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Wounds | An Interview with Richard Schertzer

Interviewed by Sabarno Sinha

Firstly, I would like to congratulate the director for making such a layered film which deals
with different kinds of conflicts and divides in such a short span of time.

Cult Critic – My first question would be: what is the significance of the plague? Is it a reminder of COVID-19 or something else?

Richard – The significance of the plague is reminiscent of COVID-19 and
proves to be a mirror reflection of the pandemic.

Cult Critic – What would you say has been your inspiration for this story?

Richard – Most of the inspiration of the story was from COVID-19 and my previous short film “Distance” which had a similar theme and took place in the forest.

Cult Critic – There must have been several challenges as you had to shoot during the pandemic. Could you tell us about what you had to go through?

Richard – I was working on a tight schedule and I used my school’s, Howard University’s, equipment and it took us a whole day to shoot this one movie and then I had to return the equipment. I was keeping said equipment in my house and had to lug it into my car.

Cult Critic – There is obviously some politics involved in having a white man and a black woman play the role of the protagonists in the story. Could you please elaborate on this choice?

Richard – There was no politics involved in the casting. I chose the cast based on talent, and how I envisioned the movie to be.

Cult Critic – Forests have been traditionally associated (since Shakespeare’s times) with a place of respite where one can be safe from the sorrows and miseries outside. Could this be a reason for the choice of your location or was it something else?

Richard – The forest was chosen, like in Distance, for loneliness and solitude in a depressing tone for the film.

Cult Critic – Could you tell our audience why you chose to have the black woman be a mute person? What is its significance in the story?

Richard – The black woman is mute because there is something special about her even if it is never confirmed in the course of the story. Also because silence does speak volumes.

Cult Critic – “Where there is smoke, there is fire” is a proverb we have commonly heard. So, there is hope for the two at the end as they can meet other people, as I understand it. But what do you reckon happens? What does the smoke exactly mean for them?

Richard – The smoke means that there are people out there and they are not
the only ones out there. It’s possible that they will see another faction of people elsewhere.

Cult Critic – The way the music has been used in this film reminds me of Stanley Kubrick who used long sequences of music without visuals before and/or after the film. Have you been inspired by this as well? What was your purpose in using this technique?

Richard – It wasn’t necessarily Kubrick that inspired me but it was a technique that I was fond of as I used it to convey the calm before the storm.

Cult Critic – Even though we usually find people whose families died in plagues wishing death upon themselves as well and giving up instead of trying to flee it and live another day, we see that your protagonists try to survive. Is this the message that you wanted to share? If so, why?

Richard – The message that I wanted to share was comradery. Despite people’s differences, in tough times we all need to learn to come together because there is only one planet Earth.

Cult Critic – The colours used in the film are primarily cold. Does this have any meaning in the film?

Richard – Some of the colors are cold and others are warm. This usually shifts throughout the tone of the film.

Cult Critic – I found the score extremely poignant and relevant. What are the things that your music composer kept in mind while creating the score?

Richard – Well, I composed the score and I wanted to keep it simple and not to do anything to distract from the film. It was a simple movie and I wanted to make a simple score.

Cult Critic – Finally, I would love to know why you chose the title “Wounds” for your short. Whose wounds and which wounds do you refer to?

Richard – I called the film “Wounds” because at the end of the film, Anthony falls and hits his head and Makayla is forced to try and heal his wounds.

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