Midnight Son Preview Blow-Out: New Stills! New Art! Screening Info! Q&A with Director Scott Leberecht!
Q&A with writer/director Scott Leberecht
Q: Tell us a little about the origins of Midnight Son, from concept to financing.
A: When I lived in San Francisco, there was an old house I walked past every day that was boarded up and seemingly abandoned. The odd thing was that someone had covered the windows (from the inside) with whimsical paintings of trees and rainbow landscapes. I imagined a person trapped inside that could not come out, trying to connect with people passing by – someone who perhaps could not be exposed to sunlight and was very lonely. At that point I realized I had never really seen a vampire film that depicted the physical condition as something debilitating and tragic, as opposed to empowering or romantic.
Once I had the screenplay written, I created concept art, a storyboard animatic, and the paintings (that appear in the film) as a way to impress potential investors and help them understand the look and feel. The first investor was Kevin McCorkle. He and his wife, Lisa, embraced the film instantly and opened many doors for us. Without them, Max Curry, and Maya Parish, I never would have shot the movie. We raised enough money for production, and I naively believed that we would easily get the rest of the money for post-production once people saw the footage. This was our first big stall. Months went by, then David C Hughes, our Sound Designer, told Eduardo Sanchez about my predicament.
Eduardo checked out the website, then emailed me to see some footage. I sent him a few clips, and he asked to read the screenplay. After reading it, he called to say he wanted to help finish the film and brought on two other producers that he’d worked with in the past: Matt Compton and Reed Frerichs. I was thrilled. We were on our way again, but the 2008 economic downturn was our next big stall. We could no longer afford to pay an editor, and at that point I realized the only way the film was ever going to be finished was if I learned Final Cut Pro and did it myself. For many months I edited while Eduardo, Matt, and Reed gave me notes. Ed became my mentor and guide, teaching me things that only come with the kind of experience he has. Now that the film is finished, we are navigating the complex waters of distribution, and I feel incredibly lucky to be in a partnership with such wonderful, experienced producers.
Q: Vampire films have been the “IT” topic on the big and small screens these days, with much criticism of certain sparkly vampires. You return the genre to its original horror, but how would you say Midnight Son is different from any other vampire film out today?
A: One aspect I struggled with was explaining the origin of his condition. Contracting the disease by being bitten felt cliché and derivative of other vampire movies. I wanted my character to be the victim of his own body. Congenital illness, puberty, sexual attraction, and love are all things that happen to us from the inside out. We generally dislike being at the mercy of anything, but when the thing we don’t want emanates from within, our self-image shatters. We must cope with a new set of rules, and our identity is temporarily on hold. These are very scary moments in life. I think the mysterious origin of his illness makes MIDNIGHT SON unique.
Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making Midnight Son?
A: The best experience was working with a cast and crew who all understood that independent filmmaking at this level means that we must not only do the job we are going to be credited for, we must be willing to do anyone’s job. Actors hauled gear, wardrobe handled props, and the director parked cars. It’s the only way to get a no budget film made, and everyone accepted this. It was truly inspiring, and I was witnessing the kind of collaboration a filmmaker only dreams of.
The worst was when our lead actor (Zak Kilberg) had to go to the emergency room with abdominal pains. Like a true pro, he physically pushed himself to the very edge. I was terrified he had gone too far, and that I had asked him to go too far. For 24 hours I had no idea whether or not Zak had a serious medical problem and if we'd be able to finish the film. Luckily, he was okay, and we started shooting again the next day.
Q: In your own words, why should people see Midnight Son?
A: MIDNIGHT SON is what I would call a ‘thinking man’s horror film’. I can’t enjoy movies targeted to teens, so it’s hard for me to find anything that plumbs the depths of human fear in a way that moves me. People should see it if they are looking for a mature, sensitive story that also appeals to the monster-movie-loving kid inside us all.
Look for more on this flick soon!
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