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VIFF 2015 Interview: THE DEMOLISHER director Gabriel Carrer

by Jason Whyte

"Witness a brewing fold of violence and heart when a mind is pushed too far." Director Gabriel Carrer on THE DEMOLISHER which screens as part of the Altered States series at the 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival.

Is this your first VIFF experience and will you be in Vancouver to attend your screenings?

This is my very first VIFF experience. I have submitted lesser psychologically violent and calmer films in previous years, but it looks like they liked this one. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend because of pre-production, but the very talented Tianna Nori, who is one of the lead actors from the film will be present at the festival. She will be there for the Q&A I believe. It's in good hands!

I feel like we've met, but I don't think we have yet. So could you tell me a little bit about your background and how you got to this point?

I've been producing, writing and directing for over 10 years now. This is my fifth feature film. My very first film was made during my studies in theatre and English at the University of Guelph in early 2003 and it struck a note with Lions Gate and Alliance Atlantis and had a wide video store release. After its conception and overseeing the entire process of making a film, I fell in love with the act. The creative process was everything to me.

Your fifth feature film? Nice! So how did THE DEMOLISHER all come together?

This film came together out of anger and an experiment/exercise with production. I wanted to produce something highly visual and sonic that the audience could translate themselves after they saw it, but also something that had classical elements from the horror and vigilante genre. THE DEMOLISHER represents a key part of ourselves, a force and a fantasized element of invincibility that we all wish we had, emotionally or physically. It was important that the score/soundtrack of the film was produced before the film was shot. Glen Nicholls from the UK composed an incredible electronic pulsating soundtrack, and many of the scenes were designed around sonic element of the film. There was no hard script at the beginning. I collaborated with fellow Latefox members and producers Christian Burgess, Duane Frey, Andrew Bussey, Martin Buzora and Ry Barrett who also performed the role of The Demolisher. We would have these ritualistic meetings in a dark room with endless servings of ginger ale. The core story was always the same, but the dynamics of the characters were always discussed and what we could get away with shooting if we decided to do it ourselves, which we ended up doing. We wanted to have full control because the main character of The Demolisher was always in control. The entire movie was outlined on cue cards and mounted on large panels so we could visualize the film as a team. We could literally see the climax, the builds and the beats. A month before shooting I took the cue cards and typed out a 48 page script that also contained the most minimal dialogue. We jumped into production like fire dancing and did not blink. We always kept the core team small, including our post production which was fuelled by wizards George Flores who did all of the post sound, sound design and mixing, Angus McLellan who edited the entire film in Final Cut X, and Scott McInytre from SMAK Studios leading the charge and drowning the film in his marvellous visual spells.

Already by hearing this I can tell the drive that you have as a filmmaker. So what kept you going while you were making the movie?

Our team works very differently from most production teams and crews. We work on insanity. Our incredible cinematographer Martin Buzora and I become this insane little ball of unregulated fire when we work together. Either you get sucked into it and enjoy the ride with us, or shy away on the sidelines and watch us explode. Luckily we had a team that knew how we worked and wanted to be insane with us. We also had some new crazy space monkeys that joined our fire breathing escapades and they stayed for the ride.

Other than the product of insanity, we enjoy the typical liquids such as coffee, Rockstar energy drinks, water and volcano blood.

The biggest challenge of making THE DEMOLISHER...what was it?

The biggest challenge was not killing ourselves with all the locations. We had so many and the right mood, look and even time of day was important in shooting at them. With such a tight schedule, the amount and different types of locations always loomed over our heads. We succeeded by just keeping some days and shoots to a minimal with core crews and shot lists. Which worked out, because I love holding the camera in suspension.

Out of all of that, what was the I HAD SOMETHING or greatest moment out of making the movie?

My favourite moment was when a group of us were filming some of the chase sequences. There was one specific setup that had The Demolisher walking down a deserted city street. The city was quiet, there was not one car or person out. It was if the entire city had a curfew because they knew we were shooting in the streets. The energy and brute intimidation of this armoured man walking down a main desolate street with the church in the foreground was striking. The sound of his footsteps and body armour echoed off the pavement. So in post-production, we really wanted to amplify that moment. It was the most simplistic scene...a man walking. But it was done so well that it spoke volumes to the core attitude of the film.

For the aspiring filmmakers who read our site, I would love to know about the technical side of the film and its look and design.

The film was shot on the Arri Alexa. It was a decision myself and Martin did not doubt at all. It's simply the best camera. Its low light performance is simply the best, the way it captures skin tones is beautiful and its natural grain is even desirable. We needed a beast of a camera that could handle all the environments and have a consistent aesthetic with minimal lighting. There are a few scenes shot on the Panasonic GH4 in 4k using the most flat picture profile we could produce with it.

THE DEMOLISHER has already enjoyed a successful festival run with Fantastia and soon, I'm sure, with VIFF. Where is this movie going to show next? Any theatrical release?

THE DEMOLISHER will be premiering at SITGES International Film Festival in Spain, FERATUM in Mexico, HARD LINE in Germany, DEDFest in Edmonton and the Toronto After Dark Film Festival in Toronto. All these festivals are in October, so it's a very busy month. We are still trying to find a home for our U.S premiere.

What would you say or do to someone who is talking, texting or being overall disruptive during a screening of your film?

What would I do and say are very different things. If someone was texting or being disruptive to any film screening I would most definitely call them out on it. There is only so much tolerance you can take with disrespect and disruptive behaviour. When you call people out, they usually get embarrassed and/or stop. Just don't be afraid to stick up for the film and center that person out. They've already centered themselves out by being disruptive.

There are many up-and-comer filmmakers reading us for our articles and reviews on If you could offer a nugget of advice to them on how to get their start, what would you say to them?

Make the films you want to make. Make the films you would want to see. Don't let money or sales control your creative endeavours all the time. Find the balance. We share tastes and interests with so many people. Don't be worried if it's weird, strange or out there. There will be an audience for it no matter what and you can define your style as a filmmaker by honing in on what really makes you tick.

And finally, what is the best movie you have ever seen at a film festival, and why?

This is the toughest question. I have seen so many incredible films at festivals and when you attend them every year it changes. This year I saw a film entitled CASH ONLY by director Malik Bader, written and starring Nickola Shreli. I saw it at the Fantasia International Film Festival and loved everything about it.

Be sure to follow the journey of THE DEMOLISHER by checking out the official website at and by following on Twitter at @latefoxpictures, Facebook and on Instagram at latefoxpictures.

This is one of the many films screening at the 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival taking place in beautiful Vancouver from September 24th to October 9th. For more information on this film screening times, point your browser to or use the VIFF app for Android and iOS.

Jason Whyte,
Twitter: @jasonwhyte / Facebook: jasonwhyte / Instagram: jason.whyte

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originally posted: 09/22/15 12:16:08
last updated: 09/23/15 16:40:24
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