We may be in the middle of a period in history straight out of a horror film but the pandemic has not stopped FrightFest which is back in 2020 in a new online form and bringing the best new horror from across the globe to stream exclusively into your homes. Our exclusive interview feature Five FrightFest Facts From… is also back quizzing the talent behind the terror and giving you an added insight. Below we hear from Francesco Giannini director of Hall and you can read more FrightFest Facts from 2020 and beyond by clicking HERE.
1. Tell us about your film?
“Hall” tells the story of scattered victims who are thrust into the fight of their lives, when a hotel hallway is ravaged by a mysterious virus. Hall is a mystery, suspense-horror with a touch of sci-fi. It has a mix of aesthetic, visual and story elements, combined with a creative fusion of horror genres. I wanted to bridge the gaps between gore, psychological family drama and jump scares, in a unique blend of arthouse approach. I’ve been told it presents a fresh tone to what we have been exposed to in the last little while.
One of the sub-themes explored in the film is domestic abuse. With this story, I would like the audience to receive a few take-aways such as becoming aware and attentive of their actions in a relationship especially when kids are part of their life. Everything we do has an impact on our children. If one is in a toxic relationship, he/she should find the mental strength to get out from it. No one deserves to be subjected to domestic violence either verbally or physically. No one needs to stay in an undesirable situation no matter what the circumstances are. People suffer and get hurt like the characters in Hall. The virus is a metaphor to the harm that one can receive from a toxic and abusive relationship if this one doesn’t find a way out.
The story of Hall is very relevant to contemporary society, and the COVID-19 pandemic. I would also like the audience to be open to the idea that pandemics are not just caused by nature or a lack of care from humanity. We should be receptive to the idea that it could happen for other purposes.
Fearing the population allows more government control especially with the support of the media. Do not believe everything you hear on TV. Virus contagions could be controlled and intentionally fabricated if the reasons were valid for the people provoking its spread. Not that I agree with such actions if they were to be true, but I do not trust and take everything seriously I hear on television.
It’s actually a complete coincidence that our film is coming out at the same time as this unfortunate crisis. Subconsciously the themes and ideas I express in Hall have been questioned and thought about over the years. I never thought that the fictional story we created would become a reflection of reality in such a short time between the release of the film and the pandemic occurring right now.
As a creator and filmmaker, some of my ideas expressed in films come from my subconscious that corresponds to the human history and historical events. I think our society is reflected through cinema, and cinema is a reflection of our society. Even before some of the historically catastrophic events happened, there already were films that had projected similar scenes in advance.
Inspirations for “Hall” comes from a variety of films over the years: Watching “Hall” you will feel the aesthetics, styles and tones from horror films such as – The Shinning, Hitchcock’s films, Citizen Kane, and more modern films such as Vacancy, Phone-booth & Saw.
2. How did you get into making horror movies?
My brother and I have been making skits in our parents’ basement since we were kids. From original content, reenactments of other films, music performances, we were artists at heart since the beginning. In some of those skits, we loved portraying the Michael Myers’ character from the HALLOWEEN franchise, which is the one of the first horror films that inspired me to explore the horror genre. Other films that were an introduction to the horror genre and inspired me to pursue making horror were films such as, THE BLOB (remake), Frightnight, House, Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play and many more. The passion for directing has always been part of me, and it just evolved overtime. I believe it was when I watched the movie “Ghostbusters” in the late 80’s that I knew I wanted to become a filmmaker. Although I have explored other genres like comedy and drama and want to explore them more over the years, the horror genre has been my favorite. On numerous occasions, I built a haunted house using my parents home during Halloween to entertain the kids from the neighbourhood. I got all my friends to come participate and play different characters from all classic horror films. The house was a great success and we had hundreds of people attend. It was obvious that creating horror was in my blood.
3. What film would you love to see screened at FrightFest and why?
I would say The Fly (1986). I think it’s a masterpiece of horror/Sci-fi and an iconic film for Canadian director, David Cronenberg and a stepping stone for Canadian horror filmmakers.
4. If you could create your own award to give at the FrightFest, what would it be and why?
Best film for A First-Time Feature Film Director. We all know the challenges involved and how difficult it is to make your first feature film. This is an award that should be included for all festivals.
5. If your life was made into a horror film, what would it be called and who would play the starring role?
The Camelian. The starring role would be Shia LaBeouf.
Hall screens August 30, 2020, 6:00 – 8:00 PM and you can find out more HERE