Screamfest had a lot of great surprises this year. Great films and great shorts. One that was very interesting was Sebastian Mattukat's The Ring. In a short amount of time it manages to create a bleak and paranoid world where living is the daily goal. Is this something for you to seek out? Read on for more...
The film opens with a man scavenging the countryde. Before long he comes across others who are being killed by men in contamination suits. Who are they and what do they want? All is revealed and when it is, it is a place we don't ever want to be.
The Ring is a sharp little piece of Sci-Fi Horror by Sebastian Mattukat. Growing up in the shadow of European and American Cinema and brain soaked by MTV, he had all the components to create. However, it wasn't until he picked up a copy of Robert Rodriguez's Rebel With Out A Crew (The bible for every young film maker), that he truly found his calling.
We had a chance to chat while he was in town and here is what he had to say about himself and his work.
The Ring is an excellent film. The opening crawl sets the tone of fear and desperation. Was that your intention?
Thanks a lot! That‘s absolutely right; I wanted to give the audience an inde look at LEE's world. With the opening montage, I could ealy show them the important themes and ideas of the film. That way I defined the mood and tone and you get the impreson that LEE is the last human on earth. When he finally sees the other guy, it is very plauble for the audience to follow him.It plays as a journey toward self-actualization.
What interested you about this theme?
Self-actualization is one of the main themes of the movie. Combined with the idea of governmental violence is an underlying emotional theme everybody can connect with. The main question of the movie is a very universal one: how do you react to a totalitarian system? Survive as a slave? Or try to be free with the posbility of being killed? That‘s what interested me in this theme. You instantly have a reaction to the question. It‘s a great starting point to catch the audience’s interest.You have some great and realistic effects in the film. How were they achieved?
Right from the beginning, I wanted to tell a film on a large scale. While watching the short it should feel as epic as posble. We achieved that on two levels. First the excellent sound degn by Tobias Voigt (Sound degn/Composer/Co-Author/Co-Producer) and the right amount of visual effects. My VFX Supervisor Frank Hinrichs and I broke down the script to nearly 60 effect shots (the whole film has round about 130 shots in total). Whenever I felt we needed something to extend our set, we just created it from scratch on the computer. Nearly a dozen of VFX Artists worked for five months on every posble effect you can have in a film. We had sky replacements, retouching, LCD‘s, muzzle flashes, bullets, blood, impacts, matte paintings and much more. With four days to shoot, this was a major effort.It seems very complete. Is this a short part of a larger picture you hope to tell?
Tobias and I never thought about a feature veron of “The Ring”. We just wanted to pull off a short that would be as breathtaking as posble. But after every screening, we get this question about making a longer veron of the film. So we just started working on a feature film script of “The Ring”. But it's something like a prequel. The feature film leads to the short film.
What first got you into horror?
Good question. I was never into the old horror stuff. I‘ve only seen three Carpenter movies and was never into the old Wes Craven or Romero films. I first realized the power of horror films when I saw “Hostel”. I was never a fan of supernatural horror, so the interesting and believable characters, the dark and well told story was the real deal for me. After that, “The Descent” showed me how phycal horror movies could be good. From that point on, I was totally sold. Finally, Marcus Nispel had a huge influence on me because of his German origins and his visual approach to the horror genre. You could say I feel like I’m in the right place now.Was it difficult to raise the money for such an ambitious short?
The short is supported by four sources. We put our own money into the film. Mario Koch (Producer), Claudio Gasperi (Producer) Tobias Voigt and I paid for everything we needed to pay for on set. We also got a lot of support through the camera rental, locations and so on. They provided us with plenty of free stuff. The third source is a dedicated group of people. A lot of people believed in a great German genre-short and have helped us to finance the festival circuit. The last source came from our great cast & crew who worked for free and gave a lot of their time, blood and tears, to make this film posble. In the end you could say, that yes, it was hard, but we convinced everyone that this film would be worth it.Will you be returning to America for more festivals?
I definitely hope so. We recently applied to the Shot on RED Festival and a couple of other ones in California and the US. I had a really great time in LA and hope to come back soon.What is next on your agenda?
I want to do a feature; that‘s for sure. If it‘s the long veron of The Ring, one of the other scripts I develop, or something written by someone else - it‘s fine with me, just as long as I can stay in the genre.
See the film if you have the chance. Support these young film makers because they are the future of what we love.