Filmmaker Richard Ledes and co-producer Lila Yomtoob are part of the team behind Rot & Decay Films and a new short, Haiti and Horror Movies. You can watch the six-minute video about the influence of Haitian culture on horror films after the jump.
In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Ledes explains in the video that he became conscious of a special connection to Haiti as a director about to make a horror movie. The director is talking bout his upcoming feature, Foreclosure, which tells the story of a broken family trying to stay together while a curse and the ghosts of a haunted house try to tear them apart. In Haiti and Horror Movies, Ledes details several films that have had a relationship to Haitian culture -- in particular, the reimagining (and often misrepresentation) of Voodoo. Ledes goes on to describe his amazement that the horror media was not discussing this subject and was shocked that the only person who was making the horror and Haiti connection was Televangelist Pat Robertson, who has been very vocal about making "demonic" connections to the Haitian people.
You can learn more about Ledes' new feature, Foreclosure, on the fim's official website. Hit the jump to watch the Haiti and Horror Movies short and read my recent interview with the director.
Interview with Richard Ledes
Though it's often hard because of my job, I try to avoid learning too much about a film before I see it, because more often than not it ruins some aspect of the moviegoing experience for me. Case in point -- Paranormal Activity. Many people who saw Paranormal Activity late in the game absolutely hated it. I can't say I blame them after one of the trailers gave away the biggest scare in the film and the hype surrounding it became so infectious, there was no avoiding it no matter how hard you tried.
Director Richard Ledes is playing it smart. He's only giving audiences a small taste of his latest film, Foreclosure. So far we know that the story surrounds a broken family trying to stay together while a curse and the ghosts of a haunted house try to tear them apart. "If [people] feel I leave them too much in the dark, please realize that is ultimately my intent," says Ledes about the film. "My goal is for them to feel the experience was worth it by the time final credits roll," he explains.
Ledes has been intriguing audiences since his first feature, A Hole in One, premiered at the Tribecca Film Festival in 2003. The New York City based filmmaker and writer has worked with some familiar names, including Oscar-nominee Michelle Williams, Frank Langella, Elliot Gould, Laura Harring and Meat Loaf. His film, The Caller, won the 'Made in New York' award at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ledes to find out a little bit more about his upcoming feature, Foreclosure. Visit the film's website for more information.
The marketplace is flooded with stories about the paranormal, hauntings and possessions. How does Foreclosure stand out in the crowd?
At its best, Horror puts us in touch with what is beyond our control and the sense that the repetition of our everyday experience is a thin sheet of ice through which we can fall at anytime. We are ambivalent about this possible loss of control and loss of our regular routines, at the same time craving it and dreading it. This is both a universal condition of our modernity and a unique one that inflicts each of us in a way just as particular as our worse nightmares. The trick is to capture both the universal and the particular in a well-told story brought to life by exceptional performances, a great score and sound design and great cinematography. This is what we are striving for. As the title Foreclosure suggests, we think our story is timely.
Is the film focused on the psychological/human response to the paranormal or is this just an out right ghost story?
For me personally the psychological response of the living to ghosts is what is fascinating. As the poet John Milton wrote:
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
Was the real estate market crisis an inspiration for the story?
Absolutely. Isolation is intrinsic to the sense of horror in the film. The isolation felt by the characters in our story is created through the effect of foreclosures on the neighborhood in which they live.
You show Caravaggio's The Sacrifice of Isaac in the teaser trailer. Is there a biblical element to the storyline?
The story of the father driven to kill his son, which has inspired such films as Kubrick's The Shining and Nicholas Ray's Bigger Than Life is key to my own film. It is fully appropriate that Kierkegaard named the book he wrote about the story Fear and Trembling. If we include the character of Huckleberry Finn barely escaping with his life from his father's drunken rage in Mark Twain's book by the same name, then we can start to see the way in which it is a story fundamental to American culture.
Who is the chilling voice in the teaser?
That is the voice of Bill Raymond, the actor who played the lobotomy doctor in my first film, A Hole In One. We are still working out scheduling buy my hope and expectation is that Bill will be part of the cast of Foreclosure.
What location are you shooting at? Will you be exploring any actual abandoned properties?
We're still looking at locations in various parts of the United States. Many of them are abandoned properties–often reclaimed under the radar of the banks or police.
You used a composition from Robert Miller for the teaser score. I really liked his score for Teeth–it was somewhat unexpected. Will he continue on for the film as well?
Robert Miller and I collaborated on my last film, The Caller. We had a great time and were both pleased by the results. We're looking forward to working together again.
Stay tuned for more details from Richard Ledes about Foreclosure, which is slated to begin shooting this month.