Logline: When a brother and sister are attacked in the woods by a ferocious beast, the brother takes it upon himself to find a way to trap the monster once and for all.
Length: 19 minutes
Director: Matt Braunsdorf
Producer: Matt Braunsdorf and Jared Dymbort
Writer: Matt Braunsdorf
Matt Braunsdorf is a freelance director, DP, and editor whose work includes film, television, Broadway, music videos and web content.
Jared Dymbort is a freelance composer for short & feature length films, television pilots, web series and other forms of media.
Key cast: Jared Dymbort as “John,” Mali MacConnell as “Anna,” and Thomas Beucler as “The Beast.”
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Distributors, Film Festival Directors, Journalists
Funders: Self-financed by Matt Braunsdorf and Jared Dymbort, with additional funding from Kitty Braunsdorf and Michael Braunsdorf and donations on IndieGoGo.
Made in association with: Vasofoto
Release date: October 2016
Where can I watch it?
The film is having it’s World Premiere at Dances with Films in Hollywood on June 3rd.
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I’ve loved monster movies my whole life and have always wanted to make them. After making short form web content for the past 6 years, refining my skills as a director, DP, and editor, I finally felt I could make a good and scary one. So using favorites like “The Thing,” “Predator,” “Aliens,” and “The Edge” as my main inspiration I crafted a story about a pair of siblings facing off against a monstrous beast in the woods.
That’s the environment I grew up in and I did everything with my family so this is a story rooted in my own experiences. Also, the woods can be a pretty scary place so, what better setting could there be for a monster movie than that? (Side note, I know “The Edge” is more of a wilderness survival movie, but the main characters are stalked by a “man-killer” bear the whole time, so it’s close enough).
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Everyone likes seeing an underdog overcome an adversary. In this film not only is the underdog, John, outmatched by an adversary twice his size, but it’s a beast that views him as nothing more than another meal. Add to that it’s a creature that appears to be straight out of a fantasy, perhaps the only one of it’s kind, so how do you beat something you know nothing about?
The film also stars a female protagonist that faces the beast head on with a thirst for battle effectively kicking the “damsel in distress” cliche right in its ass. The film is also scary and suspenseful with an action packed climax. Fans of a thrill ride will get their fair share of fun with this film.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
My father passed away in my early 20s leaving my mother, my two siblings, and I alone. Since then we’ve grown closer, more supportive, and protective of each other. His death has only reinforced my belief in the importance of family and caring for one another above all that much more. So when I approached this story I wanted it to be about a brother and sister who depend on each other for survival. So much so that when one of them is being attacked the other doesn’t hesitate to protect them, even if it means their own demise.
If I found myself in that situation I know I would do the same and I can’t imagine there are many people out there who don’t feel the same way about their own loved ones. If the tables were turned and one of my siblings made the ultimate sacrifice for me I would feel compelled to repay that debt. Not necessarily in the name of vengeance, but in making sure they didn’t die in vain.
In the case of this film I hoped to take it one step further and show that John needs to trap and kill this beast not only to avenge his sister, but to stop the creature from ever harming another the way he and Anna were.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
“John the Carpenter” was initially intended to just be a music video. Jared Dymbort, the composer and star of the film, had written a song of the same name as an homage to the classic film scores of John Carpenter. We are both lovers of Carpenter’s films and music.
However, as we were scripting the story that would be the backbone of the music video we realized it was more than we could contain in that format. Thusly, we explored the story’s full potential as a short film and expanded the song into what would become the score for the film.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The feedback we’ve received in the months since completing it has been overwhelmingly positive. Most people immediately praise not only the design of our monster, but the performance behind it from actor Thomas Beucler. The music is also complimented immensely with almost every who sees it demanding a copy of the soundtrack as soon as it’s available. Thankfully many have found it terrifying.
We had a small screening for friends and family and a few people came up to me afterward to say they almost had to leave because they were so scared, which of course filled me with glee. Then there was the matter of the story’s core, the relationship between John and his sister, which thankfully has hit home with all who have seen it. I’ve found that not only have people found the film scary, but emotional enough that they’ve gotten choked up during the final moments.
It hasn’t all been candy and roses though, as I’d gotten notes about the film's initial running time of 20 minutes. There were two scenes in particular that many commented on being unnecessary to the film. After receiving that note from several people I’ve gone in and trimmed the film to the 19 minutes it is today and I concede, it’s better for it.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Yes, the feedback about those two unnecessary scenes did challenge me. I viewed them as essential in terms of filling in the blanks in a story that has several time jumps within it. I thought that without those two scenes I’d be left with some dastardly “plot holes” that you so often hear critics and audiences complaining about.
I didn’t want anyone to be distracted by questioning the logic of what’s happening in the film from one moment to the next. However, after hearing all the feedback and stepping back and looking at the whole film from as objective a view point as possible, I realized the information I thought we so desperately needed was perfectly implied by the scenes surrounding those moments. I just needed to find faith in myself as a storyteller and in my audience’s ability to figure it out for themselves.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
First and foremost, I’m hoping that this will help my target audience find the film easier than just posting it on social media. If they can find it and enjoy it, I believe they will completely embrace it. Nothing would please me more than to attend a ComicCon in a year or two and see random people dressed up as John the Carpenter or Anna with her spear or even the beast, but that would require some serious make up dedication.
Further to that I want to keep making movies and if this helps other producers, agents, or financiers find out about me and my work it would mean I can keep doing that. And maybe next time I won’t be paying for the whole production out of my own pocket, asking for favors from friends and family, or shooting guerrilla style in locations I don’t have permits for, but let’s keep that last one on the DL. Also, hey, if John Carpenter himself finds out about my movie and wants to see it, I may just drop dead of happiness right then and there.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
The more festivals I can get the film accepted into, the more journalists will find out about the film and write about it, and the more audiences will want to seek it out. I hope, in the coming months to create a ground swell of hunger to see the movie so when we eventually release it online around Halloween we can land with a big splash and then everyone will know of the tale of John the Carpenter.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Like I said earlier, I want the genre geeks out there to go nuts for this! I hope to turn John into a cult icon like Ash Williams from “Evil Dead” or Snake Plisskin from “Escape from New York” or even turn Anna into a female icon like Ellen Ripley from “Alien.” I know that audiences will eat this up, I just want them to know it exists out there for them to see.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
I’d like this film to be a part of the argument in favor of practical make up effects. So many films now are going in the direction of full CGI or even performance capture to bring these otherworldly things to life.
I am not knocking those techniques in any way, but I believe there is value in keeping as many things real and practical in a film to sell the story in a believable way. If the beast in our film can be another great example of that type of approach, then I’d be more than happy with the conversation the ensues.
Would you like to add anything else?
Just that if you like a good scary monster movie you should check ours out. I promise it won’t disappoint.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Matt is currently working for the network Seeso as an editor. He is working on original programming for them in addition to promotional and marketing materials. Outside of that he has two feature scripts and a TV show of his own he is hoping to get off the ground soon. Jared would then return as composer for those projects, after he is done completing his next album, of course.