Bite: Pavane for a Vampire Queen – Interview with Filmmaker Kevin Jackson

The third of our films from May’s Vampiir Bitez evening is Bite: Pavane for a Vampire Queen. Kevin Jackson’s short invites us to a vampire dinner party,.all very civilised to begin with, but just wait to the main course arrives

bite_dinner party

Well that’s what a quick once-over of Jackson’s sumptuously photographed film might tell you, but there is far more to it than that as Kevin explained to the Hothouse:.

‘This will probably sound too good to be true, but I swear it is: the basic idea for Pavane – full title: Bite: Pavane for a Vampire Queen – came to me in a dream. The detail that might make this just a little more plausible is that I had been musing for a couple of weeks about what to shoot, and my unconscious duly obliged me with an answer. For me, one of the most potent aspect of the vampire mythos is that it is about loneliness. In my dream, I saw a beautiful, eternally youthful vampire queen who has outlived all the companions of her youth by centuries, and sits alone, aching for lost times. And in my dream I heard a few lines from a poem I have loved ever since I was a teenager – Robert Browning’s A Toccata of Gallupi’s, in which a modern-day narrator looks back wistfully at a long-dead Venice.

After that, it all fell into place pretty easily. The short film would begin and end with our mournful queen, recalling a vivid night from the eighteenth century; her voice would be heard reading the Browning poem. The main part of the film would jump back in time to a genteel vampire dinner, which would turn uglier and uglier as the blood flowed with the wine.

This was my first collaboration with the brilliant photographer Spike Geilinger. I knew that we would see eye to eye when I told him that I wanted the dinner scene to be lit like a Caravaggio. He whipped out his phone and showed me an image of Caravaggio’s Road to Emmaus. My other long-term collaborator and dear friend Colin Minchin not only edited the film, but wrote and performed the music and even appeared on-screen – he’s the one who looks like Frank Zappa. It was a wonderfully happy shoot, and though I see the film’s shortcomings, I remain very fond of it. I hope others will like it, too’

Well we certainly enjoyed it and we look forward to seeing more from Kevin in the future


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