So I normally don’t double-post here, but this is too big not to keep it for tomorrow. I was able to talk to director Nick Hunt of the upcoming film Safe Place (2018) for a pre-production interview to discuss the new film.
Me: Hello and thanks for taking the time to do this. We’ll start off with your film ‘Safe Place.’ What is the film about?
Nick Hunt: SAFE PLACE is about five college students that attend a party (Nathaniel Matos, Yvelisse Cedrez, Nick Graffeo, Kat Kemmet, Timothy Noble) to celebrate their friend’s (Ashley Mary Nunes) successful art show opening. Their presence triggers memories of a traumatic event in the host’s (James Taylor) past, and he resolves to positively impact the course of their lives – by ending them.
Me: Where did the concept of the film come from? Were there any real-life stories from yourself or friends that helped shape the film?
NH: The films’ aesthetic is definitely inspired by some of the works of James Wan, including films like SAW & DEATH SENTENCE, more overall inspirations point to movies like the 2003 remake of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, FALLING DOWN, FRAILTY & many more. The film’s message is universal; You have to fight to stay alive in the world. This film will delve into the psyche of the everyman, the why behind the things we do & choices we make. The title and premise is a formality minuscule to the overall message and feel of the film. SAFE PLACE specifically came from the rationale, what if the place you thought was a safe haven wasn’t safe at all, and further was equally or even MORE dangerous? We all have an escape, but what if our escape wasn’t available anymore to us? Then we as humans are forced to go against the norms, against the barriers, and break through them. The mind and body is capable of wonders when properly motivated. I explore ALL that and more here with SAFE PLACE.
Me: Rue Morgue writers Preston Fassel and Penny Sublime are involved in the film. What were their contributions and how did they come on board the project?
NH: Preston & Pennie were brought about six months after SAFE PLACE’s announcement 18 months ago. They were brought on following some writer’s changes, and some personal issues I had with the original script I felt weren’t sitting right with the overall of the film. It was very honestly old-fashioned and needed a careful and detailed overhaul to really put into it the heart I wanted.
Me: As this was your film from the beginning, how did the pre-production of the film go? Where there any hurdles that had to be overcome?
NH: There are always hurdles in everything. The key is to overcome them and persevere. Not really a hurdle, it’s a given in the business but, the money part is a huge thing, asking people for money, offering incentives, the business side, never thought it was something I’m good at, but I’m finding I am. The rejection sometimes. We originally had a lot of issues with a realtor with the original main location for the house, some casting issues, people I had hoped for not being able to commit. Besides that some days I sacrificed eating to boost a post on Facebook, or did something equally. It’s hard out there when all you have is your passion, now I’m starting to see it’s not just MY passion, but others that are fueling this project as well.
Me: There’s a rather interesting casting process used for the film where no one auditioned for the film, they came aboard through word of mouth. How did that process come about, and why did you decide to settle on this process?
NH: How did you get the cast together for the movie? For this film I really sought out feedback from other filmmaking friends and looked for presence and positivity, people that popped, there was no auditioning; these people were mostly brought on sight unseen. I did that because I had a feeling about the group and I thought they personified who I was looking for in a genre that’s usually pretty cut and dry. We have a cameo appearance we shot with the “Mayor of Tromaville” Lloyd Kaufman who is, of course, is a legend in the business whom I simply reached out to through Facebook and wanted to be a part of SAFE PLACE almost immediately after hearing about it! My main actress is Ashley Mary Nunes (ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE, upcoming DEATH WARD 13) who is just kick ass and amazing, destined to be the next big scream queen; We have character actor James Taylor portraying Chris Craven our primary antagonist, and the rest of the cast is led by a group of young and up and coming talent half of which have had some success in the independent film world and others that our newer but certainly not strangers to it; the likes of Yvelisse Cedrez, Lara Jean Mummert, Jordan Phipps, Kat Kemmet, Timothy Noble, John Gettier, Nathaniel Matos, Wes Imlay, Rakeem Hunter, Nick Graffeo & more! I settled on it because I believe in the people, and I also believe that the audition process is EXTREMELY arduous and nerve-wracking for everyone. I don’t want nervous people auditioning for me, I want relaxed and a good atmosphere to get a wonderful and more natural performance out of them! The ONLY auditions I EVER did were for Lara Jean Mummert who plays Detective Denise Felton, the reason being I had had so much trouble finding this role and filling it successfully I was wanting to be naturally more careful, then I stumbled upon the AMAZING Lara and the rest was history.
Me: Now that the first trailer has arrived, is there any timeline for when the film will be available?
NH: The film shoots in November for a tentative 2nd quarter 2018 release, and just after the 1st quarter of 2018, we’ll be hitting all the press outlets, conventions, festivals getting out there with and around the fans!
Me: Lastly, do you have any other projects in the works that you’d like to share with us?
NH: Well there is ACTUALLY a top secret super project I’m working on, it’s an anthology horror film called WANDER TALES (look it up) it will involve some of the biggest horror filmmakers to step into the spotlight over the past 5 years or so, it will have more segments than the V/H/S/ series & less than the ABC’s of Death series, and EACH filmmaker will get his or her own COMPLETE artistic freedom to create their own segment. Who are the filmmakers? You’ll have to wait and see.
Me: Thank you for your time, and good luck in the future!
Official teaser trailer: