Director Ian Kessner delivered in his inaugural full-length feature, Lost After Dark (review), an 80’s throwback to the heyday of the slasher phenomenon, and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us about the film, its conception, and what he’s got planned for the future, so settle in and enjoy!
DC: Can you just give us a brief outline of the story and how you came to direct the film?
IK: Sure. The film is set in 1984 and was written as an homage to the golden age of slasher films in the early 80’s. It revolves around a group of high school seniors who discover an old house that belongs to a cannibal killer from an urban legend. Things go downhill fast for them after that. I came to direct the film by first finding and optioning the first draft off my co-writer on the project, Bo Ransdell. Then we wrote a bunch of drafts together, after which I got the script to producer Eric Gozlan and his company, Goldrush Entertainment. Eric brought in a Northern Ontario film fund that helped subsidize the film. Together Eric and I then raised the private equity needed to complete the financing. Finally we got into production, and I was able to focus on being creative and get to directing, which for me is the most fulfilling part.
DC: What can fans of the great 80’s slasher films expect from this movie?
IK: They can expect to see an old wine packaged in a new bottle. Lost After Dark takes all the familiar genre tropes and then subverts them so it feels fresh. We tried to capture the look and spirit of slasher classics like Friday the 13th, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween, Happy Birthday to Me, My Bloody Valentine, and so many others whose DNA populate this film. It’s really a love letter to them. And if past screenings are any indication, fans will laugh and scream and have a really fun time.
DC: You’ve written, produced, and directed – which do you feel is the most personally rewarding?
IK: Writing brings its own pleasure. You get to lose yourself in another world. Producing is a thankless job. I only do it because I have to. I’m still an indie filmmaker, and nobody is offering me director-for-hire gigs on fully financed features… yet. I also like being a producer so I know what toys I’ll have at my disposal on set and there’s no surprises. Directing is my true passion. I graduated with my Masters in directing from the American Film Institute, and I’ve been working toward directing my first feature ever since. So us discussing Lost After Dark, which is now available across North America, feels like a dream. Equal parts amazing and surreal, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
DC: After the release of Lost After Dark, what can we look forward to from you in the future?
IK: Bo and have a few projects percolating. One is a remake of the 80’s cult classic Waxwork, and we have the original writer/director Anthony Hickox on board to exec produce it. Now we have to get Lionsgate on board. There’s also a script for Lost After Dark 2, which is a sequel to this film, only set in the 90’s against the background of the grunge rock scene. If the first one does well enough, we can get that made, so go buy or rent it today! Then there’s a couple of other goodies, but I need to keep them under wraps until they are further along. I’d like to add that if people see the film and like it, they can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and please post and share the good buzz with their friends. Little films like ours need all the support from the fans they can get!