Found Footage 3D – Exclusive Interview with the Cast and Crew
Found Footage 3D celebrated its world premiere at Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Festival in Chicago on August 20th and while the film doesn’t have a set general release date yet, there’s been lots of buzz about it in the horror community.
There was also lots of buzz in the room when we caught up with the multitude of directors, actors, and producers who worked on the film – good luck keeping up as we crowd-surfed through the greenroom, getting quips and blips from all of them.
Well, most of them. In the room were Steven DeGennaro, who is the writer, director, and producer; Alena von Stroheim, who plays Amy in the film; Scott Allen Perry, as Carl; Jessica Perrin, who plays Lilly; Charles Mulford, one of the producers; Chris O’Brien, as Mark; Carter Roy, who plays Derek James; Scott Weinberg, who has a cameo as himself; and Tom Saporito, who plays Andrew, the director of the film within the film.
Dread Central: Found Footage 3D… with a title like that, do you think people will know it’s not just a horror comedy?
Steven DeGennaro: It is a funny title and what we’re aiming for is a Scream-esque version of the genre. Somebody described it yesterday as: It’s funny until it’s not. So it’s very front loaded with comedy with a little bit of horror and then back loaded with horror and a little comedy but we call it a horror movie with some comedy elements. A horror movie with a good sense of humor, because our characters are so colorful and well played. I think a lot of humor comes out naturally because of their chemistry. I want Jessica Perrin to say a little bit, this was her first feature film and she got to do her first stunt.
Jessica Perrin: I would say dying on the set was quite awesome. I got to work with Jeff Schwan who’s a huge stunt person, he works on everything. They got me in a harness, tied me around a tree and sent me flying multiple times, it was a lot of fun. We did a lot of practical effects on set as well, so getting to react to the death was quite authentic, there was lots of blood, lots of great acting going on so overall dying on this film was awesome.
Tom Saporito: I like any chance to get dirty was it was cool to get all the prosthetics put on my chest and things, all the stage blood, I just have an absolute blast with that stuff. It helps me get into character and I get to do something silly, like put all of this on me, it was cool.
Scott Weinberg: I got super gory and I was truly impressed on how skilled and professional the effects people were. We had Eric Zapata, who you might know, he was on “Face Off,” the show about competitive makeup, he’s a world class make up guy, everybody’s makeup was fantastic. I spent about an hour getting gored up and even though it was very uncomfortable I loved every second of it.
SD: I think everybody here will agree, Scott had the two best deaths in the movie.
SW: I would say too, getting to act with some of the practical effects was amazing. I don’t want to give anything away but there’s a room explosion and to be in the room as it explodes and be able to react to it…
TS: I don’t know how well it reads but in that moment, that take was the first take we did I was trembling, I almost cried, I felt like such a little bitch. It shocked me, I wasn’t ready for how deafening and how real that explosion scene was.
SW: Everybody in the room thought that Tom was a little bit scared.
SD: We have a couple of things, we tried to not use it too much, there are different places where things come at the camera but that’s not really what we were after with 3D. To me the 3D functions largely because it’s unobtrusive. One of the cool things about doing a found footage movie in 3D is that it’s shot on these camcorders and they’re kind of, they have this sort of camcorder feel to it and one of the things that happens is that almost everything on the screen is in focus, no matter how far away or close to you it is. Which means when you are there in the theater you can sort of decide for yourself whether you’re going to look at the things that are close enough or look at the things that are far away and that sort of adds these layers of depth to the shots, that our DP Drew Daniels shot, that make it very immersive.
Charles Mulford: I just want to say that in a lot of movies, the novelty of 3D kind of wears off midway through the film and by the end you’re not even thinking about it. With this film it doesn’t and I really agree with that actually. You know, even Avatar by midway through the movie is all so beautiful and sensory overload but this, the different effects we’re doing, the cobwebs and layers of dust, it kind of renewed the consistency of the novelty.
SW: Steven came up with a lot of cool gimmicks, there’s not a lot of in your face gags but then there are a small handful that are mainly in jokes for movie enthusiasts. For the most part the 3D works so well because of the depth of field, not so much throwing stuff at the lens but letting the background and the foreground come together. It looks beautiful and I am not a 3D fan.
DC: Are there lots of things coming at you?
Chris O’Brien: It’s not so much that, it’s not like a pop-up book where things leap off the screen at you, it’s more like looking through a window when you’re watching this film. You see a lot of films shot in 3D and in post-production you have cardboard cutouts in front of a black background and this isn’t like that at all because we shot it natively in 3D and you get this amazing look, it’s beautiful, layer after layer and you can just pick what you want to look at.
SD: From a narrative point of view, one of the things about 3D, because we were exclusively shooting a movie in 3D, we know that we’re shooting a movie in 3D and the characters talk about shooting a movie in 3D, we can do some things in 3D that you can’t do in a regular movie, go places where we break the 3D rules a little bit because we know we’re watching camcorder footage. We’re watching somebody watch footage on a screen, the footage on the screen kind of becomes 3D when bad things happen. There are times where you subtly see things in one eye that you can’t see in the other eye and it creates this cool kind of shimmery effect, so we try to kind of push the boundaries of that, as much as we sort of could and still have the movie work in 2D for those who won’t be able to see it in 3D.
CO: I think Steven was really innovative with the use of 3D. One of the things that impressed me the most, we had shot this footage in 3D that was playing back on a 2D monitor in the film and Steven put 3D glasses on the camera to film the 3D footage so that when you played back the monitor footage it has depth and pops out at you in the film. I’d never seen that done before and it was really cool to see him put on the glass coating and figure out those things.
SW: I’ve probably done hundreds of film festivals and I’ve definitely seen hundreds of horror films at these festivals and I don’t know how it will play again but Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Festival was the perfect screening. People laughed when we wanted them to laugh, they shrieked when we wanted them to shriek and at the end, everybody stayed for the Q&A, people had a great time and to me, it doesn’t matter if people call it amazing or brilliant, we heard people laughing their asses off and shrieking and that’s all we wanted when we shot it. We wanted people to gather together and have a ball watching it and at least our debut screening, it did that.
Dread Central: We know how elusive Bruce can be… was he there?
SD: Bruce wasn’t able to make it, he has a crazy schedule during the festival. He sometimes introduces the movie and then bolts out and comes back but unfortunately he was really tied up.
The first person, when we opened up the floor to questions, said ‘This is my favorite genre of film and this is the best found footage film I have ever seen’ and he’s no longer excited for the new Blair Witch movie. People were really enthusiastic and appreciative, maybe that was partially due to Bruce Campbell being there, getting caught up in the excitement of being at a festival but I think most of the comments we got were legitimately surprised at how entertaining the film is and that made us so happy.
Carter Roy, Alena von Stroheim, Chris O’Brien, Tom Saporito, Scott Allen Perry, Jessica Perrin, and Scott Weinberg star.
Produced by Kim Henkel, co-creator of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Found Footage 3D tells the story of a group of filmmakers who set out to make “the first 3D found-footage horror film” but find themselves in a found-footage horror film when the evil entity from their movie escapes into their behind-the-scenes footage.