Name of Short - CRESTFALLEN
Running Time - 5 minutes
Year of Completion - 2011
Location of Shooting – Bloomington, Indiana and New York, NY
Director - Jeremiah Kipp
What inspired you to make this short in particular?
A movie reviewer named Russ Penning was a big supporter of my short genre film CONTACT, and we started a dialogue. He sent me a few scripts he had written, and I genuinely connected with CRESTFALLEN, which was a story about suicide that felt daring, personal and sincere. The movie is a nightmare spiral, a descent into personal hell, and hopefully at the climax we affirm the value of life. (Look out for a review of Contact, as well as Crestfallen coming up on Musings of a Morleysaurus)
Is this the first short that you have worked on and if not, what other work have you done before this?
I’ve done several short films over the years, so CRESTFALLEN is one of many. My cinematographer Dominick Sivilli and I were just coming off of our first feature film, THE SADIST starring Tom Savini (see Savini strangling Kipp below, heehee!). I’m sure CRESTFALLEN was in some way informed by the work Dominick and I had done in the past.
I’m working with screenwriter Joe Fiorillo and producer Lauren Rayner on a dark and edgy short film called THE DAYS GOD SLEPT, which is set in an unusual, slightly surreal gentleman’s club. Joe’s writing strikes a raw nerve about men and women, and how the more we get to know someone, the more mysterious they become. I’m looking forward to working with actress Lauren Fox—she was terrific in Darren Aronofsky’s PI, and is playing the damaged lead role.
Name one woman who you would just absolutely love to work with and why?!
I’ve always been so impressed by Sigourney Weaver, who brings commitment, fearlessness, intensity and take-no-bullshit intelligence to all of her roles.
If you could choose one person, living or dead, who would choose to work with on your ideal project?
There are so many great actors to choose from. Why don’t we keep it simple and stick with Sigourney Weaver? Ask me tomorrow and I might say Max von Sydow, ask me the day after that and I might say Samantha Morton.
Are you going to be doing anything special to celebrate Women in Horror Month this year?
I’m planning to attend the Stiletto Film Festival up in Boston, run by Megan Sacco. CRESTFALLEN will be making its American premiere up there, representing the tremendous talent of our co-producer Kitsie Duncan (pictured in all of her horror~ific glory below) and our lead actress Deneen Melody. I suspect I’ll also be reading some interviews with the many talented women who work in this industry, and making every effort to direct a new movie involving strong female performers and crew members.
Random question – if you had to recommend one TV show that you think people just HAVE to watch, what would you recommend!?!
I don’t watch much television, so I’ve been missing out on shows I’d probably like such as BREAKING BAD, BOARDWALK EMPIRE—I did manage to catch the first season of THE WALKING DEAD and especially liked the rooftop scenes with Michael Rooker (pictured below). I tend to encourage people to watch the new BBC version of DOCTOR WHO, but they’d be better off checking out the earlier seasons with Christopher Eccleston or David Tennant as the Doctor.
What's your favourite film from the past year? (Doesn't have to be horror!)
I was surprised by how much I liked TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, where Gary Oldman reminded us why he is one of our greatest living actors.
Mr. Kipp, when it comes to your work as a director you are really amazing at bringing out the emotion in your actors faces, without relying on spoken word. What's your secret? ;)
The secret is to hire the actor who is best for the role. If you’re working with someone who is intelligent, professional and sensitive, the best thing to do is create an environment around them that stimulates their imagination. I also like to rehearse as much as possible; not necessarily doing scene work but building a dimensional character that can be parachuted into dramatic situations. On CRESTFALLEN, I was only able to work with Deneen over the phone (she’s in Chicago, I’m in New York) and most of the other actors over email. We squeezed in last minute rehearsal time the night before the shoot. On set, between takes we’d play actor games to make further discoveries. I love actors, genuinely respect what they do, and would give them whatever they need in order to give the fullest performance they can.
What was it like working with Deneen on CRESTFALLEN, she did such an amazing job. It truly is a gorgeous short!
She based her performance on a friend of hers who had committed suicide, and wasn’t afraid of going there. She’s a brave and resourceful actress. It was the kind of working relationship I like to have: she does her job, I do my job, and we inspire each other along the way. My experience with her was incredibly positive, and I think her co-star Michael Partipilo and our cinematographer Dominick Sivilli would say exactly the same thing.
Now it would be impossible for me to speak to you without mentioning your work on what is, without a doubt one of my favorite movies of the past decade...I SELL THE DEAD! You were working with the stars of my joint second-place favorite TV shows of all time, Dominic Monaghan from LOST and Ron Perlman from SONS OF ANARCHY! What was it like working with such talented individuals? Not to mention Larry Fessenden who is fucking amazing, both as a director and an actor! And what is your favorite memory from working on the set?
These guys are stars for a reason. I was the assistant director on that project, and my memories of Dominic Monaghan are of being polite, well prepared, and unpretentious about himself. *insert JEN SQUEEEEE* He liked the script and the character, and got on well with our director Glenn McQuaid.
That was a really good job for me, and I credit the value of the experience to Larry Fessenden. I’ve been able to work with Larry on several films, and learned more from him than anyone else. He creates an atmosphere where it’s all about doing the work. He’s the kind of producer who rolls up his sleeves and gets involved in all aspects of the production, David O. Selznick style, so whenever he wasn’t acting, he was very present as a leader. As for Ron Perlman, when I saw him on the set, he would show up, hit his marks, and have a good time making jokes between takes. He has some great stories about Guillermo Del Toro, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Sean Connery, and of course BEAUTY AND THE BEAST…that TV-show still makes young women walk up to him and say, “I have no idea who you are, but my mother LOVES you!”
If money were no object (HA! If only...), do you have a particular dream project that you would do in a flash!?!
I really love the adaptations of Philip K. Dick’s work—TOTAL RECALL, MINORITY REPORT, BLADE RUNNER—and there are many of his books that haven’t been adapted to the screen yet. I was so impressed how director Paul Verhoeven put Arnold in a state of existential terror not even knowing who he is (and the movie works best when he can’t use his muscle to solve the nightmare). BLADE RUNNER is one of the great movies of the 20th century, where every piece comes together into a stunning thematic whole. I’m inspired by these superb directors (Verhoeven, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott) and how the Phil Dick stories gave them such an amazing playground. Stories of tension, of identity, of humanity, wrapped within a science fiction hell zone. If a producer came to me with a Phil Dick property and a budget, I’d sign up in a heartbeat. Someday, I’m going to make one of those stories into a film; that will be a dream come true.