Today’s interview is with Shawn Angelski. Shawn has produced a number of films, particularly in horror and comedy. One of his most recent films is Grave Encounters 2, a sequel to Grave Encounters one. For more on Grave Encounters 2, check out Twin Engines Film’s Website . For more on Shawn, go to his imdb profile.
Justin Samuels: Do you have a preference for horror films, or did certain projects just come your way at the right time?
Shawn Angelski: Not really. It is more about people for me and good business. For most of the films I have been a Producer on, I was a hired gun (Line Producer). In other word it was a job. So I just came in to prep and shoot, then moved on.
Grave Encounters was the first film I went out on my own with The Vicious Brothers and created from start to finish. Then of course there is Grave Encounters 2. We are working on our 3rd Feature film with the Vicious Brothers called The Visitors, and it’s a Sci-Fi Horror film. We shoot June/July.
Of course I love Comedy’s and other Genre’s, and I’m sure I’ll put together films that are not horror. This is just the start of my career.
JS: Have any of your films been screened by big festivals internationally?
SA: Grave Encounters screened at festivals all over the world. The Directors won Best Director at the Bram Stokers fest in the UK, and it premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.
JS: Obviously your films are shown in Canada, where you’re from. Grave Encounters 2 was distributed by New York’s Tribeca Film, and you have at least one other film distributed by an US distributor. What markets are you popular in?
SA: Funny enough, Grave Encounters did zero business in Canada. The Canadian distributor botched the release,and we’re kinda not known very well here. It was a huge success in the US, UK, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Peru. I could go on, it has been released all over the world. Grave Encounters 2 was also released and is being released this summer in markets all over the world. Our new Film, The Visitors already has distribution in over 40 countries and we haven’t even shot it yet.
JS: Where can audiences finds your films? On dvd, or are they also digital? Can fans download them from Amazon or view on Netflix?
SA: It depends on what Country of course, but in the US & Canada you can still watch Grave Encounters on Netflix, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon, on DVD and on Superchannel in Canada. Grave Encounters 2 is also available. Anchor Bay did a great DVD release in Canada for Grave Encounters 2, so you can even buy it in Wallmart as well as Future shop, Redbox, Bestbuy.
JS:What is the Grave Encounter series about?
SA: Grave Encounters was basically what would happen if Ghost hunting shows actually saw ghosts. It’s about an amateur Ghost hunting TV crew, filming an episode of their show in an abandoned Hospital. Things go very bad for them. You have to watch it to get the rest.
JS: Grave Encounter 2 was director John Poliquin’s first feature film. What was it like working with him?
SA: We brought JP on board, because we had worked with him on music videos, and he’s similar to the Vicious Brothers in his abilities to blend Visual FX into his work in smart ways. So it was not our first time working with him. He was great to work with.
JS: Has the internet area affected your business? If so, how?
SA: Good and bad I guess. We have a huge online following of fans of Grave Encounters, so we’ve got almost a built in fan base for our films that we will continue to foster. The bad side is the massive amounts of piracy and torrent sites. I’m on youtube weekly taking down full versions of the movie. I guess on one hand it is flattering that so many people want to watch the film, on the other hand it becomes hard for us to continue financing movies at this level. We put a lot into the making of these movies, and we are not a studio, so it affects us.
JS: How easy or difficult is it to get Canadian films distributed abroad? Are there any markets that are easier to get into than others?
SA: I think Canadian Drama’s and comedies are very difficult unless you have a name brand star. Comedy doesn’t translate the same depending on culture/language. We have not had a problem getting our movies abroad, actually we have a harder time getting our movies out in Canada.
JS: How did you learn filmmaking in the first place?
SA: I started when I was 19, met a guy who had a script and a small amount of money. We just went out and made a movie. Of course it turned out not so great, but it was a start and a huge learning experience. Then I worked my way up from the bottom as a PA in Commercials, and shortly after started Producing Music videos, commercials and TV. I worked for many years as a Production Manager and a Line Producer.
JS: The Hot Karl was your first film. What was it like doing it? What was it about?
SA: That was a learning experience, and we’ll leave it at that. You’ll never see that movie.
JS:As far as work is concerned, are you based out of Vancouver or Toronto?
SA: I’m based in Vancouver right now, but I travel and shoot anywhere. That’s what’s so great about the business. I travel to all of the sales markets as well.
JS: Is the Canadian film industry located more in one of those cities (Toronto or Vancouver), or even distributed between the two?
SA: Both Cities and it varies in what types of productions. Vancouver is largely a service industry, but there are a lot of great Indie filmmakers out here. I mainly focus on my own projects, so I couldn’t tell you what is happening out there.
JS: Are there any other projects we should be on the look out from you?
SA: The Visitors. It is an Alien Abduction Film written by The Vicious Brothers. Starring Freddie Stroma (Harry Potter, Pitch Perfect), and Gill Bellows (Shawshank redemption, House at the end of the street) plus some other young actors on the rise.
We shoot June – July, so right now. It will come out next year, and it’s going to be something special. Nothing like Grave Encounters… Look for the trailer later this year.