Interview with the filmmakers of THE PARANORMAL DIARIES: CLOPHILL

Today we have the pleasure of speaking to Michael Bartlett and Kevin Gates, the duo who brought us THE ZOMBIE DIARIES 1 & 2, and now THE PARANORMAL DIARIES: CLOPHILL, a documentary-style horror flick.

Paranormal-Diaries-Clophill-726x1024

(If you have not seen THE PARANORMAL DIARIES: CLOPHILL, check out my review here). Michael and Kevin were kind enough to answer a few questions about the movie for us.

1-Where did you get the idea for Clophill? Is it REALLY based on true events?

YES, THE EVENTS ARE WELL DOCUMENTED AND WE EVEN INTERVIEWED THE ORIGINAL EYEWITNESSES AND CITIZENS OF CLOPHILL. THE IDEA CAME FROM LOOKING AT OTHER FOUND FOOTAGE FILMS AND BEING DISSATISFIED WITH THE FACT THEY NEVER FELT REAL DUE TO THE ACTING. IT IS NOT SO EASY TO MAKE PERFECT PERFORMANCES, ESPECIALLY WHEN WORKING ON LOW BUDGETS WHERE YOU WON’T NECESSARILY HAVE ACCESS TO THE BEST ACTORS. WE FIGURED THE RIGHT APPROACH WAS TO MAKE AS MUCH OF IT LEGITIMATE AS POSSIBLE. WE WERE INSPIRED BY THE BBC SHOW ‘GHOST WATCH’ WHICH FOOLED RESIDENTS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM WITH A NARRATIVE SHOW THAT WAS MASKED AS A LIVE TV EVENT. WE WANTED TO TRY AND DO SOMETHING SIMILAR BUT, INSTEAD, HAVE NOBODY IN ON THE TRUTH THAT THIS WAS A REAL INVESTIGATION WHERE KEVIN AND I WERE GOING TO MISDIRECT THE “ACTORS” (SOME OF WHOM WERE JUST REGULAR PEOPLE). WE ADDED THE DOCUMENTARY ELEMENT IN TO FURTHER ENHANCE THE REALISM AND WORLD THAT THIS FILM OCCUPIES.

2-The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill is quite a bit removed from Zombie Diaries. What made you switch from zombies to supernatural terror?

WE ACTUALLY SHOT CLOPHILL BEFORE ZOMBIE DIARIES 2. KEVIN AND I WERE BECOMING FRUSTRATED WITH THE RED TAPE SURROUNDING THE FINANCING OF ZOMBIE DIARIES 2 SO WE DECIDED TO JUST GO BACK TO OUR ROOTS AND MAKE A FILM THAT DID NOT INVOLVE OTHER STAKEHOLDERS WHO COULD POTENTIALLY SLOW DOWN THE GREENLIGHT PROCESS. KEVIN AND I LOVE THE HORROR AND SUSPENSE GENRES AND I HAD BEEN A BIG ADVOCATE FOR STEERING AWAY FROM DOING A SECOND ZOMBIE DIARIES FILM, MAINLY AS I WAS CONCERNED THAT WE WOULD BECOME TYPE-CAST AS FILMMAKERS WHO ONLY MADE FILMS OF THAT GENRE. SINCE WE HAD NOBODY TO ANSWER TO IN TERMS OF DELIVERY, WE SPENT 3 YEARS ON FURTHER RESEARCH AND EDITING SO THE FINAL PRODUCT HAD OUR 100% SEAL OF APPROVAL (AS DID THE FIRST ZOMBIE DIARIES) BEFORE GOING INTO THE MARKET PLACE.

3-How has the film been received by those who are fans of Zombie Diaries?

IT IS TOUGH TO KNOW IF THE REVIEWS (BOTH GOOD AND BAD) THAT WE ARE GETTING ARE FROM FANS OR NOT. WE HAVE FRIENDS WHO LIKED THE ZOMBIE FLICKS THAT LIKED PARANORMAL AND ACTUALLY MANY OF THEM GREATLY PREFER CLOPHILL OVER TZD2 – A FILM THAT WAS PLAGUED WITH PROBLEMS FROM DAY 1. I THINK PEOPLE WHO ARE FANS OF THE WAY WE MAKE FILMS AND THE TONES OF OUR FILMS (LITTLE VERY COMEDY, VERY BLEAK) WILL ENJOY.

4-How do you respond to critics who say this is just another film trying to cash in on the found footage sub-genTIre of horror?

EVERY PROJECT THAT ONES MAKES IN THIS CLIMATE (ESPECIALLY NOW IN 2014 WITH THE DVD MARKET COLLAPSING) HAS TO BE CLEVERLY POSITIONED. IF BIRD FLU IS THE BIG TALKING POINT (AS IT WAS BACK IN 2005 WHEN WE MADE ZOMBIE DIARIES) THEN YOU ARE WISE TO INTEGRATE THAT. IF PARANORMAL ACTIVITY IS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL INDIE IN RECENT MEMORY AND YOU ARE MAKING A FILM AROUND THE TIME OF ITS RELEASE, YOU ARE WISE TO GIVE YOUR FILM PARANORMAL VIBES. I’M NOT SAYING YOUNG FILMMAKERS SHOULD BE COPY CATS. I WOULD ARGUE THAT THREE OF THE FILMS WE’VE MADE (ZOMBIE DIARIES 1, PARANORMAL DIARIES AND TREEHOUSE) BRING NEW AND FRESH IDEAS TO THE GENRE. I REALLY DESPISE A LACK OF ORIGINALITY AND IT STILL HAUNTS ME TO THIS DAY THAT I AGREED TO DIRECT ZOMBIE DIARIES 2 UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES I DID. BUT IF YOU ARE MAKING SOMETHING TRULY ORIGINAL JUST TRY AND THINK ABOUT HOW THE FILM WILL BE SOLD LATER. YOU ALWAYS KNOW A GOOD PITCH IF YOU CAN SEE THE POSTER AND TRAILER IN YOUR HEAD. AS FAR AS FOUNF FOOTAGE GOES, I DON’T CONSIDER IT A CASH IN. MAYBE THE DISTRIBUTORS AND SALES AGENT WILL CASH IN, BUT CERTAINLY NOT US WITH A NO-NAME FILM THAT TOOK 3 YEARS IN POST PRODUCTION AND KEVIN AND I WORKING FOR FREE. WE MADE THIS FILM BECAUSE WE WANTED TO DO SOMETHING ORIGINAL AND INSPIRED BY GHOST WATCH.

5-What’s next for you? Can we expect more horror?

KEVIN IS PREPPING A SECOND FILM IN THE PARANORMAL DIARIES FRANCHISE. I DIRECTED TREEHOUSE FOR STRONG OAK PICTURES AND THAT IS ABOUT TO HIT UK SHELVES THIS HALLOWEEN. AFTER THIS WE’D LIKE TO BRANCH OUT OF HORROR INTO OTHER THINGS. TREEHOUSE IS MORE OF A SUSPENSE THRILLER THAN A HORROR. IT’S MORE LIKE THE ORIGINAL DUTCH VERSION OF THE VANISHING. BUT RIGHT NOW, UNTIL VOD STABILIZES, HORROR IS THE BREAD AND BUTTER THAT WILL SEE US THROUGH THESE DIFFICULT TIMES.

Thanks so much, guys. It has been a pleasure.

THE ZOMBIE DIARIES, THE ZOMBIE DIARIES 2, and THE PARANORMAL DIARIES: CLOPHILL are all available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *