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SxSW 2015 Interview: WE ARE STILL HERE director Ted Geoghegan

by Jason Whyte

"WE ARE STILL HERE is a bloody love letter to the mystery and unease of classic haunted house cinema, while incorporating all of the style and excitement of modern horror films. It's about human loss and loneliness, and inhuman ancient evil." Director Ted Geoghegan on WE ARE STILL HERE which screens as part of the Midnighter Series at the 2015 South By Southwest Film Festival.

I know this isn't your first SxSW as I have met you many times and even worked publicity with you in the past. Still, are you going to be here?

This will be my fifth year in a row that I'm attending SXSW, but my first year as a filmmaker. I'll be attending my first two screenings, on Sunday and Monday nights.

You know Austin. What's your favorite barbecue/food in the city?

My favorite barbecue is Salt Lick in Driftwood, although I don't know if I'll be able to get out there this year. But if you're eating Austin BBQ, the truth is that it's most likely pretty damn good.

I need your opinion, Ted. What's your favorite beer in Austin?

I understand most Texans thumb their nose at it, but I'm partial to Lone Star.

So what do you love the most about showing movies in this crazy town of Austin?

The audiences in Austin are some of the most cultured filmgoers I have ever had the joy of sharing a theater with. They are excited, smart, and respectful. I wish I could watch every movie in Austin.

Tell me a bit about your background and how you became a filmmaker/movie guy extraordinare.

I grew up in rural Montana, and have loved movies since I was a wee one. I began writing screenplays in high school, simply for fun, and had my first script turned into a film in 2001. Since then, I have regularly worked as a screenwriter; as such WE ARE STILL HERE is my ninth feature! I have also produced as well, most recently on ABCs of Death 2.

So how did WE ARE STILL HERE get its start?

I wrote WE ARE STILL HERE with the intention of having someone else direct it, but ended up coming aboard when I realized just how much I loved the story and wanted to have tighter control over its existence. I pitched it to a number of producers and was overjoyed when it ultimately found a home with Snowfort Pictures and Dark Sky Films.

Talk about who you worked closely with on the movie as I know we have some mutual buddies involved!

The film was produced by Travis Stevens at Snowfort Pictures, who brought it to Dark Sky Films. It was a wonderful experience working with both of them, and never could have done it without their generous support and belief in the project.

Did you have any big challenges even though you had such great backing? Any major challenges?

It was rather intimidating to realize that my cast had previously been directed by Martin Scorsese, Neil Jordan, Shane Carruth, Tim Burton, and William Castle; but, as a first-time director, you just dive right in and build that confidence real quick!

If you had to pick a single favourite moment out of the entire production, what would it be? The "gotcha" moment?

There was no single moment of revelation, but I regularly felt like I had something special. The film, from day one, was going to be something different... something people hadn't seen in a long time.

What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you? Strong coffee?

I am driven by the pursuit of happiness. And believe it or not, but I don't touch coffee!

For the aspiring filmmakers who read our site, I would love to know about the tech side of the film and how it was shot!

We were one of the first features in the world to shoot on the Red Dragon! My cinematographer was Karim Hussain, one of Canada's most talented cinematographers and a dear friend. The film would not have the lushness and depth it does without his incredible eye. I trust him implicitly.

What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie at SxSW this year?

I feel like the audience in Austin, and at SXSW, are perfect for We Are Still Here. They're genre-savvy, smart, and understand horror's roots. They're going to have a very good time with it.

After the film screens at South By Southwest, where is the film going to show next? Anywhere you would like it to screen?

That's still up in the air. Right now, it's all about SXSW!

Alamo Drafthouse and Paramount theaters in Austin aside, if you could show this movie in any cinema in the world, which one would you choose?

Drafthouses aside, I couldn't pick. They're my favorite place on Earth to watch movies.

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

"A lot of wonderful people worked very hard to make this movie. If you cannot sit here and enjoy it, perhaps a bar on Sixth Street would be more appropriate for you to be rude in."

There are a lot of up and coming filmmakers both at SxSW and reading our site. What would you want to tell them if they are aspiring to become a filmmaker?

Be pushy, but not too pushy. And never put your intended profession before your name in your social media profile.

And finally, what is the single, greatest movie that you have ever seen? I feel like I may open a can of worms with this one...

David DeCoteau's Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama. (Author's note: I knew it!)

Be sure to follow Ted on Twitter at @TedGeoghegan and don't look back.

We hope you enjoyed this SxSW filmmaker interview in our 35+ filmmaker interview series. We will have interviews posted all throughout the festival so be sure to visit us often for more coverage!

This is one of the many films screening at the 2015 SXSW in Austin, Texas between March 13-21. For more information on this film screening times, point your browser to or use the SxSW GO App for Android and iOS.

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

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originally posted: 03/13/15 07:03:11
last updated: 03/13/15 07:04:35
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