FAMILIAR is the latest short film by FatalPictures and it has been getting a lot of buzz. I got a chance to watch it the other day and found the short to have a clever concept and the production quality was very good. I wanted to find out what goes into producing a short film so I contacted FAMILIAR's producer ZachGreen and here is what we learned. Read the interview here.
I implore you to give Familiar a watch. Investors, take note: give these guys even one million, and I’m certain that the feature they put out will outshine most, if not all of what is currently stinking up the box office today. Familiar was Written and Directed by RichardPowell, Produced by Zach Green for Fatal Pictures, Michael Jari Davidson was Co-Producer and Cinematographer, Special Makeup Effects by Ryan Louagie, Carlos Henriques, and Steven Dawley (aka The Butcher Shop).
Read full review here.
Exclusive Interview with FAMILIAR Writer/Director Richard Powell
More Horror'sJason Lees recently had a chance to do a Q&A with FAMILIAR writer/director Richard Powell. Check out the interview below as well as some exclusive stills taken on the set. Read the full interview here.
Written and Directed by Richard Powell, Familiar (2012) is one of the few short films I’ve seen this year that matches any professional production on the market.
“Familiar” sets its ground in horror but also pays tribute to past films like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. What works most of all, is that we sense a dark future ahead without truly knowing what it will be. My first thoughts would assume some kind of “man goes berserk and kills the family”…but “Familiar” tackles a more interesting turn and leaves us on a much more satisfied note.
A great piece that echoes brilliance. Read full review here.
'FAMILIAR' is a Official Selection @ A Night of Horror Film Festival 2012
This year A Night of Horror has combined with Fantastic Planet Film Festival to bring you the most incredible genre film program that Sydney has ever seen! Running from March 22 to April 1 at Dendy Cinema Newtown, your tender eyes will be overwhelmed by an amazing array of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, Asian, and cult cinema. And never fear horror fans, there's just as much terror, blood and gore as you've come to expect from Australia's leading horror film event.
Writer and director Richard Powell is the up-and-coming filmmaker behind the short films Consumption, Worm and now Familiar. Together with producer Zach Green he runs and makes films for Fatal Pictures. His films explore the nature of the mind, mixing real dramatic situations with elements of horror. We got the lowdown on this inspiring talent for young filmmakers, his thoughts on Familiar and his plans for the future.
As the 2012 horror film-festival circuit starts to build momentum, there’s an Indie Film production company called Fatal Pictures, comprised of writer/director Richard Powell and producer Zach Green. Their style is a mix of dark drama and sheer fright that tends to deal with the horrors inside ourselves rather than the world around us. They are 2 people you should definitely watch out for! This dynamic duo made their first short, CONSUMPTION, in 2008, and more recently completed WORM (2010) and FAMILIAR (2012), both starring Robert Nolan. WORM has been out a little while now, screening at events like The Sydney Underground Film Festival, Dark Bridges Film Festival, and The Horror Society Film Fest, but expect more play around the country this year, along with FAMILIAR.
The film is basically broken into two sections: The first half has a similar structure to WORM, where we hear what’s going on in John’s mind. As a storyteller, Mr. Powell has done damn fine work here as it's not an easy feat to give viewers 24 minutes of a voice over and not have it become tedious. But in Familiar, it works well... due to Powell's script and partially to the stellar performance by leading man Robert Nolan, whose passive and restrained performance is downright perfection and evokes an uneasy atmosphere from frame one that never waivers. Read full review here.
So just when you think you know exactly where John's story is going to play out in Familiar, Powell flips everything on its side and delivers a third act that would no doubt have David Cronenberg and Frank Henenlotter high-fiving each other in a theater if this were playing on a big screen (and to say anything beyond that would be a disservice to Powell's story). As a storyteller, Powell has done damn fine work here as it's not an easy feat to give viewers 24 minutes of a voiceover and not have it become tedious. But in Familiar the VO works- partially due to Powell's script and partially due to the stellar performance by leading man Nolan, whose passive and restrained performance is downright perfection and evokes an uneasy atmosphere from frame one that never waivers. I'd love to see more from both Powell and Nolan in the future.
Though I’m stuck in Chicago, Torontoans (is that a term?) have something to look forward to at the beginning of March. On Friday, March 2nd, 2012, FRIGHT NIGHTS AT THE PROJECTION BOOTH will present a rare theatrical showing of the director’s cut of BATTLE ROYALE along with the world premiere of the new short film FAMILIAR from Fatal Pictures. I reviewed FAMILIAR not too long ago here. Find out more about this very cool event here.
