: Gallows Hill is a perfect example of the story I like to tell. I’ve always thought that no matter how creepy, scary or gory your film is, nothing is going to fully work unless you’ve got a sense of real drama and real characters. I’m interested in horror for sure, but I’m more interested in developing real characters that must face their own demons. The horror setup is, to me, the best metaphor to explore the darkness in all of us.
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