JACK THOMAS SMITH
“I would probably put a bullet in my head if I was asked to do an episode of Friends.”
Award-winning director, Jack Thomas Smith, took time out of his busy schedule to have a chat with us about his new dark film INFLICTION, which is a disturbing assembled footage film that documents two brothers’ 2011 murder spree in North Carolina and the horrific truth behind their actions.
His debut film, DISORDER, was released by Universal/Vivendi and Warner Brothers and he doesn’t stop there with the horror/thriller genre…
How did you get into filming?
It’s just something I have always done. It started when I was a little kid. I was one of the kids at the opening night when Star Wars came out a long time ago. ‘In a galaxy far far away’. Honestly, I was about 8 years old and it completely changed my life. The opening scene of the small ship and then the big ship. I knew then I wanted to make films. Then a year later, I read The Shining by Stephen King and that’s when I knew I wanted to write horror. As I grew older, it was a kind of marriage between writing and making horror films.
Does writing horror/thriller come natural to you?
It does come natural. It’s not all I want to ever write and I do have a couple of projects in my head that are more drama. Infliction is really a psycho-drama that has horror elements to it. But for the most part, it is a drama, just a very brutal drama. Writing horror does comes natural. I don’t know why my brain is wired like that. I do love comedy but that just doesn’t come natural to write it, but thrillers do.
Is Infliction based on real events?
It’s a movie with elements of truth in it. I don’t want to say the film is ‘based’ on real events but it is loosely based on a person that I once knew. She came from a very abusive family and I took from it. I saw the cycle of abuse in her family and Infliction deals with the long term effects of child abuse – not just to the child, but to the society as a whole. That being said, I don’t want to lie and say it’s based on it. If you turned on the news every day you would see something horrible in the world. And that is what happens in Infliction.
Is Infliction available for UK audiences?
I don’t know yet. I am working on it and I do have a foreign sales agent who has been distributing the film around the world. It is available in the US and Canada at the moment, but I am hoping to spread the word. Honest to God, I feel that the people of the UK just get cinema. I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead. And I see people like Andrew Lincoln and I just think that he is an actor not a celebrity. Infliction is so story and character driven and I know that anywhere in the world, the UK will get it and I would love to get it there.
What is your next project?
My next project is In the Dark, which is a bigger budget film and a traditional action/horror film. It’s based on a small island in Michigan that has been overrun by zombie/vampire creatures, leaving a small group of survivors, armed with guns blowing the crap out the creatures as they try to escape to the mainland. That’s just the popcorn version. There are strong underlying themes and it deals with immorality. One of the characters paralyses his best friend, another is cheating on his wife and the zombie/vampires thirst for killing is sort of almost a drug addiction. The film connects the protagonists with the antagonists. It is full of action and will keep you on the edge of your seat, but it is also has some pretty deep themes.
Who is your directorial influence?
I’m a big fan of John Carpenter and Brian de Palma and a huge Martin Scorsese fan. I’m not all horror. My all-time favourite film is Goodfellas. It is just an amazing film and sort of documentary-like. It’s a movie/documentary. The narrations and the long wide steady cam, dialogue, the acting, cinematography. Everything. It is just a perfect film.
Are you looking forward to the new Star Wars?
Here’s the thing. I hated the new three. I’m a huge Star Wars guy and personally Empire is the best. Jedi was too little with the Ewoks. I did not like the new three and didn’t have a lot of hope for this one from the teaser trailer. Then the new trailer came out it and it looks badass and I was like ‘I’m so there!’ With Hans and Chewbacca at the end and with Luke doing the narration, it just looks great. I probably watched the trailer 10 times in the row.
Would you ever consider directing for TV?
I would love to go into TV, but it has to be the right project. There are a load of very cinematic TV these days, like The Walking Dead, The Sopranos, Penny Dreadful. I would probably put a bullet in my head if I was asked to do an episode of Friends. I’m not a big sitcom guy. If I ever did TV, it would have to be cinematic TV. We seem to be in a golden age of TV now. We had that back in the 70s with movies, with the likes of de Palma, Woody Allen, Spielberg and they made their films almost look like art house films. It was actually the perfect time for film making and that’s what going on with TV. These cinematic shows are almost like art house TV. It really started with The Sopranos and ironically where it was filmed is the part of New Jersey where I live. It had that feel like it was very cinematic and they didn’t fake LA to look like New Jersey, they shot on location.
How are you planning to fund your next film?
With In The Dark I am meeting with investors. But we have set up an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign but I don’t have a lot of faith in crowdfunding. I am hitting it up on Twitter, sending our press releases. Ideally if I could get some investors in to secure our names, that’s kind of the goal. I hear of films that get millions of dollars through crowd-funding, but I don’t believe it. Are the big studios actually doing this to create a buzz? When Paranormal Activity everyone was saying that it is just a little indie film, but it wasn’t. Dreamworks were behind it. It wouldn’t surprise me if these crowd-funding campaigns are being bumped loads of money into it by studios to make a buzz. I am too logical and I don’t know how I am going to hit this mark.
We are looking to raise $185,000 which will cover deposits for named stars and the start-up capital will also be used to begin Pre-Production which includes storyboards, location scouting, legal fees, publicity etc. There are numerous perks being offered, so there are opportunities to be in the film as a zombie/vampire extra as well as tickets to the premiere and after party.
Take a look at the official trailer for INFLICTION below:
INFLICTION is out on DVD and VOD in the US and Canada.
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