Friday 8 December 2017

Interview with Brett Bentman - writer-director of Apocalypse Road

Brett Bentman, writer-director of the new apocalyptic thriller Apocalypse Road (now available on VOD), tells us what he loves about filmmaking.

Do you have to be a fan of movies like this to want to make one? I imagine it helps?

Oh yeah. I love movie that carry a heavy dramatic narrative, then punch you in the gut with some action and slam your eyes with some uncomfortable gore. We were able to mix all of these elements I love into one film.

When did you come up with the idea?

I had just wrapped a western that went horribly wrong. When I came home I wrote AR and told my team we were going to make a film the right way, with the right producers behind it from day one. I wanted to re-invent myself with this script and I wanted to put the viewer in the shoes of Sarah and Natalie West. It’s one thing to make a movie where you go from scene to scene to scene, with actors who just read lines and move on, to a film like AR where the cast and crew are literally bleeding for the story. Makes you feel a sense of pride.

How much have post-apocalyptic movies like Mad Max or even The Hunger Games inspired the libretto here?

Not a lot, but some. I took more inspiration from The Road and The Revenant. We shot on one camera with two lenses on a gimbal 90% of the time. We had to use a ton of natural light and put thought into not having power most of the time. It was fun, tiring, but fun.

How did pitch it to your investors? What do you think led them to pulling the trigger?

Our sole investor was Bill Nicholas who is a close personal friend and has serves as my executive producer on all of my feature films. It wasn’t so much a pitch of the film, more of the idea that Bill believed in me as a filmmaker that brought him back in the fold. Plus, he gets a little cameo in the film, so everyone is happy!

Can you talk about the look of the film? What did you shoot on?

We shot on a sony a7sii. We kept the camera moving at all times. We wanted to give the illusion that the viewer is in the middle of the shot. Going through cars and things like that all while moving the camera on a ronin. We shot in real abandoned locations with no AC or heat. I wanted this film to have long takes with natural light. We did it all when others said we were nuts. We weren’t nuts, we just wouldn’t take no for an answer. Michael Ray Lewis, who shot the film, had to be exhausted every night. He would be running all day, he never sat down.

What do you love about filmmaking?

I love that at the end of the day we are telling a story and making it come to life. We keep it light on set. We have fun, but we work our asses off too. We aren’t curing cancer, we are making a movie. How cool is that?