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Interview with Danny Draven (english)

After the movie release Interner Link"Horrorvision" in 2002 Marketing Film is going to bring "Stuart Gordon's Deathbed" in June 2004 into your local video stores, again a film of the director Danny Draven. It is about time for an interview with Danny Draven, who at his relativ young age of 26 years has already made five motion pictures.
Danny, please tell us a little bit how came to the moviebusiness or what started it all.
That's a simple answer, I love films. I've always had a taste for Horror/sci-fi films in particular. I actually started out as a musician (classical guitar), and got a scholarship to the prestigious school, Berklee College of Music in Director Danny DravenBoston. After a year there, I majored in film scoring, and quicklyrealized my passion for making films and not music. Soon after, I transferred into film school at Emerson College and graduated with a useless film degree a few years later. I soon moved to Los Angeles, and it took a lot of crappy jobs, broke days, and hard work before I actually got a job as a web designer for Full Moon Pictures. It was a strategy of mine, work in technology for a company that does what you want to do. This was my way of breaking in the door without more humiliation as a Production Assistant.

Your first feature film was Interner Link"Horrorvision" (available in Germany on DVD from Marketing Film). You made Horrorvision at the relatively young age of 22. Who took the "risk" to let you direct a full length feature film?
J.R. Bookwalter was responsible for letting me direct Interner Link"Horrorvision". It was a strange situation, since he was originally going to direct it, but he seemed to trust my ability and handed over the job to me. It seemed like an impossible task since the film was going to be shot and finished for a measly 50k, but considering I had only done strange student films in the past, I was up for the challenge. I'm glad when I was making my student films I shot behind the scenes footage, because J.R. always told me that seeing me in action in that footage was really the dealmaker, not the films I made.

How did you get in contact with J.R. Bookwalter (Interner Link"The Dead Next Door") and the Tempe Team?
I moved into J.R.'s apartment building when he was directing "Witchouse 2: Blood Coven" in Romainia. I met him through a mutual friend we call "Spud." I remember eating lunch with him a few times, discussing films, techno jargon, and finally he started to slowly let me into the Tempe stable and start throwing me some bones editing music videos and doing crap work for Tempe scale (which is just below jack shit).

How was it to be there, 22 years old with a lot of enthusiasm and a movie to shoot. Was it more pleasure or pain? ;-)
It was definitely a positive German DVD of 'Horrorvision' by Marketing Filmexperience, and I learned a lot. It was my 12 day film school.

The DOP for Interner Link"Horrorvision" and for "Deathbed" was Mac Ahlberg. DOP of movies such as Interner Link"From Beyond", Interner Link"House", "Deep Star Six", Interner Link"Beverly Hills Cop 3" and others. How did you come in contact with him and how was it to work with him?
I met Mac originally on Interner Link"Horrorvision". He is a brilliant veteran, and I have learned soo much about lighting and how D.P.'s work, and was a great teacher and mentor. We are still friends to this day, and I hope he will shoot my next project.

These and your other movies were shot on DV. But fortunately they look more like "real" film. If I remember correctly you mention on the Interner Link"Horrorvision"-DVD, that it's all a question of the right lightning ...
Yes, the trick to good DV is great lighting.

The main actor from Interner Link"Horrorvision" Jake Leonard has quite a similar look like Bruce Campell. Accident or intention?
Accident. I don't know whatever happened to him, last I heard he did some McDonald commercials.

You also had the great "scream queens" Brinke Stevens and Ariauna Albright in Interner Link"Horrorvision" ...
Yes, they were both great. Brinke is always a pro and a pleasure to work with. Ariauna was also one of the producers, and also was a pleasure to work with.

After Interner Link"Horrorvision" you made "Cryptz" and "Hell Asylum" which haven't been released in Germany so far. Could you tell us a little bit about that movies? What are the german viewers missing out?
Both are much better. "Cryptz", an Urban vampire film in the tradition of Interner Link"Vamp" is probably one of my favorites, basically it's stripper vampires in the Hood. "Hell Asylum" is really gory, and was a blast to make. It was also my 2nd film I wore the hat of D.P. (1st was "Witchouse 3: Demon Fire").

After "Hell Asylum" you directed the Stuart Gordon Collage: Hell Asylum, Cryptz, Darkwalker, Witchouse 3, Deathbedpresentation "Death Bed", co-produced by your own company Darkwave, which will be released in June here in Germany by Marketing Film. What means Stuart Gordon "presents" and how did you get in contact with him?
I met Stuart through Mac Ahlberg. I was having lunch with Mac, and told him of a master I had of Interner Link"Pit and the Pendulum", and wanted to give it to Stuart. I actually found the master in the trash at Full Moon and wanted to save it. Well, this got me the meeting with Stuart, and soon after that he asked Charlie Band for me to direct and produce the first of a series of films with the title "Stuart Gordon Presents", and I accepted. I've always admired his work, and it was a please to have him request me and the rest is history. My production company at the time, Darkwave Productions (now known as Darkworld Pictures), produced the film in 2002 for a measly 35k.

What can the German viewers expect from that movie?
It's very much a psychological film, but It's my best film to date I would say.

The movie has a few erotic scenes, which couldn't be seen in American genre films very often ...
Yes, it was actually a very sexual script. We cut a lot of it back, but it is still very suggestive.

The movie stars the lovely Tanya Dempsey, Brave Matthews and Joe Estevez (the brother of Martin Sheen). How was it to work with them?
All fantastic.

After "Deathbed" you made "Darkwalker". The movie looks a bit like a slasher from the "good old 80s", was that your intention or if not what was your intention?
Yes, just a simple 80s slasher with a bunch of stupid kids that get what they deserve.

The movie is relatively bloody. It has some gory scenes, a little homage to Interner Link"TCM" and other fun stuff ...
Yes, just trying to keep it fun and interesting.

What do you think about the current situation of the horror genre and the wave of remakes of genre classics like Interner Link"TCM", Interner Link"Dawn Of The Dead" and other movies?
Actually, I'm not a purist. I like the remakes, in fact Interner Link"Dawn Of The Dead" was one of my favorite Horror remakes ever. It was such a fun, entertaining film. I loved it! It had style.

What do you think about the current situation of the independent filmmakers in the United States?
It's tough. There are lots of people making backyard movies, and the market is definitely over-saturated with product. But, it doesn't bother me. I'll just keep doing my business.

Up to now you directed five movies in different genres (horror, psycho, urban) what was/is your from left to right: actor Len Cordova, director Danny Draven, producer Chuck Williamsfavourite genre? Or is there a genre you'd like to make a movie for?
I love horror and hope to keep making them, but really want to make a dark comedy.

So after making various things (DOP, director, editor, producer ...) What is your favourite part?
I like directing the best without a doubt. I love being a jack of all trades, I consider myself more a "filmmaker" than a "director" since I'm involved in EVERY aspect of the process.

What can we expect from you in the future?
A few more films this year, but much bigger budgets! There are some great things in the works, so keep an eye out later in the year.

Any "final" words to your German viewers?
Check out the DVD extras those are my favorite parts of the films.
© 2004 Stefan Knust
Draven with a special toy ... from hell

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