A very special thank you to Scott Shoyer at AnythingHorror.com
In FAMILIAR, which has a run time of 24 minutes, we see the daily routine of John Dodd. Let me stop right here and point something out. In Powell’s 2010 short, WORM, the main character was Geoffrey Dodd (both characters played by Robert Nolan). Coincidence? To find out I emailed executive producer Zach Green this question and he assured me that these are two separate shorts but that the main characters in both are brothers. Geoffrey and John seem to suffer from the same malaise: A negative, violent inner voice that seems to guide their very actions. Maybe this is a subtle way of Powell examining how mental illness runs in families, but there could be something else more sinister going on here. Whereas in WORM we follow Geoffrey in his daily routine at work, FAMILIAR follows John in his daily home life. We see his interactions with his wife Charlotte (Astrida Auza) and teenage daughter Jordan (Cathryn Hostick). He’s estranged from both and always keeps them at arms length, almost like he doesn’t want them to ‘know’ the real him. Read full review here.
Independent what? Naw. This just HAS to be HollyWood.
Now. I'm not to be easily impressed but this damn short film looks fantastic! When you say Independent versus HollyWood we all have visions of what one looks like compared to the other. And the visual style and editing of this film not only blurs that line, but almost erases it completely. It's all here. The smooth panning shots right down to the 'I can't tell where the edits are' edits. The only way to do it any justice is to watch it when you can. It looks great. What's more? The slow dread that begins to build up as you watch is done so perfectly! You may call it atmosphere but I call it damn good writing. And considering the limited settings in the film my previous statement is a bigger compliment. The acting is superb. Something I've come to expect from Mr. Nolan. I do think that he's outdone himself this time though. The narration he gives during the movie itself is really quite amazing. The supporting cast are no slouches either. Doing a fantastic job in their roles and completely destroying the 'Cheese' factor. What the viewer sees from them is a normal family. Excellent! Read full review here.
I can't deny it - this is the best short film I have watched in a very, very long time. It's nothing short of amazing in almost every sense. It's a visually amazing film in all it's HD glory - the cinematography is spot on and the effects are gruesome. The story is perfectly told - slowly growing from a dark psychological thriller into something we never expected, a messy body horror. Producer Zach Green said with confidence that I wouldn't be disappointed and that's proof of people knowing what they are doing. The team knows how good this film is, and that's not smugness - "Familiar" is brilliant.
If you could peek into the mind of a family man, what would you expect to find? Contentment? Pride? Unconditional love? Say you were granted the ability to do just that, to peel back the layers, to experience unfiltered thought exposed at the root. Would you be scared by what you might find? It's a scary proposition if you ponder the ramifications. Polite behavior experienced on the surface might be masking some truly wicked, ugly thoughts within people you encounter on a daily basis. Some of them might be your co-workers. Others might be your friends and family. What's really going on in their heads as they sit down to a family meal? What misanthropic tendencies lie hidden behind the small talk and forced smiles? On the flipside, what if it was your own thoughts being broadcast to your neighbors? What horrible, seething presence might others find lurking in you. Read full review here.
“WORM” AND “FAMILIAR”: TWO FATAL SHORTS(FILM REVIEWS)
As the horror film-festival circuit starts to ramp up for 2012, there’s a filmmaking team called Fatal Pictures, made up of producer/director Richard Powell and producer Zach Green, to watch out for. Their style is a mix of dark drama and fright that tends to deal with the horrors inside ourselves rather than the world around us. The duo made their first short, CONSUMPTION, in 2008, and more recently completed WORM and FAMILIAR, both starring Robert Nolan. WORM has been out a little while now, screening at events like The SydneyUnderground Film Festival, Dark Bridges Film Festival, and The Horror Society Film Festival, but expect more play around the country this year, along with FAMILIAR. Read both reviews here.
From producer Zach Green and writer/director Richard Powell, the duo responsible for the darkly comical genre short “Worm”, comes the wickedly enjoyable short “Familiar”, a film that owes as much to the body horror of David Cronenberg as it does the outrageousness of Frank Henenlotter. It’s my favorite kind of horror flick: The movie takes an inherently silly premise and treats it very seriously. The end result is nothing sort of brilliant, and cements Fatal Pictures as one of the most daring genre outlets currently in operation. I sincerely hope that these guys put together a full-length feature in the future, as they I think they could definitely pull it off with very little effort. What these guys accomplish on a miniscule budget is nothing short of impressive. Read full review here.
