Mickey Reece (INTERVIEW)
CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER is out now and sees two sisters uncover the true identity of their neighbour while vacating in a cabin for the weekend, Mickey Reece writes and directs and here speaks about the making of and inspiration of the film as well as what's next.
Tell us about your new film.
So we got this Cabin for the weekend and we though heck. We wanted to make a film so we thought vampires and cabins...
CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER certainly an original take on the vampire setting. We've seen so many Bram Stoker, more closely inspired stories of late that actually, it's refreshing to see the take that you've taken on it. So what inspired the story behind CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER?
Well, I mean we're working with the two... We're basically five characters. Five or six characters throughout the whole thing. We wanted to keep it small and contained. So, it became more of a literary device in that way because of limitations. Basically, we have this, this is so small. What's the biggest thing that we can do with what we have, which was a very little resource. And yeah, so we definitely took a vampire. There's still the vampire tropes, and just normal vampire movies and stuff. And then just kind of like made our own thing out of it. Played by our own rules, I guess, in that way.
That's great. And I suppose, from my perspective of watching it, the most intriguing and the bit that really struck me was the setting. And you've mentioned it there, obviously you did make it on a micro budget. But the reality of it is, is it really doesn't come across that way. And I think that's partly due to the fact that it's filmed in the seventies. But how challenging was it to make a film set in a period when you're working on a low budget?
Well, we always gave ourselves a way out. It was shot in 4/3. It was shot with that kind of grain in those days, those star filters and stuff. But it never absolutely had to be in the seventies. So we kind of left that open in case we couldn't do it. But when we got there, our production designer Caitlin Shelby, she was just awesome and was able to turn everything... Basically hide everything that wasn't seventies. And so we've kind of when we like got the end product, it was all right. We did it, it's all seventies. So like I said, we kind of like gave ourselves a way out. Basically gave ourselves kind of like where time didn't matter. Where it didn't necessarily have to be seventies. It wasn't that central to the story that it was in the seventies, but the course going into it with limited resources and limited funds, I didn't want to make it specific that it had to be in the seventies because who knows if we're going to be able to pull it off. But yeah, somehow we did.
You've certainly pulled off really well. It did remind me of a film we saw a few years ago, THE LOVE WITCH. You've seen that?
Yes, I have. I have seen it. And it has gotten comparisons to that. But yeah, I mean that was just... I didn't see it before we made CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER. I saw it because of reviews saying that CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER was like THE LOVE WITCH. No, it's like I got to see this thing. And yeah, they did an amazing job with that.
You can kind of tell the success of how well the film is adapted to the time period by comparisons like that because... Yeah, you see films out in the cinemas now. You've got "The Conjuring that's set in the seventies. But they feel now, they feel like... They've got the super, super sharp cameras and that doesn't quite blend well when you're looking at films that were released and made for VHS. It doesn't quite gel that way.
Yeah. You're going to dirty up that lens a little bit. Shooting with a digital camera like that you got to make it gross and dirty looking. And I think these new cameras just shoot so clean looking so, one thing I don't like about them. But I, obviously I've never shot on film, but that would be my goal. I'm sure it's probably impossible now, but... Or very hard regardless.
Oh, I can imagine. I was reading about you and you described your films as people who talk in rooms. Do you want to expand on that a little bit?
Yeah. I mean, that's all it is. That's all CLIMATE (of the) HUNTER is. It's just different rooms, people talking in them. That's all anything I make is. I guess I didn't go to film school or anything, I just learned from doing it over and over again. I wouldn't recommend anybody take the route that I did. I've made a million movies and most of them are garbage. And so when you're... For a long time I was a one man band. Just a camera with a mic on top of it. And so you do it enough times, trial and error, and you realize you know what, can't really shoot outside, can't really shoot these elaborate, like action scenes. Can't do this violence and stuff. What can I do? I can film people talking in rooms. So, that's just kind of what I've always called it, like the style of filmmaking. It's just people talking in rooms.
I love the honesty. I, and again, we've seen so many times budgets supersedes and kind of ends up ruining some films because of the ambitions there. But if you know your limitations at the outset, it really does help you kind of drive. I've not seen your earlier films, but I can imagine that progression has kind of got to where it is.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, pretty much it's all, you can just watch some of my movies from many years ago to now, and it's just kind of like this gradual come up. And it's watching someone like figure it out themselves. Their own film school. Watching the filmography, you can just kind of see the progression. So...
That's good. So as long as it's going all in the one direction.
Yeah. I'm waiting... It's going to plateau
So, what's next for you then?
Well, so actually in America, we already have another movie out called AGNES. It premiered at Tribeca in June, so a few months ago. I was playing Fantasia in Canada right now. And a couple more festivals with that one. And then it's going to be released. I think, I'm pretty sure it's going to be released before the end of the year. And then I've shot another movie called COUNTRY GOLD that I'm currently editing. So yeah, it just... It's odd to be doing an interview for CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER because it was like two years ago here. But I love the movie and I love talking about it. So never have a problem remembering how fun that one was to shoot. And what a great time we had. For some reason it still has legs. You know what I mean? It flew and won't die. So I love that.
Isn't that the legacy of any filmmaker?
Oh yeah. I mean, I hope so. I guess. I'm kind of experiencing it all for the first time.