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SxSW 2015 Interview: THE OVERNIGHT director Patrick Brice

by Jason Whyte

"If you want laughs, more laughs and prosthetic penises...with a whole lotta heart thrown in the mix, come see THE OVERNIGHT!" Director Patrick Brice on THE OVERNIGHT which screens at the 2015 South By Southwest Film Festival.

Is this your first SxSW/Austin experience and are you going to attend your screenings?

I was in Austin last year for the premiere of my first film CREEP. It was an over the top incredible experience being at SXSW with that film. The audiences in Austin are particularly fun to watch movies with. There seems to be a real love for film ingrained in the culture. I'll be at our first screening on Saturday at the Stateside theater along with some extra special guests.

Sounds like you know your Austin. I msut know...your favorite barbecue and beer in the city?

I can't remember exactly where I ate last time I was in town but I'll definitely be eating Breakfast Tacos every morning and BBQ every night. If you get the chance a really wonderful little trip out of town is the world famous Smitty's Market in Lockhart about 20min south of Austin. That was a treat. I also drank a ton of Lone Star last time I was there and it tasted real good.

What do you love the most about showing movies in Austin and Austin in general?

The audiences are ready to be entertained and are super smart. It is always fun to play your movie in front of an audience who is there to first and foremost have a great time. I feel like so far the films I have made have felt like little rides for the audience to go on together and Austin film going audiences always seem game.

Tell me a bit about your background and how you became a filmmaker. Also tell me more about CREEP, too, because that was one of my favorites at SxSW last year.

I studied film at California Institute of the Arts, or CalArts, where I made a bunch of really diverse stuff like film installations, documentaries and such. My first feature that I made coming out of school was this film called CREEP with Mark Duplass. The movie was initial this odd formal experiment that Mark and I made together. About halfway through the process of making it Jason Blum from Blumhouse became involved and helped push it a tad more into the "Horror" realm. I'm really proud of this film especially considering what a long weird journey it's had. Right now it's looking like it will hopefully come out sometime later this year. THE OVERNIGHT was a film that I wrote while I was in post on that film.

So how did THE OVERNIGHT movie come together? It seems so quick after CREEP from last year.

I began writing THE OVERNIGHT while finishing up CREEP. Once we brought on Naomi Scott and Adam Scott as producers things moved fairly quick. We shot it in April of 2014 and premiered at Sundance in January of 2015.

Wow, that fast! What was the process like and getting that together so quickly?

The core team on the film has been myself, Mark Duplass and Adam and Naomi Scott. Our Editor Chris Donlon has also been with us every step of the way and is an essential part of the operation. It's been a really phenomenal collaboration working with all of these guys. Everyone involved is on the same page taste-wise and it seems like when one of us is stumped another person is there to offer a suggestion always. I'm incredibly grateful to be working with such a tight group of smart, kind people.

What was your biggest challenge with this movie? It sounds like there were a few!

Having to shoot an entire feature in two weeks was by far the biggest challenge. We were shooting 7-10 pages a day easy with lots of dialogue. I think one thing that ended up helping us out with this was the fact that we shot mostly nights. It ended up creating a focused energy from all the crew and actors.

If you had to pick that "We HAVE something here!" moment out of the experience, what would it be?

There is a scene in the film where Jason Schwartzman's character Kurt shows Adam Scott's Alex artwork that he makes in his studio. This was a scene that I hoped would be funny and surprising. Watching behind the monitors Naomi and I were having to keep ourselves from busting up laughing. Then the camera started to shake because the camera operators were laughing and that was when I felt like we were close to achieving what we were going for in terms of finding a comedic tone.

What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you? How much coffee was flowing through your system?

I drank a ton of coffee during production for sure. I would try and pace myself because I knew I still needed to sleep once we were finished. We would finish around 5am or 6am every day and I would drive home listening to music and try and calm my mind. I think I'd maybe get a couple hours of sleep during the morning before waking up sometime in the early afternoon. Adrenaline is a huge help when making a film of this size on this schedule.

Talk for a bit about the technical side of the film; the cinematography, who you worked with on the tech side and fun tech stuff like that.

I had a really close relationship with our cinematographer John Guleserian. We spent the month leading up to production just watching stuff and shot-listing the movie. We watched a few specific films when first talking about the lighting/cinematography/camera movement. THE BEAT MY HEART SKIPPED and Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN were both solid references when we were discussing the presence of the camera. We knew we wanted the camera to be handheld and to use practical lighting as much as possible. This approach would help define the aesthetic of the movie but also made it easier to for the crew to move quickly from setup to setup. We used two Canon c500's with Zeiss Super Speed lenses.

After the film screens at South By Southwest, where is the film going to show next?

We will be releasing the film theatrically on June 19th.

Any dream cinemas, even if money was no object?

I love the Castro Theater in San Francisco as they still have an organist who descends into the stage before the film plays.

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

It would take a person being completely obnoxious before I'd say something. And then by the time I have worked myself up to say anything I would probably come off WAY too angry. Not that this has happened in the past during a screening of MAGIC MIKE or anything...

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 nice to everyone. People are not going to want to work with you if you are an asshole.

And finally, what is the single, greatest movie that you have ever seen? Or film fest experience?

The best experience I've ever had as a film-goer was participating in the 2009 Telluride Film Festival Student Symposium. This was a great year at the festival as I saw THE WHITE RIBBON, A PROPHET, FISH TANK, MY SON MY SON WHAT HAVE YE DONE and BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS all within a 48 hour time period. We got to meet the directors of all of these films after the screenings. It was pure cinematic delirium.

Be sure to follow director Patrick Brice on Twitter at @patrick_brice!

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 09:09:28
last updated: 04/24/15 02:02:34
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