Where did the idea for the film come from?
Afraid Of Sunrise is based on a feature length script called Afraid Of Sunlight which I wrote ten years ago. Partly inspired by a girl I was dating at the time, I also wanted to write what I thought would be a different take on the vampires tale. If they were real, where would they hang out-how would they fit in with society. Things like that. In order to make the movie I needed a budget in the millions and there was no way I could raise that kind of money so I basically sat on it for a while and about four or five years ago I decided to scale it down and make it into a short. I made a half-assed attempt to shoot it with a friend but it never was completed. When I met director Justin Romine back in 2009 while shooting Dwelling we got to talking and I mentioned Afraid Of Sunrise to him and he was very intrigued by the concept. After a couple more discussions he was on board as director and the ball kept rolling.
How much did the concept change from concept to final edit?
The concept never changed throughout the production. It's first and foremost a vampire movie but it's also part political thriller. It makes some social commentary about how our society has become a police state and about how corrupt and criminal our government has become. The only changes were how we structured the film a bit differently than the way the script was written. Everything was there but we changed some of the scene sequencing for pacing and to establish the relationship between two of the characters a bit more firmly. Actor Tom Lodewyck made a great suggestion to give the ending of the film a little more of a punch so I ended up taking his idea, expanding it a bit and we shot a few more scenes and we're very happy with the new ending because we think it leaves the audience wanting more!
Were there any challenges during production?
Surprisingly things went pretty smoothly during this production! This was the first movie I ever produced so I had no idea what to expect. I basically did things how I thought they should be done and it seemed to work! It was a very rewarding experience and maybe I liked it so much because I was producing a script which I wrote and was starring in. It was my baby so to speak! I'd say the only major challenge we had was when shooting the club sequence because Justin ended up in the hospital maybe the day before the shoot and there was no way to reschedule so our D.P. Don Ford had to step up and be the director as well. Our script supervisor Robert Iwataki did a great job handing all the extras we had that night and actor Dan Kuhlman (Raymond) who is also a director helped out. Everybody stepped up that day and we all pulled together to make sure things went smoothly.
With the film completed, what has been the most rewarding thing about the whole experience?
Obviously seeing the completed project up on the big screen-seeing all that hard work pay off. I couldn't have asked for a better cast and crew and even if I had a bigger budget for Afraid Of Sunrise to pay for more well known actors, I wouldn't have recast a single person.
Afraid of Sunrise screens Saturday, Nov 5th at 1:15pm. Lubar Auditorium, Milwaukee Art Museum.