Q&A with Breakout Filmmaker
Written By ~ Nick R. Murphy
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Writer/director Sasha Sibley visits Samera Entertainment ~ Support Indie Flix to talk about his upcoming film THE BOX from Midnight Releasing.
Q: Your new film THE BOX (on VOD February 2nd) looks like a pretty trippy existential thriller. What did you research to create this story?
A: I think I was pretty obsessed with existential philosophy at the time. Listening to lectures on Dostoevsky. I was also living alone for the first time in Los Angeles after moving from the East Coast. I was temporarily living in a dorm in college by myself because my roommate had left for personal reasons. I had a lot of time alone to think and somehow that manifested into a movie about feeling trapped in a box. No idea why.
Q: The themes of The Box center on the tortured psyche of an ambitious actor. As a filmmaker, how do you balance the duality between the egotism and the humility of a creative mind?
A: I like the phrasing of that question because it definitely is a balance. I wouldn’t necessarily say egotism is an ideal, but I think you have to have a certain amount of hubris to think you can do this job. And then, of course, when things inevitably go wrong, it’s a tremendously humbling experience. You carry that with you, hopefully, into the next film. And the humility to see and admit your mistakes is the most important thing.
Q: What are your pet peeves when it comes to modern movies? Are there any trends in films nowadays that get on your nerves? Is there anything you'd like to subvert or rail against in your films to make them stand out from the pack?
A: I’m not a huge fan of ‘trends’ in general, because in my experience, following trends means you’re guaranteed to be retreading someone else’s work. I think originality is the hard part. People say there isn’t enough originality in Hollywood these days, but I disagree. There are plenty of original ideas out there, they just don’t get green-lit as often, especially at the higher budget levels.
Q: What's your favorite streaming service and what sets it apart from the other digital giants taking over the industry?
A: I’m partial to Amazon Prime right now, just because I’m starting to see so many great movies pop up for free. I always just go where the good movies are. In fact, I’m kind of old school sometimes, because as recently as 2019, I was still checking out DVDs from my school library. I mean, it’s free, so why not?
Q: Who are the filmmakers and writers that most inspire you, and what lessons have you taken from them to apply to your own work?
A: There’s too many to name, but I’m a huge fan of the 80s and 90s genre blockbusters. There were so many pioneers back then. James Cameron, Spielberg, Zemeckis, Ridley Scott. Jerry Bruckheimer movies. Eventually I want to make films like that. Large-scale action. Fun adventure movies. I’ve always liked Christopher Nolan and Gore Verbinski’s work too. But I can enjoy anything, you know? For this film, I found influences as disparate as Wong Kar-Wai, David Lynch, Billy Wilder, Fellini, etc. I try not to overthink the influence part. I think it’s important not to over-analyze yourself.
Q: Do you have a list of "Dream Actors" you'd love to direct? Have you ever written a character with a specific A-Lister in mind?
A: There’s so many. Christian Bale is one of my favorites. Gary Oldman is fantastic. Let’s be honest, I’d be honored to work with anyone at that level. I try not to write roles for actors, especially ones I probably can’t get. I actually, much more often, write people I know. When you’re looking for the voice of the character, and one of your friends pops to mind, I think it helps you flesh it out. I haven’t tried doing that with a famous person yet.
Q: How would you define your own particular style of film-making? What kinds of audiences or demographics do you want to draw with your style?
A: That’s a tough question to answer. I think I’m still finding my style. Of course, one day I want to be the action/adventure blockbuster guy. So there’s that. Right now, I’ve been very into the horror scene. It’s just such an awesome community and the expectations are high, but they’re not as nit-picky sometimes, if that makes sense. It’s more about the work as a whole. Does it scare you? Are you thrilled, entertained? I want to entertain people, ultimately. That’s my main goal.
Q: What's next for you after The Box's release? Has the COVID pandemic influenced your latest work in any way?
A: I think it’s impossible for it not to. I’m lucky, in the sense that both of my current projects were wrapped before COVID. So, I’ve just been doing a lot of post-production on The Box and The Painted (my short film) and doing writing as well. Taking some classes. Trying to make the best of it, you know? After this release Ramin and I are developing another feature. It’s under wraps right now, so I can’t say too much. But it’s a horror film, and I think it’s the most intense thing I’ve ever written.
Awesome answers. It's been great talking to you, Sasha. Thank you for taking the time out to speak with us. We wish you great success for a long time to come.
THE BOX now Available from Midnight Releasing.
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ABOUT MIDNIGHT RELEASING
Founded in 2009 by Darrin Ramage, Midnight Releasing is a premiere home entertainment distributor of quality independent genre films released only in the North America Region. With a following of thousands on social media outlets, Midnight Releasing continues to draw attention with each release.
ABOUT SAMERA ENTERTAINMENT
Sharry Flaherty CEO and Founder of Samera Entertainment is a seasoned and well known film producer and Acquisitions Executive for Midnight Releasing. Samera consults with filmmakers on their projects that are either in development, pre-production or post-production. Filmmakers are welcome to submit their horror and thriller titles to:
SameraEntertainment@Gmail.com or AcortAcquistions@Gmail.com