Harbinger Down the all practical FX monster movie from Studio ADI and Dark Dunes Productions is out tomorrow in a limited theater release but also on VOD! Let’s talk to Director Alec Gillis of Studio ADI and Producer Camille Balsamo (who also stars as Sadie the grandaughter of Captain Graff (Lance Henriksen) about the making of the film and its release.
Harbinger Down is out in theaters and VOD on August 7th, what has been the most difficult part of bringing it from concept to distribution?
Alec Gillis: No aspect of film making is easy, but I’d say the most difficult parts of any process are the ones you’re least familiar with. ‘Deliverables’, all the material one needs to provide distributors (from BTS video to trailers to Beta copies of the film) have been a real slog to fulfill. Though difficult, most everything else is fun by comparison!
You had a sold out premiere, has the reception to the movie been what you had hoped it would be?
Alec Gillis: Premiere night was a dream come true. We had not only cast and crew, but kickstarter pledgers as well. It could not have been a better reception for a film!
Camille Balsamo: The Kickstarter backers and fans of practical effects that have seen the film have been really happy with it, and that makes us able to withstand the bad reviews. Okay, we’ve only had bad review, but it’s tough to see someone pull apart your labor of love! I think that the folks who have been craving a throwback monster movie will be satisfied. It was ambitious to align ourselves with ALIEN and THE THING right out of the gate, but so far we’ve been getting great feedback from the people who helped us make this film and/or the people who this film was made for!
This movie is all about the practical effects. What have been some of the challenges of sticking so strictly to that format?
Camille Balsamo: In my opinion, none! Alec and Tom and StudioADI are such pros at what they do that it seemed like a breeze; it was like a little PFX playground for all of the ADI artists who haven’t had the chance to sink their teeth into a project like this in a while. That was my perception, the director/PFX master might have something else to say!
Alec Gillis: I’m proud that the pledgers got behind our mission to promote ‘real’ create FX. We were diligent about keeping our promise to create only practical creatures. CGI was used only as a tool to support the PFX. I think the audience will see the difference!
What inspired the look of the creature?
Alec Gillis: This creature uses the DNA of sea life as the building blocks of its ever-changing form. We drew on jellyfish, octopus, crustaceans and anything gross and disgusting to bring the creatures to life.
Let’s talk about the cast – you have the amazing Lance Henriksen, but also a lot of fresh new talent. What was the casting process like?
Alec Gillis: About half of the actors were folks I’d worked with over the years. I’ve known Lance since 1985, so I was thrilled to have the chance to direct him. Those I didn’t know were found through the normal casting process. The diversity of the cast was reflected in the span of ages as well as experience level.
Why did you choose to release Harbinger Down theatrically and to VOD on the same day?
Alec Gillis: That wasn’t really my choice. Once you sell the rights to a distribber, they pretty much do what they think is best.
Camille Balsamo: But it’s great that fans that don’t live in the ten cities where it’s releasing theatrically will be able to see it on the same day!
If someone had told you 5 years ago that you would have been directing Harbinger Down, would you have believed them?
Alec Gillis: This entire journey from Kickstarter to final feature film was an unexpected delight. It has been a real pleasure to get the support of PFX fans around the world. I’m thrilled to be a standard bearer for traditional FX as well as low budget film making!
Any upcoming projects you’d like the world to know about?
Alec Gillis: Not yet! I have a number of projects, but we’ll see what twists and turns those projects take on they’re way to becoming reality!
Camille Balsamo: I’m currently appearing on Stephen Bochco’s MURDER IN THE FIRST on TNT, as the computer forensics detective in the police unit. It’s a really awesome, gritty show and we’re in our second season. Check it out!
Harbinger Down is out in these theaters tomorrow August 7th.
U.S. Theaters Showing Harbinger Down:
Pelham, NY – Picturehouse
Torrance, CA – AMC Rolling Hills
Woodridge, IL – AMC Woodridge
Bensalem, PA – AMC Neshaminy
Mesquite, TX – AMC Mesquite
Antioch, CA – AMC Deer Valley
Houston, TX – AMC Studio
Alpharetta, GA – AMC Mansell Crossing
Southfield, MI – AMC Southfield
Phoenix, AZ – AMC Arizona Center
And on VOD: