Other: Q&A with director Daniel DelPurgatorio
Director Daniel DelPurgatorio catches up with The Horror Hothouse’s Emma Knock in an exclusive interview to discuss his short film Other that has been wowing audiences at just about every independent film festival you’ve ever heard of!
Other, directed by Daniel DelPurgatorio, focuses on doctor Patrick (David Steiger) who has become obsessed with trying to cure himself of his life threatening disease through a series of strange and bizarre experiments. It is whilst he is carry out his unconventional research that he discovers a scientific loophole and now he runs the risk of losing everything to ensure that he sees this tests through to the very end.
Hi Daniel. We watched Other last night and absolutely loved it, but we’ll try not to give too much away. So, without further ado, can you give us a little background on Other?
Other is the first film that my company VITAMIN has done—and I have to say it was the single most rewarding experience of my career to date. I brought a rough idea to the group to see if anyone was interested in making an old school science fiction/horror film and everyone really got excited. The film allowed us to play in a lot of different areas which is something that we all really gravitated towards.
The story is really original, what was your inspiration?
I had the ending of Other sitting in the back of my brain for a little while, but it wasn’t until my wife and I got pregnant did I really start fleshing it out. Being this was going to be our first kid, it was also the first time that I was heavily exposed to the medical world for an extended period of time–and I was just fascinated by how the book it was. Everything was so formulaic and very close-minded. I think it was at this time did I really start diving into the story of Other. If you watch the film, we definitely riff on that whole world and it is what motivates our character to do the things he does.
How would you describe Other to people who haven’t yet seen it?
Other is horrific tale that explores a man’s will to live. The film is about a doctor who goes outside of modern medicine to try to cure himself of a deadly diagnosis. With only weeks left to lose, he finds himself pushing the limits of science to save himself—and along the way, things take an unexpected turn.
What steps did you go through to take this from ideation to creation?
Once, I got everyone on board and the team was assembled, everything really moved forward pretty fast. Our producer Larissa Shames set the schedule and that was the bible. If it wasn’t for her, there would be no film. The film took about 3 months to make from start to finish. It was about two months of pre-production, 2 days of shooting and a little less than a month for editing, sound/music, and color.
It seems that every, single film festival wants to screen Other and so far the film has won 15 awards, which is really impressive. How does it feel to have had such a positive reception?
It has been such an amazing ride so far. The response has been extremely overwhelming and very humbling. Never in a million years did we think our film would have received such positive response. It is always hard as a filmmaker, putting your work out there for the world to see. I think we are all just glad that we made something personal enough for people to relate to.
The special effects are fantastic –how did you create them?
The absolutely amazing Crystal Portillo and Kristin LeClair from Cirque du Face in Chicago. When writing the script, we knew there was going to be a ton of effects and I really wanted everything to be done in camera. I searched high and low and came across Crystal and Kristen’s work. I was completely blown away by their attention to detail and was stunned that they were located in Chicago. We reached out and sent them a rough outline of the film. Because we weren’t quite sure how we were going to pull off a couple of the effects, they did a test for us and the rest is history!
Once we moved into filming, we did lots of drawings and concept art. We created a detailed pre-pro book that had all the different stages of the effects. Crystal and Kristen used this as a guide to build off of. Every time our actor Dave would come out of make-up, I just couldn’t believe my eyes. They literally out did themselves every step of the way.
Likewise the machine prop and headset look great on film – what was your inspiration here?
Our main character is essentially a rogue doctor who ends up scavenging for parts. It was important that all the props that we built, machine and helmet included, had that hand-crafted feel. That was our main inspiration. Our artist Tony Legato did a ton of really awesome prop design early on during the scripting phase and he just kept refining stuff as we went along.
Throughout the film the only dialogue is delivered through a non-diegetic voiceover, which isn’t always the easiest way to carry a story – what was your inspiration behind using this method?
Well, our character is a loner and we knew early on that we wanted to have a small set with no other supporting roles. We used the idea of him documenting his work not only as a way to move the story forward, but as an element for him to interact with. The only person he talks to throughout the film is himself, so the recordings were essential to motivate his actions.
Did you take any pointers from pre-existing horror films during production?
Having seen a bunch of great films, horror, sci/fi and beyond, you are always sort of inspired by what other people have done, but it was also important during the making of Other not to pay too close attention to them. We wanted to go into the film with a fresh palette and not be tainted by things that we liked in other movies.
What are the next steps for Other?
Other has a few more film festivals for 2013 and a handful of screenings, but we are coming to a close on our run. We finally just put the movie up for sale on our website on DVD and BluRay and are also considering a few different digital platforms.
Do you have any plans to turn Other into a feature-length film?
Yeah, we are actually drafting a feature version of Other as we speak! We have some exciting news to announce soon, so look out for that!
Any future projects in the pipeline that we can look forward to?
We are almost done with the outline for our new short film which we hope to shoot mid-summer. It is quite different than Other in terms of scale, but will be a very nice follow-up. We are also starting conceptual design work for a short animated film. This one is going to take us a while and will run alongside a few of our other projects. Hopefully it will be complete by November or so. Lastly, we are in the stages of raising money for a feature length animated remake of an old 70s film. We have a few big names attached to voice the film, which is amazing! More details on that soon.
Are there any directors out there that have influenced your style/that you look up to?
Some of my favourites are Michele Gondry, David Cronenberg, Ken Russel, Sam Peckinpah, and David Lynch to name a few!
Is there anybody in the industry that you would love to work with?
I’d love to work with Michael Shannon one day. That dude is amazing.
Finally…what’s your favourite scary movie?
I’d have to say Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was the first film that I saw that made me want to make movies. Thank you Tobe!
Follow Other on Twitter: @OtherTheMovie
For more information visit the Other website: http://www.other-themovie.com