Interview with ‘Don’t Look’ Director and actress Luciana Faulhaber

Luciana Faulhaber is an actress is best known for her TV work including roles in Fox’s GOTHAM, SHADES OF BLUE with Jennifer Lopez, and ABC’S GREY’S ANATOMY. Looking to make her mark in the horror genre Luciana is now looking to make an impression on both sides of the camera as she directs and stars in her upcoming horror film Don’t Look.

I got a chance to ask Luciana a few questions about her latest film including how she came up with the original idea for the film, why she chose horror as her directorial feature and what makes Don’t Look stand out in the horror genre.

  • PR: What can horror fans expect from your new horror film Don’t Look?
  • LF: Fun! When my producing partner Javier E. Gomez and I, decided to make this film we wanted to bring slasher horror fans like ourselves a fun night of nostalgia. However, that alone is not enough. Times have changed, and we wanted to reflect that in the film as well. I wanted a diverse cast as well as crew, and I made sure the female characters, even though still scream queens, could hold their own. The female relationship is at the center of the film and is one of teamwork. I have learned throughout the years that my female friendships are the ones to withstand time and hardships, and that was reflected in the film.

 

  • PR: You came up with the original idea for Don’t Look, but what were/was the inspiration for the story?
  • LF: The story was based on a tale that Lindsay Eshelman’s parents, Brenda and Greg, told me during Thanksgiving. They told me this story about back in the day, when a relative appeared dead of a gunshot in his garage, and no one questioned it. They just buried him without alerting authorities. This was and still is a hunting community, so gun accidents were probable. I laid in the living room that weekend looking at all the game hanging on the wall, glazed eyes staring back at me and my wheels started turning. If that could be true, what else could be right about that time and place? I went back to NYC where I lived at the time and called Javier. I told him I wanted to make a feature and he responded with “Ok, Let’s do.” We approached Lindsay about playing Nicole, and she was on board. Next step was location, and it had to be where the story was conceived. We approached the Eshleman’s, and they were instantly very supportive. This movie would not have happened without them. Then I wrote an outline, asked Jessica Boucher if she would write the script and she was also on board. Both Lindsay Eshleman and Jessica Boucher later on also became co-producers of the film.

  • PR: This is your first feature film as a director. Why did you choose horror as the genre for your first film and why Don’t Look?
  • LF: I chose horror because it is fun. Horror gives you room to create and innovate, unlike other genres. I grew up watching horror as a kid in Brazil, and Javier grew up watching the same films in Puerto Rico. It amazed us that even though we had very different upbringings, this was a language that we both spoke, and we were excited to be making, instead of just watching it. We wanted to get our hands bloody not just dirty. As a first-time director and filmmaker, horror is a true gift to play, create and find your voice.

 

  • PR: As well as directing you also feature in the film as Lorena.  Was it difficult balancing the two roles and how does the responsibility of directing compare to acting?
  • LF: Being an actor, director and producer is entirely doable. However, being an actor, director, producer of a low budget feature is very challenging. Our crew was small, and everyone was wearing multiple hats, so everyone was tired and over worked. After a full day of shooting, everyone would go off to rest for the next day while I spent the nights (or days depending on shooting schedule) doing the director prep for the next day, while Javier would take care of all producing needs.
  • Lindsay was our local producer in Pennsylvania, and she knows the community well, so she was able to reach out to the community and help us solve any matter that came up. I would stay up for three days at times and then fall asleep waiting for a shot to be set or on the make-up chair.
  • Our costume designer, Bruna Mebs, was also the head of the make-up department and she was remarkable. Bruna was able to spot issues we were having and offer solutions, support and allegiance. She has a solid work ethic and remains one of my good friends to this day. It is because of them; I could play multiple roles in making this film.

 

  • PR: Did you experience any issues while filming Don’t Look?
  • LF: I experienced nothing but issues! We shot an entire feature for a small film budget. We depended on a lot of hard work, understanding, and goodwill, and we had those in varying degrees throughout the shoot. However, all the hardships were nothing compared to the responsibility we felt towards the 500+ people that donated to our film through Kickstarter. We wanted to make them proud. Guillermo del Toro says that magic happens in the film when something does not go as planned, and how well you deal with these adversities is what makes you a good director. I thought a lot about that during the filming. I saw every difficulty as an opportunity to create some magic and just changed on.

 

  • PR: Did you make any changes from the original script during filming?
  • LF: Yes. Not sure where I have heard that a film is written three times: as a script, during the shoot, and in the editing room. That proved to be so true! The film continued to change with the challenges of filming.

 

  • PR: What were your inspirations for the look and style of the film?
  • LF: I am a big fan of the original Friday the 13th (1980) You will see a lot of similarities there. Even one of our locations looks pretty similar. However, I played with style for a little bit in the editing room, getting feedback from amazing filmmakers I know in the genre, like Rolfe Kanefsky. Rolfe is incredibly knowledgeable about genre and was an incredible supporter in completing the film. I continue to learn a lot from him and his unapologetic style of creating films that are different and exciting.

 

  • PR: What were some of your favorite moments during filming?
  • LF: It is tough to pick one, but I have to say burning down the barn was pretty epic. The excitement to get as close as possible to the fire to get the shot, but at the same time having to be cautious because it was a real hell blazing fire. It was our martini shot, so the feeling of completion and satisfaction we all got from watching the fire burn, was a metaphorical expression of the excitement we were feeling as well. There were many hugs, high fives and helps of celebration. We had beaten the odds and finished our shoot.

 

  • PR: What makes Don’t Look stand out as something different in the horror genre?
    • LF: The female characters save not only themselves but carry the male leads through most of the plot. Also, our ethnic and culturally diverse actors do not die first in the plot, and the return to Pennsylvania as the home of horror was pretty exciting too.
    • PR: Do you have any new projects which you are working on?
    • LF: I continue to work with Javier E. Gomez in producing content that goes beyond the barriers of genre and race. We are committed to creating content that reflects the reality of the Latino community today as educated and empowered people. We are currently working on two series we created and as well as shooting a documentary I am currently directing. As an actress, you will be able to see me in an upcoming horror called “Pathosis,” which has an incredible team I am honored to be a part of.
    • PR: What advice would you give to someone who is looking to direct their own film? LF: If someone tells you that you cannot do it, do not listen. We heard that from so many people since we were doing the Kickstarter campaign. I remember asking someone to donate $5 to the film’s campaign, and their response was “I will not give you money to make a film because I do not know if you can do it.” Mindful that was $5. I hope this guy has the same thought while ordering a latte because that was the commitment; I was asking him to make. I was gracious about it but kept my distance from that day on.  Through this process, I learned that when someone said “No” to me, I hear: “I am making this without you” and moved on. This same person came to the first and almost sold out screening at the “North Hollywood Film Festival,” where “Do not Look” premiered last year, and could not stop singing praises. I just smiled.
    • The truth is that most people do not dare to go after their dreams and to discourage you from going after your own, validates their own choices of giving up. Do not give up. Do not stop. Your real friends and supporters will be there for you.

Don’t Look” releases on VOD and DVD May 14 from Wild Eye Releasing.

 


Posted by Philip Rogers

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