CULT CRITIC – As I watched Death Lay Here, I did feel it left a strong impact on me. How did you come up with the idea for the film?
RICHARD: The idea came from a conglomeration of old films I watched when I was a kid. For example, “All Dogs go to Heaven” and “The Devil and Daniel Webster”. That and after the success of my previous film “The Little Chapel” it allowed me to create a follow-up film set in the same universe called the Horror Extended Universe.
CULT CRITIC – What is your view on commercial aspect of artistic indie films? It feels like artistic films don’t get good commercial success. Why do you think it’s so?
RICHARD: I think it’s unfair that indie films haven’t reached the same level of success that movies with big-name studios have behind them. That’s only because they have the funds or means that big time studios like Marvel or Disney can provide for them. At times it is very frustrating when you feel that you are doing all of this work on your own but eventually it does pay off.
It would be nice if indie film genre had their own specific and separate platform for distribution rather than running by themselves, or maybe they do and I am just uninformed.
CULT CRITIC – How would you describe your road as a filmmaker so far? Was it a smooth road or more of a tumbling ride?
RICHARD: I guess you could say that I really began filmmaking when I was a kid and I started doing these little home short films with my family and I grabbed an old camera and make short films about whatever. Then I made short films about my pets and edited them on iMovie on my Mac. Then when I went to Manhattanville College, I joined their film club, made a short film called “Death Lay Here” and a music video called “A Certain Smile” about my grandparents. After my third year at the college, I left film club due to creative differences and made my own short films on the college campus that included “The Little Chapel”, “Afrit”, “Nature”, “Piano” and “Chapel: Tale of the Book”. All of which were distributed by me and my film company Wyvern Studios. I spent money out of my pocket to distribute these films and I paid for it with the money I get from my job at I.T. at my college. So I can say that my journey as a filmmaker has been a straightforward road with plenty of bumps, twists and turns and a few potholes every few miles.
CULT CRITIC – Particularly in your film DEATH LAY HERE shows mysterious facts about human life. Do you believe that mystery is what makes a good film?
RICHARD: I have always thought that mystery makes for a good anything. Mystery is what keeps the viewer watching that’s why the Marvel Cinematic Universe is so successful. It adds mystery to whatever is coming next into the canon. That’s why “Lost” was one of my favorite tv shows to watch when I was younger. I kept watching for the mystery. I didn’t know what to expect.
CULT CRITIC – What camera do you prefer to use to record films? To be more specific, do you think a good camera is crucial to make a good film? If you can share your thoughts.
RICHARD: A camera that I might prefer to use is most likely one that I haven’t used yet, like a 4k camera. In my films, I have used a Sony AX-2000 and my own iphone 7. Many times you don’t need a great or even a good camera to make a compelling film. If you have a compelling enough film surrounded by other elements not related to the camera, you can still make a great film.
CULT CRITIC – What would be one message you’d share with young filmmakers who want to do something similar to what you’re doing?
RICHARD: The message that I want to share with future filmmakers is keep on trying and don’t give up. If this is what you love to do, if this is what you wake up every morning to do, don’t give up. There are going to be some days where you might be the only person on set, but if this is a film you are passionate about make the best of it. There was one shoot where I had to set-up the camera, lights and the props for the cast and crew and I was the only person on set, but it was all worth it for the final product. You’ll have to get a day job were you would need to use a percentage of the money you earn and market your film to get it out in the open and in the public. The harder you work, the faster you see the fruits of your labor. It does pay off.
CULT CRITIC – Finally, can you tell us about your future plans? What do you have installed next?
RICHARD: As for my future plans, I am going to get my MFA at American University. I will definitely be making more movies there and I may even come back to Manhattanville College to shoot a horror short film sequel.