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Interview with Director Scott Schirmer (Found)

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I recently had the opportunity to speak for a few minutes with Director Scott Schirmer (director of the wildly-anticipated horror movie Found), and not only discuss his start at the wee-age of 6, but his take on the negative reactions to the film's much-talked about ending. Read on for an enlightening look at a filmmaker who has his hands full (and bloody!) - Enjoy !

KR - Could you give the readers a little insight of how you got your start in the business?

SS - Well, The Empire Strikes Back came out in 1980 when I was 6 years old, and it was all downhill from there ! All through grade school and high school I made all kinds of media presentations, and finally got into video when I got my hands on an old VHS camcorder in high school. In college I dabbled with film enough to know that I didn't like film - it was too hard to deal with, so when DSLR cameras came out, I jumped on those, and that really rekindled my passion to try and make more movies. So Found was...I don't know, man..I read the book, fell in love with it really hardcore, contacted the author, and he was really gracious enough to let us make the movie based on the book...and I'm back in the saddle and ready to do more.

KR - How did you come to cast your two leads (Gavin Brown and Ethan Philbeck) - was it a long process, or did you see them once and know that they were the ones for the roles?

SS - We don't have a lot of casting resources here in Indiana, so I am fortunate to have a friend (Sheila Butler), who has been heavily involved in childrens' community theater here for 15-20 years, I think. So I went to her and she was able to help us with a couple of target auditions with families that she knew would be receptive to the content in this movie, because if we did the "cattle-call" auditions, it would have been a nightmare due to the content. So she got us Gavin, and she also got us some other children, while Ethan was in a production of My Fair Lady in town, that our effects artist (Arthur Cullipher) was doing lights for - so he met Ethan, and recommended him. Ethan was actually a last-minute replacement, because we had cast another young man in the role, and even though he was of age, his family kept pressuring him to NOT do the movie, so he dropped out 2 days before shooting, and that was a nightmare. So Ethan was really a gift from the movie gods, if you asked me.

KR - A lot of people have been discussing the shocking ending of the film itself - have you caught any backlash as a result, or is it just par for the course?

SS - I haven't really caught any backlash from the ending - I know a lot of people don't like the ending, and those people feel as if the ending comes out of left field - they feel as if the movie is very subtle up until that point, and then whyen we pull out the shock and gore, it doesn't hit a right note for them. In my opinion, the book's opening line is "My brother keeps a human head in his closet", and that can only end catastrophically, and I feel like we would have lost a lot more viewers if we'd deflated that ending and gave anything less - it was always going to be a horror film, and some people are like "this isn't a horror film!" - oh, but it is - the horror is isolated to a few different parts.

KR - Now, the movie within the Headless something that's on the horizon?

SS - Yes it is - we're location scouting and casting right now, and we begin shooting in October, and we're hoping to jump on the festival-circuit with it in February 2015.

KR - Have you always been a horror fan, or would you like to branch out to other genres?

SS - I love all types of movies, and I can't say that I want to do horror movies forever, but horror is a real good fit for me right now - I hated horror movies growing the time all there was to see was Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers, and I didn't see the right kind of horror movies until I got into college, when a couple of friends of mine introduced me to Evil Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and some foreign stuff, and it was there that I fell in love with the potential that the genre had. I'm with horror right now, and for the foreseeable future, but I can't make any promises...hell, I might have a western or a musical in me.

KR - So besides Headless, what else can we expect to see from you in the future?

SS - I have about five projects that are in development and pre-production right now - I'm hoping to direct my next one in the Spring, and it's going to be more of a fun "buddy-horror" movie, and Todd Rigney (author of Found) and I are working on a couple of projects - one is a horror anthology, and the other is a really dark and disturbing thing - I can't say a whole lot right now, but I can say it will be dark and disturbing and more along the lines of Found, I hope.

KR - Scott, thanks very much for the time - best of luck with the release of Found, and we all are looking forward to your future projects.

SS - Thanks, I appreciate any opportunity to talk about the movie and get the word out - thanks very much !

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Updated 08-09-2014 at 03:37 AM by bronxtko