When I talk about supporting indie horror on this website, I mean it. I am pretty much willing to help anyone. I do this by writing for any director or musicician that wants to send me a DVD screener or CD. CineCoup is a Canadian film group that supports filmmakers in a huge way. They are, in fact, responsible for funding one of my favorite horror films of the last five years, Wolf Cop. What follows is a brief description of the CineCoup contest, from their own website. It is followed by an interview and film preview for a film that looks very promising in this year’s contest.
What is CineCoup?
We make the movies fans want to see, by asking you which ideas you like the best. Our model brings talented filmmakers into the public eye and challenges them to build an audience before the cameras even start rolling!
What Does CineCoup Want?
We want genre projects and we know Canada’s got the good stuff so bring it on! We’re talkin’ SCI-FI, HORROR, ACTION, THRILLER, COMEDY, or documentaries that deal with similar themes (ie. King of Kong, Indie Game: The Movie, Trekkies, etc.)
Filmmaking teams start by submitting a movie trailer. Over 12 weeks they advance through CineCoup’s social web platform and in the end we option (up to) 10 projects and greenlit one for production with (up to) $1 Million in production financing and a release in Cineplex Theatres! #BeBrave
The following interview was conducted over e-mail with Shaine Jones, the director of Black Land. We talk about the filming process, marketing, influential filmmakers, and the importance of supporting indie horror. Follow the CineCoup link at the end of the interview to check out Shaine’s trailer, as well as other contest entries.
Deaducated: What is the first film you saw that made you want to go into filmmaking?
Shaine Jones: There are so many cool movies that have reinforced my drive to be a filmmaker but I think the first was “Return of the Jedi”. I was so young and wanted to be a part of it. I don’t think I knew how that would unfold but I knew I would live in that world of filmmaking.
Deaducated: Who is your favorite horror film director? How have they influenced your work?
Shaine Jones: He is not strictly a horror film director but Steven Spielberg has made some of my all time favourite scary movies. Jaws managed to incite fear in everyone by building suspense in a confined area without showing much more than a fin. Jurassic Park, on the other hand, showed dinosaurs a great deal by blending on site puppets and animatronics but the same rules apply. Both are monster movies that have great characters fighting for their lives while stuck in confined spaces. The other thing I like about these is that Spielberg is using actual animatronic monsters rather than solely using CGI. I feel like it makes a difference in the performances and ultimately for the viewer’s experience. Jaws still hold up today!
Deaducated: Who are some other writers, directors, etc. that have influenced your work?
Shaine Jones: I love Stephen King’s work, I’ve pretty much read all of his books. He is a master at building characters and he always writes the scariest monsters and has an ability to make anything scary. David Fincher weaves social commentary with captivating characters and the look of his films are beautiful. Roman Polanski is great with suspense and all things creepy. John Carpenter, The Thing, I mean what more can I say.
Deaducated: How did you come up with the idea for Black Land?
Shaine Jones: Black Land came out of my fascination for nature. I grew up hiking, exploring and fishing. I spent so much of my time in the woods and I was taught at a young age the importance of appreciating nature and treating it with respect. The isolation of a forest is beautiful and terrifying. The second you get lost out there it goes from a great inspirational place to a suffocating nightmare with no apparent way out. That happened to me when I was a teenager and man it freaked me out! That experience stayed with me, and it grew into an idea for a movie. I’ve also always been fascinated by the stories that there is a monster residing in the mountains of BC. I thought being lost in the woods is freaky enough, now imagine on top of it that you are being hunted down by an unrelenting beast!
Deaducated: How long has Black Land taken to create from prewriting to now?
Shaine Jones: I thought of this idea long before CineCoup and had worked out the general concept and some details. I brought the idea to Adam and we began working on a script a few months prior. When we saw CineCoup was back doing another film accelerator we thought it was the perfect avenue for Black Land and the requirement of a full script gave us the incentive to complete it. Adam and I worked on it throughout the CineCoup process and later another team member, Nick Marley, contributed to the writing process.
Deaducated: Social media has a huge influence on marketing today. Describe your marketing strategy.
Shaine Jones: The great thing about CineCoup is that their mission is to help filmmakers become entrepreneurs. All of the challenges each week are directly related to what it takes to get a movie made today. Social media is a huge part of this process and building a fan base was fundamental in getting to the top 15. We couldn’t have done that without social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. As we progressed through the contest we realized how important having a marketing strategy was and that it was outside of our expertise so we hired a publicist. We still run our Facebook and Twitter but they have helped us obtain interviews and a larger audience.
Deaducated: The trailer has some great wilderness shots, where did you shoot the film? How did you
go about finding locations in which to shoot?
Shaine Jones: Our Black Land trailer and all of the other videos where you find us out in the woods were shot just outside of Vancouver BC on the north shore in a beautiful area called Lynn Canyon. It’s a great area to spend the day hiking and exploring. I frequently hike in this area and have explored most of it, so when we shot our trailer and other videos I knew exactly what we needed and where we could find it for the shoot.
Deaducated: Is there any deeper social commentary involved in your film that you want to address? It
seems as if environmental concerns may be a part of it.
Shaine Jones: I care a great deal about the environment and am concerned about protecting it, and we wanted to touch on that. As I said earlier, it is set in beautiful BC and these are relevant issues here and gave us a great way to set the scene. However, we are not actually dealing with or commenting on these issues. We take it as far as making a metaphor that there are repercussions to big oil companies pushing their way onto sacred land but this is a horror monster movie. We are ultimately trying to show there are consequences for every action. Our Beast is that consequence.
Deaducated: Wolf Cop won last year and it is developing quite a following. As a horror/comedy, it is
one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. What did you think of Wolf Cop?
I loved WolfCop! I think they attained the perfect balance of horror and comedy. Those guys worked their butts off on that movie and their efforts payed off with a cult film that has legions of WolfCop fans and now they are in preproduction on WolfCop 2!
Deaducated: If your film won, and you had the opportunity to award some of CineCoup’s money to
second place, which of your competitor’s films would you have them fund and why?
Shaine Jones: Well the great thing with the Cinecoup Accelerator is that they say they will option a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 10 scripts. So second, third, fourth and fifth have a really great shot at getting made which saves me from having to choose just one. I feel several of them deserve to be funded and would contribute to the Canadian film landscape.
Support the CineCoup project by watching some trailers and learning about the films of Shaine and his competitors at the CineCoup website.