5 questions with After Hours director, Giuseppe Abba at the half-way mark.
Friday, August 4th, 2017
1Hi Giuseppe! Thanks for being a part of our festival. First, what was the initial seed that inspired you to make After Hours? Initially, this film was made as my end-of-year project for my college course, which I graduated from last year.
It took everything I'd learned on the 2-year course, and culminated it into one film. It took months of preparation and work, using every skill and technique I've learned in my near decade as a filmmaker.
Making this film helped shape me as a filmmaker, and the fact that's it still successful outside of college, a year after it was made, is a testament to all the hard work paying off.
2The film's got a pretty great ending. How important is an ending to you? An ending is the last thing an audience sees. It's the last impression you leave them with, so as a filmmaker, it's your responsibility to make it great. Whether it's sad, fulfilling, mind-blowing or mysterious, as this film's is, it has to have an impact.
Choosing the right ending for this film was extremely important, and the decision to leave it somewhat open ended was as much a gamble as it was a success; The film is very abstract, so a more solid, definite end might have worked, but I wanted to play around with the idea of a never-ending cycle, and characters that are caught in some sort of horrific loop, doomed to repeat forever.
An open-ended film also leaves more up to the audience's imagination, allowing them to speculate, and talk about the film even after it's finished.
So yes, and ending is very important to me.
3The film is shot in black and white and has a great film-noir feel. How difficult was it to accomplish that look and what was the biggest challenge? By far the biggest challenge in terms of the look of the film, was how to light it.
I did about 3 months of research before shooting; watching various noir films, seeing how different directors played with light, taking techniques from films such as The Third Man and Delicatessen, and applying them to my own screen tests.
The inspiration for this film actually came from the opening scene of 2005's Casino Royale - many of my shots and lighting choices were made as a homage to that scene - and the film itself plays out as more of a scene, rather than a complete movie. As such, it was imperative for me that the lighting was as good as it could be - this meant hours of screen tests - exaggerating shadows to make movements bigger, highlighting certain features of a character, lighting a location in such a way that it seemed intimidating, etc.
The most difficult part came when the actors have to run through the corridor. I knew I wanted this to be all one shot, and so we had to work out how to hide the lights, without sacrificing the look of the film. In the end, we came up with a rather unsafe solution, involving a runner holding a very hot light, and the actors diving past it.
4Can you share a war story from the shoot? Amazingly, this was, and still is, the easiest, most relaxed shoot I have ever done.
The location was easy to get hold of (And free), we did so much pre-production the fight scenes were a breeze, I was lucky enough with my choice of cast and crew that everyone was perfectly competent and more than capable of making the shoot run smoothly. In fact, everything went so well it was unnerving; Something always goes wrong on a film set, no matter who you are or who you're working with. But for some strange reason, the worst thing that happened over the 3 shoot days of After Hours, was my boom operator having an allergic reaction to almonds.
5What's next? Since making this film, I've been making promotional videos for various companies, as it's now my full time job. Which of course is brilliant; I'm being paid to make short films - it's a dream come true.
However, it's been almost a year since I made a short film like After Hours - one that's started as an idea and has blossomed into a story on screen - Making fiction films is what I love most in the world, and sadly, I've had to sacrifice that love for work in the last year.
However, this hasn't stopped me writing; I have many scripts just waiting to be made, and in September, I'm planning to let them loose.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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