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Andrew Weild

Andrew: "It seemed simple enough, and definitely possible. How wrong we were!".

Conducted by Phil Davies Brown
July 26th, 2005

With British horror making a strong comeback of late, I was delighted to discover that I had the chance to sit down and chat to British Director Andrew Weild, about his directorial debut the British slasher movie 'Hacked Off'. Read on to see what inspired Andy to make the film and for more info on the latest British horror movie.

What is your background in film?
I started at college, and then progressed to film school. I got fed up of film school, left and went on to work on lots of shorts, which was the best thing I could have done. I enjoyed it more than sitting in a classroom and learned more than I could have done through a text book.

Why did you decide to make a feature?
The decision was made years ago. Actually doing it’s a different thing. It takes a lot of time, a lot of effort and, however much you budget, a wedge of cash.

Who came up with the idea to make Hacked Off and how did you go about securing financing etc?
It was a joint idea between myself and Fraser Barsby (Producer). We were on holiday a few years ago and developed the idea then. It seemed simple enough, and definitely possible. How wrong we were! Financing came partly from a private investor who injected a few grand into the budget but mainly it came from Fraser.

Are you a fan of the horror genre?
I’ve been a fan of the horror genre since I was a kid. I grew up watching horror films such as the Omen, The Changeling and old Hammer films etc. My friend’s father had a huge collection of horror on Betamax (which I’ve now got 20 years on)which we used to stay up late watching. Films such as Tales from the Crypt to TV programmes like Hammer House of Horror ‘the house that bled to death’. Fantastic stuff.

Andrew: "The response was overwhelming and each day we were flooded with post".

How much time did you have for prep?
We only had a few months prep time and it went really quickly, just snowballed. Once we got back from holiday I locked myself away for a week and hammered out the first draft. I then passed it over to Fraser who went through it. We worked together up to the final draft. Whilst doing that we started sorting out the casting arrangements, rehearsals and the rest of pre production and, before we knew it, a slot opened for the location and we were preparing to shoot. The concept came in around July 2002 and we were shooting early November.

How did you find your cast?
We found our cast by placing a small ad in The Stage. The response was overwhelming and each day we were flooded with post. After trawling through them all we made a shortlist, about a hundred I think. The auditions where held at a college in London one day and we set the actors tasks such as monologues, interviews and, as a group exercise, two scenes taken from the film in potential roles. It worked really well but was an exhausting day. Luckily we where sponsored by Red Bull which kept us, and the actors, going.

How long did the shoot last, and where were the locations in France and England?
Initially the shoot lasted 1 week. However, two of those day where taken traveling to France and back so it was more like 5. Completely insane but on the budget we had it was all that was possible. In hindsight I’d have definitely pushed towards 2 weeks. A month would have been fantastic but we would have all gone totally mad isolated like that. I think I left the cottage about twice during that week and slept about once. We had a couple of days of pick ups a few months later. Scenes, such as the finale, which we simply ran out of time and knew we could shoot them in Norfolk and not look like it was shot anywhere other than France.

Any funny stories from the shoot?
There are probably loads of funny stories but, unfortunately, you’re asking the wrong person. It was one of the most stressful weeks and I spent the week pumped up on coffee and trying to get through the hundred or so scenes. I did look through some of the documentary footage once and the cast did look like they had a laugh.

How long was the film in post?
The film was in post for a long time, almost 2 years, but for most of that it was just sitting there doing nothing. We kept having to break whilst waiting for more bits to the edit suite, such as bigger hard drive, better software etc…which all costs money. We did stick it in a few film festivals and held a premiere (cross test-screening) during that time though.

Andrew: "In the same way the rest of the film was financed…with his plastic friends".

How did you go about distributing the film?
We decided to distribute the film ourselves, another reason for the film being in post for such a long time. Fraser comes from a distribution and marketing background so it made sense and we got to learn a lot about new fields such as DVD authoring, duplication and distribution, which was fun. We also had full control over the cover design, which a lot of companies out there seem to neglect, and I wanted it to look good on my shelf in between Friday the 13th and Halloween.

Who financed the release?
Fraser did, basically. In the same way the rest of the film was financed…with his plastic friends.

Are there any plans for screenings?
It’s still doing the festival circuit at the moment so there’ll be more screenings. Outside of that it’s readily available on DVD. Ask at your local stockist or visit the site www.hacked-off.com.

Has the film made a profit yet?
Not yet, but it’s definitely getting there. Regardless of how much profit it makes, the film was a valuable experience for all those involved, especially me. I thought I knew a lot about film but I probably doubled my experience making ‘Hacked-Off’ and can’t wait to take that experience on to another film. Obviously I hope it makes money though, for all those who invested, especially Fraser.

What can you tell us about the sequel?
Not a lot. There’s been a few ideas kicking about, all quite good, but we’ll have to see. There are lots of areas in this genre, outside of the slasher theme, I’d like to explore first. The majority seem to prefer a prequel to ‘Hacked Off’ rather than a sequel and I think I’d agree.

"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview Andrew.
And we wish you the very best of luck in the future."

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