Exclusive: Filmmaker Carles Torrens Talks Parapsychology, Found Footage and More for Apartment 143
Apartment 143 follows three parapsychologists who begin investigating a series of anomalous phenomena in an apartment, and recently we spoke to filmmaker Carles Torrens about his involvement on the flick.
The project was Torrens' first feature, and we also discussed his experiences making the challenging indie thriller, which uses well over 10 different forms of footage style as the team begins interviewing and recording the tenants and the unexplained phenomena intensify. As they go deeper into their research, it is revealed that a family's secrets may also be a factor into the mysterious supernatural happenings inside Apartment 143.
Read our interview with Torrens, who would like to continue to call the horror genre home for some time, below; and make sure to check out Apartment 143 now that it is available via VOD and in limited theaters in the US courtesy of Magnet Releasing.
Dread Central: I'd love to hear more about how you came on board this project. Had you known Rodrigo (Cortes, who wrote the script) before this?
Carles Torrens: Oh definitely; I've admired his work for a long time, and we've also been friends for a while. He had originally written this script to direct, but after the success of Buried, he moved on in a different direction. He sent me the script, and I thought it was really interesting because it was very different; it wasn't the usual ghost story, and I enjoyed that. At the point I was reading the script, they didn't have anyone attached, and I guess they liked my work on the short films I had done so they offered it to me, and I was thrilled to come on board.
Dread Central: Had you known a lot about parapsychology and investigating the supernatural before you came on board? How did you prepare to tackle this story and make it your own?
Carles Torrens: I didn't really at first, no. But I knew I wanted to learn everything I could about it, and Rodrigo had done a lot of research while he was writing the script so that was my first resource because it was a great blueprint to start from. After that I did a lot of research on my own and made a reader's digest version of everything I had absorbed through all of the books and everything I read. That's what I gave the actors to work off of, too, just so they'd have a great wealth of information on parapsychology coming into this, which I think definitely helped prepare them for the shoot.
Dread Central: Because first-person footage has become so popular recently, what did you do to make Apartment 143 stand out from other recent films that used the same techniques?
Carles Torrens: Well, the movie was already planned as a found footage-style project before I signed on so I didn't really decide the style, but I think it really works well with the approach of our story. Because we focus so much on the scientific process to parapsychology, it wouldn't have felt right to shoot this movie traditionally, and I think when you have cameras that become the background, it allows for some interesting character moments, and I think we successfully achieved that in this.
The funny thing is that Apartment 143 had been in the works long before Paranormal Activity 2 came out so to be honest, I hadn't seen a movie use surveillance footage in this way before we set out to make this. I see this as a research movie, and that's definitely unlike other movies that may share similar DNA with us. This approach is about providing a detached and distant look at the experiments carried out by scientists, and it's all very academic. Scientists wouldn't shoot with a steadicam, right?
Dread Central: What are working on now? Any plans to return to the horror genre in the future?
Carles Torrens: There are a few things I’m working on, but I can't really talk about them because these days it seems like projects can come together and fall apart in just a few hours so it's always better to not talk about things until you're actually in pre-production. But yes, there are a few things I am working on, but I’d rather not talk about them yet.
I definitely do want to stay working in the genre for a while though- I will say that. I love it, and I think it's a great platform to tell incredibly engaging stories and one of the best ways to hone your craft and challenge yourself as both a storyteller and a filmmaker.
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