“We were part of something that was an incredibly unique and a powerful experience.”
Hi all, how are you doing?
Richard and Nousha: We’re fine. Thanks a lot for asking.
Congrats with Souls of Totality. It’s a very dark film and a mysterious story. How did you come up with the story?
Richard: We had a baby and we had a babysitter who was from Oregon. She told us that in about a month and a half, there was going to be an eclipse over where he family lives in Oregon (America). She asked us if we would love to come up and see the eclipse. Some friends of ours who are writers, Ben Bolea and Kate Trefry, said that they wanted to come with us and see the eclipse as well. We had dinner with Tom Cullen and his girlfriend, Tatiana Maslany, to talk about this film and they also wanted to see the eclipse. During that dinner, we were there with the writer, actors and I’m a director so why not make a film about this. Tatiana asked what the movie was about and I said I had no idea. I just wanted it to end with a sequence of the real solar eclipse. We drove up to Oregon to find a location. The babysitter’s father drove us around and we found a farm and I took photographs of that. We sent these to the writers and a few weeks later they gave us the script. The location and the idea formed the story and the writers came up with it. Then it was two weeks until the eclipse. We tried to arrange the money, got the entire crew together and get some amazing producers in America to work with us and we did it. It was the most amazing experience.
How do you approach potential investors for the money with a story like this?
Richard: We just called all the people we’ve ever met and asked them if they would like to become part of this. For the eclipse in America, all the hotels and flights were sold out. We pitched this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and they financially helped us out while having the most beautiful time. Some of them even said that they didn’t mind about the money.
Nousha: The most expensive thing by far was arranging everyone’s flights as it was so expensive because of the solar eclipse.
Richard: Only half the crew took a flight, some of them took a bus.
How difficult was it then to film during the eclipse?
Richard: On the NARA website you could put in where you were and your GPS location, it told you the beginning and the end of the eclipse. We handled the sequences as a dance choreography. In 10 seconds you have to be there, the 10 seconds after you have to be there. It was a four-minute take planned every 10 seconds. Tatiana used to be a dancer so she rehearsed the choreography. Nousha was one of the bodies under the blanket near the end of the film and all the crew members under the blankets had holes in the blankets so that they could see the eclipse. Afterward, everyone cried their eyes out because we had to overcome that wave of emotions that we were part of something that was an incredibly unique and powerful experience. It was something that we will never forget. Our hope is that this will come across the audience while watching our film.
Do you already have other upcoming projects?
Richard: Well my next feature is going to be set in Japan so I’m going to immerse myself into Japanese movies. It will be called The True Story of Sadako Sasaki and it’s about a young girl in Japan who survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and who sadly has leukaemia ten years later due to the radiation poisoning of the bomb. She heard a myth that if you fold a thousand of the origami papers you will be granted a wish. Her wish is to get better.
Ok, looking forward to that! Good luck and thank you so much for the interview.
Liselotte Vanophem, Film and Celebrity Reporter – Just Celebrity Magazine