Knifed in Venice review's "FAMILIAR" & Interview with
Writer/Director Richard Powell
In 2008 Richard Powell and producer Zach Green delivered their atmospheric horror Consumption which deals with the unique and difficult subject of voluntary cannibalism. Two years later they offer up the first half of the disturbed Dodd brothers (Geoffrey) played by Robert Nolan who is a gentle and quiet high school teacher with something dark and malevolent rotting inside of him. Familiar sees Geoffrey’s brother John (also played by Robert Nolan) as he survives a suburban existence with wife Charlotte (Auza) and daughter Jordan (Hostick) which he has come to detest. With an increasingly forceful voice inside his head demanding he breaks free from this life he slowly comes to suspect that the voice is not his own. It’s only after a series of traumatic events at home that John comes face to face with his conflict. Read full review here.
Getting Familiar - An Interview with Director Richard Powell
When it comes to the horror genre there's as many ditches as peaks on the cinematic landscape. It's the marriage of supernatural and humanistic themes that create the most iconic film offerings that stand the test of time because they've been able to tap into an instinctive, evolutionary, fear that lives within us as a species. Over the past three years Richard Powell has documented the underlying darkness that lives in the souls of man with Consumption, Worm and now Familiar and has breathed fresh life and intelligence into a genre that has become increasingly obsessed with gratuitous imagery over any actual narrative. I've been fortunate to be able to pick the brains of the man who is making all the right moves in cinema.
'Familiar' (Richard Powell 2011) - Short Film Review
What can you really accomplish in 24 minutes? Really, there’s not much. You can make some breakfast, maybe, or possibly get started on some errands, but you’re not going to get much done. And you’re not going to wind up ahead when the time’s up. But if you decide to put in Richard Powell’s Familiar you’re going to accomplish one thing for sure. You’re going to get creeped the hell out. Familiar is the latest short from Fatal Pictures written and directed by Powell. In it, we follow Robert Nolan as John Dodd as he goes about his very mundane life. We get to see inside his world via an almost melodic voice over that is warm enough to be inviting but also acerbic enough to keep us on edge. We see Dodd as he eats with his family, and watch as he expects their every move. It’s not a life all that different than any of ours, at least not until his wife gives him news that pretty much ruins his plans for a happily ever after. The news is too much for our mild mannered main attraction, and Dodd does what he feels he has to. That’s when Familiar realizes that you have it all figured out. You know where it’s going, and you get a bit complacent as the jaded viewer who’s seen it all. Read full review here.
The team at Fatal Pictures consisting of writer/director Richard Powell, producer Zach Green, and actor Robert Nolan came to us with a previous endeavor of theirs’ known as Worm. Worm got to me. I was genuinely intrigued by the up and down emotional trek it took me on. I would liken their previous film to that of a Fugazi song with its build up, drop off, build up, etc. Naturally, after being contacted by producer Zach Green about the next chapter in this team’s history, it stirred up curiosity wondering what they could’ve concocted this time around. Worm took the route of punishing the mind. My assumption was that Familiar would take a similar route. I was half right… Read full review here.
When FATAL PICTURES' partner/producer Zach Green informed me that he, Director Richard Powell, and actor Robert Nolan had another short film for me to take a look at, I was thrilled to pieces. Their last endeavor: WORM, truly fractured my psyche. Not only was it emotionally taxing, but it also played heavily on thoughts and feelings many of us often toy with, but never act upon. Being a family man myself, I was a bit nervous knowing that FAMILIAR's narrative existed in a world I have been fully immersed in for the better part of 10 years. Thankfully I can say with complete honesty that I've never entertained the types of fantasies our central character laments throughout the film's run time. However, the writer/producer/director team once again dabble quite aggressively in the recesses of a guy's mind who's pretty much "had it." Not just had it with his own life, but with the lives of those around him. Read full review here.
The Year That Was... (2011)
Before we dive into the year that was 2011, I wanted to remind everyone of my top 10 list from 2010. Once you've refreshed your memory with those fine films, you will find my 5 favorite short films as well as my 15 favorite feature films (of 2011). Be sure to keep your eyes open for the next episode of THE CONDUIT SPEAKS PODCAST where I will be going into detail regarding my picks as well as discussing more films that just missed the cut. ENJOY!!!