• Martyn Wakefield

Chris Lofting and Travis Cluff (INTERVIEW)

Chris Lofting and Travis Cluff are no novices to horror. Their standout breakthrough THE GALLOWS quickly garnered a sequel and now they return with home invasion thriller HELD but this is no by-the-book movie as they go on to explain.

So guys, thank you very much for joining us at BloodGuts to talk about your new film HELD and having just watched it have to say, it's a fantastically original new horror film for audience to enjoy. So, first of all, just to say a huge well done in actually bringing some originality into the genre.


Chris:

Thank you very much. I think every filmmaker strives for that and we definitely strive for that. But it is hard when you know like you know it didn't Ed Sheeran. Just say hey man, he just won this case and you got to give us a break because there's only 12 notes, you know, we're all gonna run into the same, you know, progressions from time to time.


The same thing with films, you know, they say Hollywood or studios are good at making at remaking, the same old stuff essentially and we try to shake it up now pretty easy to fantastically do a job of doing that.


I read many years ago, Shakespeare pretty much nailed everything but having watched many, many horror films, I think there's always room for something more. How did HELD come about, I'll talk a bit more about the some spoiler-free plot points, but how did that journey begin?


Chris:

Like the idea of how come about it is pretty interesting, actually, kind of a lucky happening. We, well, Travis had actually noticed someone right outside our window here.


Travis

Outside our, in our neighbourhood walking their dog. Someone he didn't recognize thought it was a new neighbour, perhaps, just trying to be friendly. And so I just went up and said, hi, are we neighbours and turns out? She was visiting her sister who is our neighbor, but she was visiting from LA and she's an actress, and she was like, oh, I'm an actress in LA just visiting my sister like, oh cool.


What do you do? And you know, what have you been in? And she's like, how about you? I said, well, I produce and direct and right films with my business partner, Chris here, and which is actually a little bit more rare where we are. We're not in Los Angeles. We're kind of outside of that area, so running into people who are doing movie stuff, is pretty rare. Yeah, it's ever happens anyway. We're in Central California. So that was odd and I thought, well, that's interesting, and she said she'd been wanting to write some things and she directed a short film.


And I said, well, I'd love to see it and see if there's any collab and we could do. And and from there, we spend about eight months, I'd say developing this idea and the script with Jill and and it came to a point where like, all right let's let's go for it.



And you mentioned there, obviously Jill who obviously she's pretty much the main part within HELD and does a fantastic job of portraying that marriage counselling session. An extreme marriage counseling.


Travis:

That's right, that's right. Jigsaws marriage


Yeah, that should be the tag line now. That's fantastic. So yeah, I mean obviously the film does delve into certain kind of some grounded real issues on that broken down marriage, is there any further inspiration that came?


Chris:

You know, that inspired that kind of plot point for this. Well, at the time when Jill started developing kind of the core idea, the heart, the all the Harvey Weinstein stuff was really starting to come out and it was really, you know, in the news all the time. And and so I think she drew a lot of inspiration from that as well as her own past trauma that she's she's talked about and friends and just people she's worth in the industry, you know, support groups and other women filmmakers. And so she just, she had a pretty good arsenal of experiences to kind of draw from in this. And really, really tried to portray that on screen as best she could, in an honest way and it meant a lot to her to Jill and to us as well at, as, as the directors of this, which he kind of handed this material off, you know?


And if you go even deeper than that, you know, she feels and like many particularly women. Feel like they aren't really given a shot. You know what I mean? Like we've talked to other producers and it's like, you know, they're more into like finding that name that big name of, you know, who's like the Michelle Pfeiffer's or the you know, these big name women to be and things.


It's like you know what? We wanted to put our money where our mouth was to give a shot to a new upcoming people and let them have a voice too. Not just because there's some big celebrity they already but to maybe give them a shot as we were given a shot with some of our original films.


Travis:

You know the gallows that kind of helped to get us into the business. Yeah, Holy You touch on the gallows there and obviously that was your breakout film and one of blonde house you know pictures who most horror people will know, it's pretty much the staple at the moment for horror films and has been for some time.


It did you did you expect the success that THE GALLOWS got?


Travis:

It's interesting. It's an interesting question because at the time when we created the Gallows, we were very young naive and and just like so we had so much go get, you know, like go do this right, you know, and and you know the whole, you know, you could, you could reference the secret, you could reference vision boards and things like that.


Chris:

Like we had a vision for that success and we were fighting for it. We were, we were eagerly, you know, moving towards that. And so when people say, oh, did you expect that? It's kind of like it's interesting because we did but didn't realize how how difficult it was To get to something like that because we were so we were believing in it so much and putting all our work and effort into it so much.


That is we're gonna make this happen, it's gonna manifest and and it did so it's it's like it is amazing and we're like, oh my gosh, we can't believe it, it's so great. We would wish it upon anyone. We we stand by today that it was that thought process, though.


In that naivety, if you want to call that, that really let us to that though. Like, yeah, we didn't believe that it was possible. It might not have been, you know, so I think that we kind of manifested it in a way just yeah, by pure, you know, belief really.


Yeah. He didn't have any connections and so it was neat to be able to then just one step after the next not knowing the road, just knowing what we wanted to do. And then all the sudden, hey, we leave the line. We got these management {then) we got Blumhouse taking a lookand New Line and Warner Brothers.


The great people over there and then great test screenings. And then, all these things aligned that didn't normally and haven't normally aligned. So it was, it was great to see that. Come about, that's suppose, it's that firm belief in your own work, that you pretty much lets the the content speak for itself and hopefully HELD.


In terms of the gallows, obviously spawned a sequel, do you see a bigger world for the world of HELD and the the organization that's sinisterly behind the story, right?


Travis:

Yeah. We've definitely thought about that and and wondered you know, without getting too spoilery, if certain people survive the outcome of the film and what would happen from there and how much bigger is this world that you're talking about?


Chris:

Yeah or what are the other factions out there in? What other countries that have applied the same system technique? Yes of counseling. Yeah. We've wondered about that. Does that mean there's a sequel? I don't know. But there's definitely some interesting stories. Yeah, there's good pathways. You could take yeah for that.


It's good to hear. I think the certainly an avenue of opportunity there fully I'm suppose here in terms of you guys and so what is next? What can we look forward to after held?


Chris:

Well, we our company is tremendous pictures and we have been developing a slate fund for Tremendum to be able to produce several more films. Many of them in the horror genre, but also many that are that are a little bit more, action-adventure oriented as well. We like films of all shapes and sizes, so we want to delve into all the different avenues in genres. We have actually recently shot a pilot episode for a streaming series that we'd like to do, and that has turned out really great as an action comedy.


So we're excited about all the different worlds and places that we can play with. But we do have a slate of films and some excellent filmmakers that we plan on working with and talent that we plan on working with to to get those made and out into the world for you guys to, to view and see.


Thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us today and look forward to the release of HELD in the coming weeks over in the UK. So wish you all the success with that. Thank you very much for your time.


Chris and Travis:

Awesome. Thank you man, you too. Thanks.



HELD is released through Bulldog Film on 25th April 2022.

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