The Darklight Film Festival has become somewhat of an institution on the Dublin Film scene developing a reputation of excellence in eclectic, lo/no budget film. With 2011’s events already underway, Totally Dublin grabbed an interview with Evan Glodell, the brainchild behind the movie Bellflower, an apocalyptic love story with a touch of pyromania.
In a way a storyline dealing with a relationship breakdown is quite traditional, but it has this Mad Max element which sets the film apart, could you talk a little about this? The original idea for the film was that it was going to have two very different parts, the first half focusing on the building of the relationship and the second focusing on the destruction and aftermath. Starting from there all of the ideas about the apocalypse and the characters obsession with Mad Max came in naturally from working on the script.
Was the making of the piece in any way cathartic for you, or was it difficult to do something based on real life experience? It’s hard to say, but I would like to think that submersing myself in that type of subject matter for years and years helped me grow and learn. As far as the personal aspect, it was very difficult. When we found out we got into Sundance i suddenly had the urge to take all the hard drives and burn them. It was the first time that people were going to actually see the film and i felt like there was a little too much of myself in there.
The New Yorker described this project as done on a budget that would be “Hollywood lunch money”; what has been the biggest challenge in creating this work on a shoestring? Everything. We had no money the entire time, so anything we wanted to do was a challenge, from getting gas money to drive ourselves to where we were shooting on a particular day to figuring out how to get a certain prop or create a specific shot or effect. Making this movie has been the biggest challenge in my life so far.
I hear you fashioned a bespoke camera for the film, what was the reason for this and are you happy with the results? Customizing cameras and optics is a hobby i got into almost ten years ago. When i first realized i could build things that would give me specific unique looks i just kept building more and more stuff. Joel Hodge and i would shoot test shots every time i finished a new camera and immediately start planning which parts of the movie should be shot on each. It was a natural progression, we would turn a camera on, look at the monitor, get excited and say “Holy shit, we need to shoot this particular scene entirely on this setup”
Could you talk a little about your visual aesthetic? Joel Hodge(the DP on Bellflower) and i have been working together on everything for years. Neither of us have any formal training and never worked under someone else to learn. Together we have shots dozens of short films, commercials and music videos and whatever style we have has developed through tons of just working.
Have you made a conscious effort to marry your style with the plot? Yes. One of the main concerns i had before we started shooting bellflower was whether people would be able to handle a couple of the extreme transitions that happen in the film. A lot of the work that was done with the cameras and visual planning was the help define the mood in each section to aid the transitions. The most elaborate camera that i built for the film was specifically made for just one specific scene that is the most surreal part of the movie. I don’t know if people would be able to digest it if it didn’t look so odd. They might have just laughed and walked out of the theater.
What have gotten the most out of: writing, acting or directing? Definitely writing and directing, those are the two things that come most naturally and that i enjoy the most. The acting was very stressful.
Any upcoming projects? Yes, i have a script that i am getting ready to make, but i unfortunately don’t have a name for it yet and i am no good at explaining what its about.
Words: Sarah Allen.