Friday, January 31, 2014

Road to Sundance 2014: Chapel Perilous (short), directed by Matthew Lessner

Matthew Lessner

What made you decide to become a filmmaker?

I decided to become a filmmaker immediately upon seeing Home Alone for the first time.

Tell us about your film. What inspired you to make it?

My film Chapel Perilous is an official selection in the short film section. It's a metaphysical comedy about a door-to-door salesman with nothing to sell. He has an encounter with a stranger, which forces that stranger to confront his true mystical calling and the nature of reality itself. The inspiration for the film came when I was soaking in a long hot bath infused with apple cider vinegar. It came in a flash, like the whole film was instantly downloaded into my brain. I suspect some kind of otherworldly intervention.

What do you love about your film?

The thing I love most about the film is the performances our actors give. I think they're each really amazingly talented and I feel lucky to have worked with each of them. They make me laugh again and again.

Still from Chapel Perilous
How long did it take you to make your film?

The inspiration for the film came on a Monday and we shot the film the Friday and Saturday of the same week, so that part of the process was exceptionally quick, no time to over-think or over-analyze anything. The editing took a few months though.
How did you finance your film?

That's a good question.

What was the most challenging part of the filmmaking process and how did you overcome it?

The snake wrangling. They don't always do what you want.

Tell us about your experience getting into Sundance.

The experience of getting into Sundance was really exciting. I howled like a wolf. This is my third time back (By Modern Measure '08, The Woods '11). It feels like coming home. . . to a home you only visit once every three years.

If you had to make the film all over again, would you do anything different?

I may have allowed a little more time for the snake stunt photography, and perhaps pushed a little harder for the big jet-ski finale. It's hard to say really.

What’s next for your film? Do you have distribution? If so, when and how can people see it and if not, what are your hopes for the film?

The film is available to watch now on YouTube throughout the Sundance Festival. You should totally watch it. We're planning to develop the short into a series based around the character of Robin. I think it's going to blow minds. We're currently in talks with several potential sponsors, including, but not limited to a luxury vehicle company with a big heart and the world's first eco-airline. Also a GMO free sport water brand. Chapel Perilous the series, coming soon.

Can you provide any advice to other filmmakers who dream of getting their films made?

Just do it. Stop talking and thinking and dreaming and just do it. Work with your limitations, don't let em hold you down, reach for the stars. You had a goal, but not that many 'cause you're the only one, I'll give you good and plenty. . . and if you don't know.

And here it is:

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