Sometimes you go through a bunch of mediocre short films until you finally hit a gem and director Tim Egan’s Curve is certainly that. Curve is a film that causes the audience to ask so many questions right from the beginning and more at the very end. Lara Jane Turner stars in this short horror film as she wakes up trapped on a smooth and curved surface and where below her is a dark abyss with creepy sounds. It is such a great film debut for director Tim Egan as this film has been selected to many horror film festivals across the world with such a great concept for a short. The film has no dialogue but stirs up so much emotion because of Laura Jane Turner’s body language as she tries her best to escape her predicament. Curve has to be one of the best shorts we have seen here on FERNTV this year and we got an exclusive interview here on FERNTV with Tim Egan who discusses his directorial debut and the amazing acting from Laura Jane Turner.
FERNTV: Tell us how the idea for this film came about? It seems like this is someone’s worst nightmare or bad dream.
Tim: The idea just kind of arrived one morning, and the script was done in a few hours. I liked the idea of placing someone in a life or death situation that was slow. The smallest possible distance between life and death, the friction under your palms. I wanted something that allowed itself to work as an allegory for any struggle, particularly the mental ones we face that other people don’t see. The constant battle to hold on to any purchase, to keep yourself above the abyss. Vertigo is a universal fear, hits everyone on a very primal level. So yeah, it plays like a nightmare we all recognize.
FERNTV: What is it like to be received well in a lot of horror movie festivals around the well and of course that there is no monster or killer in this film to make it a horror rather it is something completely unknown which is why everyone is giving this film great praise?
Tim: Yeah, the response to the film has been overwhelming and incredible. I think having the environment be the villain does help it stand out a little, makes it stick in the brain. I find that if a film answers every one of the questions is raises it leaves me nowhere to go and I quickly stop thinking about it. I wanted something that would let people run with the idea, come to their own conclusions. Those are the ones I keep thinking about long after I see them. I’ve loved hearing the many different interpretations people have come back with after seeing the film.
FERNTV: Tell us a little bit about the casting process and how Laura Jane Turner was the best selection for this role?
Tim: Casting was a huge amount of fun because we weren’t constrained by much, we were free to look for the best performer. We looked at a wide range of women for the role, took each through a very odd audition process. Because the script had no dialogue, we auditioned with physical games and mime, got them to climb stairs and walls as if they hung over a bottomless abyss. We were instantly impressed with how Laura was able to physically tell the story without the need for dialogue. You were immediately connected to her and her plight and she never lets you go. We didn’t make it easy for her, the role required her to be strapped several metres in the air on an incredibly uncomfortable surface, while being drenched in cold water. Hopefully, that made it easier for her to get into the moment. At least, that’s what I tell myself so I don’t feel guilty for torturing my actress.
FERNTV: What was the biggest challenge in making Curve?
Tim: The biggest challenge at every turn was selling the authenticity of the situation. You have to believe this is real or the fear and vertigo just disappears. This is a combination of all elements, starting with an authentic performance, running through set design, cinematography and editing, capped with sound design and visual effects. Every decision stemmed from that premise. Do you feel connected with Laura, do you share her fear?
FERNTV: Were there any immediate influences in this film? The film reminded me of a scene in The Return of the Jedi but I could be wrong.
Tim: The Sarlacc pit? I’m guessing that’s what you are thinking of? That’s fascinating, I’d never thought of that. Influences are a hard thing because you have to work backwards, they aren’t in your mind as you are writing, but they become obvious after you are finished. I remember seeing a short from Spain many years ago called Avatar, a life or death battle between a quadriplegic and his carer. Because of the protagonists’ condition the smallest thing could become life threatening. A slip in the bathtub; fatal. I loved the incredibly high stakes based on such minute interactions.
FERNTV: Why is there such a big demand for short horror films and why are they sometimes better to watch then features?
I think horror suits the short format so well because fear can be so immediate. We need very little stimulus to tap into that place. Other genres can require time to build and develop themes and character but horror can go right for the jugular in seconds. Also horror, like science fiction, can pose large questions quickly. And sometimes it’s more what they leave you with as you walk away from the theatre. A short horror can still be there hours later as you are trying to sleep.
FERNTV: Tell us a little bit about Lodestone Films and what the climate is when it comes to the Australian film industry?
Well, right now Lodestone Films is just me, and Curve is my first film. Hopefully we add some more credits to the roster soon, but right now the company Christmas party is a lonesome affair. And as far as the climate in the Australian film industry it’s not something I really feel qualified to talk about, I’ve always just made films with my friends, never felt part of the industry as such. But there’s always good filmmakers coming through and talent emerging. We’ve seen some amazing Australian films appear recently, especially in genre.
FERNTV: Can you tell us here on FERNTV what is coming up next for you?
Have returned to writing to try and prepare my first feature. Sadly this script can’t be produced in one afternoon, but I’m really enjoying getting back to the purely imaginative and theoretical side of filmmaking. The practicalities of how do we possibly make it can come later. I hope to have a first draft together early in the new year and can spend 2017 looking at ways to get it made. It will be similar to Curve, could be said to exist in the same universe, but a new concept and approach. Right now, it’s a pile of notes and half written scenes. . . . I should really get back to work.