Interview: Indie Horror Filmmaker Bart Mastronardi, Part 2
Hey everyone. Here’s the second part of my interview with indie horror filmmaker Bart Mastronardi. In the first part of my interview (click here) Bart and I talked about his influences, the journey it took to make VINDICATION, his thoughts on special f/x, and how he became good friends with Clive Barker. Here we talk a little more about VINDICATION and then Bart gives us details on some future projects he’s working on.
ANYTHINGHORROR: The role of Nicolas looked like a really demanding role both physically and emotionally. Actor Keith Fraser did a really fantastic job. How did you prepare Keith to take on such a deep emotional role? Did he draw from his own personal experiences? As a director how did you prepare all your actors for such dark and disturbing performances?
BART MASTRONARDI: If acting is about revealing a sense of truth then Keith Fraser as Nicolas Bertram did the job. All the acting in my opinion is VINDICATION’s strongest element. They all nailed their parts down. Keith however is the whole movie. I remember working with Keith in a production of Macbeth, I directed, Keith was Macbeth and he has the talent. Keith plays Nicolas in his face. The performance is all in the eyes: the pain, guilt, anger, hurt, fear, love it’s in Keith’s face. I don’t know what personal experiences he drew from but I remember talking with him all the time as he wanted to know where Nicolas was coming from. Because the script was evolving into a more heavy emotional film filled with horror, Keith and I would talk about Nicolas. For me the hardest part of Nicolas was the suicide scene. Keith is totally nude for the whole scene and he treated it so professionally. Nicolas is at his lowest point and we see the scares he has done to himself and the pain he goes through. To be totally nude was to indicate that Nicolas is at his most vulnerable. Keith was up for the challenge and had no qualms about the nudity. He put himself out there and that is why Nicolas Bertram is so believable – because Keith is being truthful to his character. I am so proud that he won Best Actor for his performance of Nicolas Bertram at the Terror Film Festival because so many of the quite emotional roles go unnoticed. When I work with Keith I can see Heath Ledger – Keith is that type of actor he internalizes it and it shows in his performance.
VINDICATION is filled with friends who are incredible actors. People who seek out meaty roles and want great lines so they can put it on their reels. I wanted this for them, so I wrote the parts for them. I wanted to ensure that during production they had my full attention when needed. They played their parts and delve into the characters through their own ways of asking me and playing them. Actress Talia Marrero, who is a hell of an actress, comes to mind because she stepped into the role of Pamela at the end of the film after an actress couldn’t do it. That scene at the end when she is talking to her unborn child moves me all the time. I remember filming that scene with Talia, 2 lights and me no one else. She was Pamela. It took 4 takes – 2 wide shots and 2 close ups and every time she hit the emotions. I can go on and on about all the actors they are that amazing in the film. The crew also worked their asses off. Stolis just took home Best Editing and Billy’s score is just poetry to my ears. Tom Burns came in for sound, so this little low budget film was blessed with great talent.
Its no mystery that I’m a huge fan of Vindication. Tell us where it is as far as distribution goes. Where can my readers go to see Vindication. Is it for sale yet? What’s the future hold for VINDICATION. This is a movie that horror fans need to see and support!!!
I love that you are a HUGE fan of VINDICATION. Thank you so much, Scott! I wanted to make a film for an audience who wanted a psychological horror movie. Film can be art AND entertainment I wanted to explore both with my budget.
You can find out more info on VINDICATION at these locations:
RSquared is VINDICATION’s distributor. http://www.rsquaredfilms.com/ It’s on DVD and is for sale at any of the .com outlets: Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Barnes and Nobles. Trust me it is everywhere. Now it’s going on NETFLIX. My favorite was that it was selling out at Kim’s Video in NYC.
What’s next for you Mr. Mastronardi? What new projects are you working on? Are you staying in the horror genre?
With each new project I learn a bit more about myself, so I keep expanding myself into new territories. I enjoy helping other fellow filmmakers out on their projects like Jeremiah Kipp on his short CONTACT, which I produced with Alan. I love to be out and photograph when I have the time I am very inspired by photography. Kristen Grillo is a great friend of mine and she is doing amazing work with her photography. She has been very inspiring to my own work. So I am not all about horror. Filmmakers and all artist must venture into territories to expand on their work.
I am going to be shooting RAZOR DAYS for director Mike Watts in the Spring; Alan Rowe Kelly’s DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT with Caroline Williams next summer and his short film adaption of Poe’s THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO.
As director and producer I just finished filming my adaption of Poe’s THE TELL TALE HEART with Scream Queen Debbie Rochon, and a great cast of great that is Lesleh Donaldson (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME), Desiree Gould (SLEEPAWAY CAMP), David Marancik (RAZOR DAYS), newcomer Joe Quick and Alan Rowe Kelly. But I will tell you more once I can, but enjoy the Lobby card.
My partner David and I are always together watching horror movies. It is great to have someone in your life that loves and appreciates the same interests as yourself.
When I am not filming I am teaching at New York Film Academy. Teaching at NYFA as it allows me to help film students to be inspired by the love I have for filmmaking.
Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you’d like to tell my readers? I’m constantly supporting strong indie horror films like yours and telling my readers that the future of horror lies in such talented horror writers and directors like you.
Film is subjective, so all of our movies are in the hands of your readers. All I ask of the readers is to give VINDICATION and other independent horror filmmakers and their films a chance. If you enjoy the films then please rent, buy, Netflix, Facebook, tweet, blog, write about them, talk about them, show them and get others to see them. HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13th and other great horror films spread through word of mouth and look where they are today – they are classic horror films of cinema now. Let’s make new classic horror characters so they can join the ranks of the great monsters of film.
An audience will eventually keep the films alive, so please do so. Magazines like Fangoria, Horror Hound, and Rue Morgue need to keep covering the independents, too. Fangoria has been a champion to VINDICATION. I’ve been reading Fangoria since I was 6 and to be a part of the magazine is a dream come true for me.
Thank you, readers of Anythinghorror.com. I’d love to hear from you all and your thoughts about the interview, horror movies, VINDICATION or filming.
Since this interview there’s been some new developments on Mastronardi’s next project. He couldn’t discuss it at the time of this interview (Fangoria had exclusive rights to the story), but the story already ran so now I can mention it. Bart’s new project is, as he mentioned, TELL TALE HEART (starring Debbie Rochon) which will be part of a new anthology titled TALES OF POE VOLUME 1, based on some of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tales. But Mastronardi puts his own spin on this story. In it Debbie Rochon plays a nurse (and is the short’s narrator) who takes care of a sickly former silent-era actress Miss Lamar (played by Alan Rowe Kelly). The film also takes place in the 1950’s and I for one am really curious to see a Poe story that has a focus on the female perspective. You can see the entire Fangoria article on Mastronardi here.
The other shorts making up the anthology include THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO (by Alan Rowe Kelly), BERENICE (by Jeremiah Kipp), and THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (by Nathan Wrann). And the fact that the anthology has the “volume 1” moniker attached to it is even more exciting!! And don’t worry; Mastronardi promised to keep us updated with any new developments on this and any other new projects.
Thanks again to Bart Mastronardi for this terrific interview. Pass the news to all your friends to check out VINDICATION and keep your eyes on anythinghorror.com for updates on his future projects.