Friday 7 December 2012

Interview: James Cullen Bressack, writer and director

Today we´re speaking with James Cullen Bressack, the writer and director behind My Pure Joy (2011) and Hate Crime (2012). In My Pure Joy the main character Adam appears to be a normal teenager on the outside, but underneath...his mind has been so rotted by trauma from his past and the gory films he watches, that he has blurred the lines between reality and pretend! Hate Crime is a remorseless modern day Home Invasion/terror flick shot PoV, it´s a truly unsettling film that push the envelope and is not for the squeamish.

JL: How did you get into film making?
JCB: I guess it was just a natural transition really. I had been around the business my entire life, both parents being showbiz vets, and I happened to develop a love for film. I wanted to be a storyteller of sorts and so as soon as I had access to a camera I picked one up and started making short films, of which I made MANY. I actually made short films sometimes as school projects instead of actually doing the assignment. We were suppose to do a written report about the solar system? I made a short film parody of Mission Impossible where the villian stole the moon. Needless to say my teachers hated me, but I always had a one track mind.

JL: What are some of your favorite films?.
JCB: There are far too many to list so I’ve developed a system. I have one all time favorite film, all the other films I consider my favorites are in no particular order. My all time Favorite film is OLDBOY.

JL: Who are some of your influences?
JCB: Miikie, Chan wook Park, Kubrik, Hennelotter, Eli Roth, Joon Ho Bong, Robert Rodrieguz, and of course Quentin Tarentino.

JL: Which films inspired you in the creation of My Pure Joy?
JCB: My Pure Joy is a very heavily inspired film, I don’t think there is a moment in that film that isn’t heavily influenced by some obscure horror obsession I have. This being said, the movie is really inspired by my love for horror films in general rather then a particular film. Horror films and my life inspired this one.

JL: What kind of budget were you working with on My Pure Joy?
JCB: An embarrassingly low number that if I told anyone my producer would kill me in my sleep

JL: Which films inspired you in the creation of Hate Crime?
JCB: Hate Crime wasn’t inspired by any films but yet a primal fear I have and what I saw going on in the world. One of my top 5 biggest fears has always been HOME INVASIONS, so it felt like a natural thing to expose others to my own fears. I also had witnessed so much hate and prejudice and violence in the world I felt like it was my responsibility to shed light on that.

JL: What kind of budget were you working with on Hate Crime?
JCB: A bigger budget then My Pure Joy however again, my producer would kill me in my sleep if I said anything.

JL: How did you raise the funds?
JCB: I was lucky enough to have an amazing producer on both projects, Jarret Cohen, that believed in both me and the films themselves so much so that he fully funded bot projects out of his own pocket.

JL: How did the shooting go for My Pure Joy and Hate Crime?
JCB: My Pure Joy was a little rocky at times, because it was my first feature but overall it went smooth. As for Hate Crime I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing cast, crew, and experience, it was such a smooth process and everything worked so well.

JL: How was it working on My Pure Joy and Hate Crime?
JCB: It was a dream come true. Making feature films has been my life long dream.

JL: How different are the final versions from earlier drafts?
JCB: Hate Crime is pretty much the same in the final version but My Pure Joy actually believe it or not has 15 minutes shaved off of it!

JL: What lessons did you learn while making respective film?
JCB: I learned so much of what not to do when making My Pure Joy that I didn’t do any of those mistakes in Hate Crime. Everytime I make a film I learn so much that it helps me so much for my next film.

JL: What advice can you give someone looking to get into the industry?
JCB: Write a script that tailors to the budget you can get, even if thats only the $20 that you found under your mattress, and make a short or a feature. Jut go out there and do it. Make the best thing you can possibly make. Every time you make a film you learn from it and grow. Keep growing!

JL: Were there any scenes that didn´t make it to the final films?
JCB: Everything made it into Hate Crime, but My Pure Joy is missing 3 scenes that didnt make the final cut as well as some extra dialogue in the stoner scenes.

JL: My Pure Joy is widely available on DVD (it´s been released by Media Blasters) but can we find Hate Crime anywhere?
JCB: I will have release info on Hate Crime very very soon!

JL: So where do you see yourself heading?
JCB: Hopefully to another film set to make another film

JL: Are there any more films in your future, is there anything currently in the works for you?
JCB: In January I will be shooting THE NEW NEIGHBOR, in virginia, a film I was hired to direct.
After that in march I will be shooting a film called PERNICIOUS which I wrote with Taryn Hillin and will be directing in THAILAND.

I´d like to thank James Cullen Bressack for taking the time to answering my questions.


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