Kill The Monsters
Originally published during Raindance 2019
Three men struggle to save their relationship while traveling across country in search of a doctor they believe will make one of them well.
Hi Ryan, thanks for talking to The New Current, your award-winning feature Kill The Monsters had such an incredible film festival run, did you imagine you would get such huge response to you film?
We had a great time going to different film festivals and sharing the film with people all over the US and abroad. I’m really grateful for those experiences with audiences.
How does it feel to have Kill The Monsters released on DVD?
It feels great because DVD/streaming is the final chapter in the journey that starts with an idea for a script. It’s been quite a run.
What where the biggest issues you faced bringing Kill The Monsters to the screen?
Financing and scheduling were the most challenging parts. We are a tiny indie and we shot at four different times during the calendar year, so making that work was a challenge.
Kill The Monsters is broken into several chapters that brilliantly unpacks an honest, brave, funny and political story had you always envisioned your film would unfold in this way?
Thank you, and yes! The story and what it represents were outlined before I ever wrote a page of the script!
How much would you say this film reflects the current political climate in the US?
Well, the allegory ends right before Trump is elected, so it reflects how we got here. Lincoln once said: "If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.”
There seems to be an organic feel the the dialogue was it easy to keep to your script or were you flexible to changes?
The dialogue is all scripted (except for one tiny scene), so we rehearsed a lot to get the speed down and make it work.
What made you want to film in black and white?
The black and white helped to emphasize that this was an allegory and stylized film. Plus many people view politics as black and white, but really it’s all shades of grey.
You have a fantastic cast, what was the experience like for you working with Jack Ball and Garrett McKechnie?
I’ve worked with Garrett a lot before and I wrote the part for him. We auditioned lots of young actors for Frankie before finding Jack. I’m thrilled with both of their performances.
Can you tell me a little bit about Kill The Monsters, what was the inspiration behind your screenplay?
I was re-reading ANIMAL FARM and became interested in creating an allegorical film representing the evolution of democracy in the US.
Andrew Huebscher's cinematography is breathtaking and add such a depth and beauty to your film that is fantastically realised during one of the scenes in Washington, how important was this collaboration between you both?
My collaboration with Andrew meant everything to me. We had a great creative relationship and also a very close friendship, which can be hard sometimes because the dynamics of friend and collaborator are different, but with Andrew both sides of our bond grew stronger making this film. He is a relentless artistic warrior, and I love that.
What was the most challenging scene for you to film?
Probably the first day of shooting because we shot a couple scenes without a permit, and there were a lot of challenges leading up to that day.
Music is also an important element in Kill The Monsters, what was it about Jean Sibelius music that made a perfect fit for this film?
I knew early on I wanted to only use Sibelius music for the score. There is a wonderful passion and sensitivity to the music that suited different moments in the film.
"...if I’ve done my job, the film is asking the audience some questions about democracy and relationships more broadly."
As writer, director, producer and co-star how did you balance these roles?
Writing, directing, editing, and producing feel like one job. Acting feels separate, but, fortunately, I was so busy with making the movie I didn’t have time to get caught up in my head about the performance. I had to trust that I had done the work and it was there.
Is this something you would do again?
What would you say has been the biggest lessons you've learnt after making this film?
Now that you can be reflective do you have any advice to offer a fellow filmmaker?
Once you start shooting, you will find a way to finish the film so long as you don’t give up. So don’t give up.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from the message within Kill The Monsters?
Hopefully, if I’ve done my job, the film is asking the audience some questions about democracy and relationships more broadly. Why the current constructs are so ineffective and what, if anything, can be done to improve/replace the way they currently exist.