Movie : White Eyes
Director: Jeffrey Brown
Hello Jeff, welcome to Scenema! White Eyes is very gripping!
I’d like to know How you came up with this story.
Hello Scenema! We here at Seacliff Pictures and No Frames thank you for having us and recognizing our film!
The “White Eyes” that you have seen is a short film that is being used as a proof of concept for a feature film that we hope to one day get made. The idea really came from what scares me. Being in a room with someone that you don’t know is there is a scary thought and then to have a feeling that that person wants to kill you is terrifying to me. One day I was watching “Batman: The Animated Series” (Yes, I like a good cartoon) and I noticed that Batman played a lot in the shadows and was shown as a dark figure and criminals would only see his eyes. That really stuck with me, I started to think what if this figure wasn’t chasing down criminals and showed up to murder people. From there it was really fun to start and make the lore that became “White Eyes”, who is he? Why is he there? How did he get there? The short film gives you a taste of these elements that we hope will have audiences wanting to know more.
Jeffrey, what is your inspiration behind making movies?
I really love everything about filmmaking. I love the collaborative process that it is. Here is an art form that really encompasses all art forms. Photography, writing, acting, design, music you name it! Being surrounded by artists all working to tell a great story is something I really enjoy. And then you get to present your work to an audience and give them a small escape from their daily lives to get lost in a world that you and your crew have made. Ask anyone that knows me, if I’m not with Family and Friends or on a set, I want to be in a movie theatre. Ever since I can remember I loved the movies and getting lost in the screen. If I’m able to give that feeling back to someone else, then I would be a happy person.
Which directors do you look upto?
What a tough question to answer. There is so much out there to learn from and enjoy. Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick all masters of their trade. Today you have amazing talents like Denis Villeneuve, James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and of course Christopher Nolan. But I would have to say if you pinned me down to name one, I would have to go with Steven Spielberg. The guy just takes any genre and really hits it out the park. He basically directed my childhood and between him and his storytelling made me want to be a filmmaker. His first movie (TV Movie) “Duel” was also a about a crazy killer in a big rig chasing people, so he may have some inspiration with me trying a horror film first.
What kind of stories do you wish to tell more in the future?
Well first I would love to direct the “White Eyes” feature that we have written. After that I would love to make action/adventure movies. The one movie poster I have in my place is “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. I have other feature scripts written and really to go and they are mostly in the action/adventure realm. I feel when you are following a group of characters on a mission of sorts you can really get lost in the idea of what their thought process is and how they are reaching their goal.
The movie uses dark elements to show the struggle, which element stands out to you?
That is a really tough question to answer. I feel the entire crew did a really good job helping to tell this story. The make up team (Joey, Jackie and Yolisa) really brought Baboucarr to life as White Eyes and kept Acei’s make up continuity in line with her journey in the film. Hernan our Production Designer helped us create a great environment to play in. Mikko our Director of Photography really found ways with very little light to capture the feel of each scene. And then Daniel our Composer, he and I worked really hard coming up with the sound to heighten everyone’s work. So to answer your question, I don’t really feel that one thing stands out to me over another, but they all work really well together to tell the story.
What is your idea of filmmaking?
Filmmaking is the ultimate collaboration of all the disciplines in art. It’s putting a group of talented artists in a space and saying tell me a story using all your tools together. The best I can describe it to someone that has never been on set is, picture when you were in school, and you had to do a group project. You looked around the room, grabbed your friends and then tackled the project together. There was someone that probably did most of the work, someone that organized you and then a couple people that added their contributions along the way. Then you presented it to the class, and they all saw your work. Now you do that with a camera and a script and you’re a filmmaker.
The movie has pretty great scenes and shows how drastically everything changes. Jeffrey, I’d love to know which part of the film appeals most to you?
At the beginning of the story you have a confident woman who is a bit cocky about herself and probably controls most rooms she is in. Through the film she then gets into a situation that is so out of control and she has no idea what to do that at the very end you see this once confident woman actually beg for her life. At the end the score, amazingly done by Daniel Reguera, slows us down so we can really see her try and find a way to survive. I really liked the idea of that turn that happens to her, she goes from confident to scared to trying to survive to begging for her life, it’s a tough progression that Acei Martin our actress really pulled off well.
What do you consider to be evil?
I think before you can define what is evil you must know your definition of good, and then it’s the complete opposite. Good to me is selfless acts, protective and thoughtful of others. So that said evil would be selfish, destructive and harmful to others, wicked. Evil is a dark force that consumes a person or group that tries to impose its will on another person or group in order to gain a selfish outcome. White Eyes is no different, he is a destructive Demon that kills any target it is sent to eliminate to fill a blood thirst. Somehow Baboucarr Camera’s performance embodied that brilliantly.
What was your thought before preparing the script?
I looked at the feature script and said what would be a fun way to introduce this character while hopefully getting the attention of investors. When you watch the film, you can hopefully tell we had a good time. I mean over nights in New York City, stunts, running on fire escapes what more can you ask for! The real thought was I need to make this as something I would enjoy watching so if no one else likes it at least I do and I had fun doing it. Luckily, I am not the only one that has liked it and we are all really happy with the response we have received from the film.
Acei Martin did a great job as Angela! How was your casting procedure? Did you have the actors in mind or you gradually picked up your actors?
You are right, Acei did an amazing job! We tossed her, threw her and slammed her and she always popped up with a big smile. The casting procedure was pretty long actually. First, I knew I wanted to use SAG actors, so I made sure I received all the correct paperwork so we would work with actors that had experience. Next, we put out the breakdowns and received an amazing response. About 1600 female actors sent in headshots for the role of Angela. I couldn’t believe it. From there we had people send in tapes and then I had about 20 in person casting sessions. I had them read the opening scene and then scream for their lives. It was a really fun day! Pretty much all of the women that came in were really great at the screaming, where Acei stood out was her take on the opening scene. She really got the mean spirited, confident woman. Which is really good acting since she couldn’t be more of a delight in person.
What do you enjoy doing the most? Writing a cinema or directing a cinema?
If I had to pick, I would say Directing. When you’re directing there is a group of people with you and its very interactive and fast paced. From pre-production through post there are a million decisions to be made and it’s a really fun collaborative process. Now writing does have its moments, there is no better feeling of when you figure out a scene or when a script is finished, but when those moments happen you are usually in a room alone giving a high-five to yourself.
What is cinema to you? Is there any actor you want to work with? If yes, who is it?
Cinema to me is the ultimate escape. Besides weddings and funerals where else can a group of strangers experience all the same feeling together, sad, happy, scared, excited. Its truly an amazing experience and I’m glad that Eadweard Muybridge filmed that horse in 1878 so we can have it today.
An actor to work with, I would say dead, it would have to be Cary Grant. He was just so great, Arsenic and Old Lace and Operation Pettycoat showed his great work in comedy and then all the films he did with Hitchcock were all just so great. Today I would love to work with Tom Hanks, his early films were all so much fun, Volunteers, Splash, The Man with One Red Shoe, Big and today he is still giving us such amazing performances and you can tell he still loves it.
Lastly Jeff, If you ever had to face the devil, what would you do?
Ask him what room all my friends are in and can I join them.