Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Interview: Carles Torrens Talks Apartment 143

Interview: Carles Torrens Talks 'Apartment 143' Independent, low-budget horror films can sometimes suffer from the strain of not having enough money to include the stunts needed to create a truly frightening story. But much like ‘Paranormal Activity’ proved, these films can still effectively feature horrifying stories and scares to frighten audiences. The new movie ‘Apartment 143? is one such low-budget paranormal horror film that uses clever camera tricks and a detailed backstory to shock viewers. ‘Apartment 143′ follows a team of parapsychologists, including Dr. Helzer (played by Michael O’Keefe), Ellen Keegan (portrayed by Fiona glascott) and Paul Ortega (portrayed by Rick Gonzalez), who begin investigating a series of anomalous phenomena in a newly occupied apartment. As the team begins interviewing and recording the tenants, including Alan White (played by Kai Lennox) and his children, Caitlin (portrayed by Gia Mantegna) and Benny (played by Damian Roman), the unexplained phenomena intensifies; the phone rings but no one’s on the other end, objects begin flying and there are extraordinary light emissions. Using state-of-the-art technology, including infra-red filming an magnetic field alteration meters, the team tries to find the reasoning behind the unexplained phenomena. Meanwhile, the White family, particularly Alan and Caitlin, have a tumultuous relationship, which the parapsychologists believe may be a contributing factor in the unusual happenings in the apartment. ‘Apartment 143′s director, Carles Torrens, generously took the time to speak with us over the phone recently to discuss what attracted him to the horror movie. The first-time feature film helmer also spoke about how he research and prepared to shoot the movie, and what kind of limitations and difficulties he experienced by shooting over a four-week period with multiple different cameras in an apartment. ShockYa (SY): You directed the new horror film ‘Apartment 143.’ How did you become involved in the film, and what was it about Rodrigo Cortés’ script that convinced you to take on the job? Carles Torrens (CT): Well, Rodrigo, the director of ‘Red Lights,’ who I’ve admired for a long time, is also a friend of mine, and Adrián Guerra, one of the other producers, another friend of mine, had this project. Rodrigo was interested in directing it himself at one point. But then he was sent off in another direction. So they had a script and an idea for it. The point of the project was an exploration of film, and take a traditional ghost story and tell it with a new set of narrative tools. At this point, there was no director attached. They liked my work, and thought I’d be a good helmer for it. They approached me with the project, and asked me if I wanted to do it. I said absolutely. SY: Rodrigo wrote the script after researching skeptical science, parascience, the supernatural and the metapsychic for another one of his films, ‘Red Lights.’ How much knowledge did you have of the supernatural before you signed on to direct the film? CT: Very little, actually. The film provides an in-depth, rigorous look at the scientific side of parapsychology, something I knew very little about. The screenplay had a lot of information, so just by reading the screenplay, you learn a lot. But I had to do a lot of research on the side. I had to buy a lot of books, and I read them extensively. I summarized the books, and put them into a reader’s digest version, and that’s what I gave the actors, to get caught up to speed. We all had to be on the same page, as far as parapsychology, and how much we had to know. So that was a new area for me, and I learned a lot. SY: You made your feature film directorial debut with ‘Apartment 143,’ after helming several short films, including ‘Frank’s First Love’ and ‘Coming to Town.’ What was the transition period like from the short films to ‘Apartment 143?’ CT: Well, ‘Frank’s First Love’ was a very simple short I made, and I made a few shorts after that. I also directed a few TV movies in between. The challenge here wasn’t necessarily the length of the film, it was just the way it was filmed. You’re used to a very traditional kind of film language and lighting and way of telling the story. Then I had to come up with a whole new set of tricks and narrative notes to tell the story. So it was like starting from scratch. I wasn’t lighting the way I usually light. I didn’t have dollies or Steadicams. So basically it felt like an experiment, more than directing a feature film. One big difference I did feel from all the stuff I’ve done previously is working with special effects. That’s something I had very little knowledge about. So it was a huge world that was opened up to me. It was a very challenging experience, but it was satisfactory at the end. Also, the producers were very supportive at all times. To continue reading this interview, please click here.

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