Director Corey Norman was kind enough to take some time to chat with us about his upcoming feature film The Hanover House . Read below for our interview with this talented up and coming filmmaker.
1. First, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us. For those who may be unfamiliar with you, can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Corey Norman and I am a professional filmmaker and educator hailing from Portland, ME. I spent a big chunk of my twenties working for companies such as History Channel and Discovery, where I won an Emmy and a few Telly's, before leaving to pursue my true passion, independent cinema. I've done a slew of short films, and now I'm gearing up to do my first feature film, The Hanover House.
2. Fright Meter was fortunate enough to review your short The Barn, and we loved it! Can you tell us a little bit about that film and how it came about?
The Barn was a short film that my company, Bonfire Films, put out in 2011. It was a 32 minute short horror film that was made on a budget of $2,400.
"A small town is rocked by a supernatural force that has been claiming lives for the past twenty years. Bobby senses something unsettling about the old barn he passes every day that is home to Skip, the town recluse. When he enters the barn one fateful day, his venture into the unknown begins to unleash secrets from the past. An unlikely hero is found in Jake, who scrambles to discover the truth behind missing children, ghosts, and his hometown. A coming of age story, THE BARN chronicles a young boy uncovering the shadow cast over the town and its inhabitants as he witnesses unexplainable phenomena. What he finds is that some things – and people – aren’t always what they seem."
Nearly a year later, it's been accepted into 9 different film festival across the United States, Including: Fright Night Film Festival (Louisville, KY), Indie Horror Film festival (Chicago, IL), The Horror Quest Film Festival (Atlanta, GA) and many more.
3. Where did your interest in a filmmaking come from? Obviously you are a horror fan; any particular films inspire you?
I think my parents had a major part in my development as a filmmaker. Some of my earliest memories revolved around seeing horror films with my father at a local drive in. In fact, I first saw Cujo when I was about five years old. I was supposed to be asleep in the back seat, and all of a sudden I pop my head up as Cujo had a few blood covered limbs in his mouth. I started crying, not because I was afraid, but because I didn't want the people to hurt the dog. I think a horror fan was born that night.
A few years later, my father bought me my first camera, put out by Tiger, that actually recorded on an audio cassette tape. Years later, when I got into high school, my mother bought me a higher end 8mm camera that allowed my passion to really come to life. She even had a few cameos. Man could she scream...and she didn't even need to see the dead bodies to get in character!
4. You just announced production is ready to being on your first feature film The Hanover House. Tell us about the film?
This is the general synopsis of the film. "Returning from his father’s funeral, Robert Foster is faced with the unimaginable; he hits a young girl with his car. In a desperate attempt to save her life, he seeks help at a nearby farmhouse. Little does Robert know that the house has been waiting for him his entire life. Once inside it’s walls, Robert must overcome his own personal demons in an attempt to save both his wife, and himself. But there’s a problem, only one may leave The Hanover House alive."
I think one thing that sets the production of The Hanover House apart from other haunted house films on the market is the fact that we will be filming in an actual haunted house. Built in 1883, this farmhouse, which is located in the mountains of western Maine, has been the home of supernatural phenomena for the last hundred years. Former residents have been shaken awake by a full body apparition of an old man, seen a full body apparition of a young boy playing on the stairs, seen floating orbs of energy above them in their beds and had objects removed from the walls and placed in other areas of the house. At least two former babysitters refuse to ever step foot in the house again.
5. You have made some casting announcements and have assembled am impressive cast, including Anne Bobby from Nightbreed. How did you go about casting the film?
Casting The Hanover House was a very different experience that any other casting I've done. For the most part, we never announced any public casting calls. Instead, we hand selected actors and actresses from across New England that we had seen in other films or web series that had really impressed us. We called together this small group and then selected our characters from that pool.
Now Anne Bobby was a different story. One of my long time actors, Daniel Noel from The Barn, actually did some theater with Anne a little over 20 years ago. He had mentioned the project to her online and she agreed to read the script. After sending it to her, I didn't hear anything back. I had just about given up on her when I got a Facebook message early one Saturday morning saying that she loved the script and that she wanted the part. I literally ran into the bedroom where my wife was sleeping and started jumping on the bed as I told her the news. This was such a surreal experience for me, because when I was a teenager, I watched my copy of Nightbreed so much, I wore the VHS tape out.
6. Can we expect the same tone and style you presented with The Barn or are you going for something different?
There are definitely a lot of stylistic similarities between The Barn and The Hanover House, but in the end, they will be two very different films with similar themes. A lot of our work is highly inspired by the horror films of the late 70's, during an era that was more about the psychology of fear rather than just showing explicit blood and gore. Is what our character experiencing real, or is it simply a manifestation of his own demented psyche? I am a big fan of creating films that work on multiple levels, so there is a lot of elements that manifest themselves below the surface of the film, which I hope will provide the viewer with a different level of experience with each subsequent viewing. Having studied English in college, I'm a big fan of using metaphors in my work, and The Hanover House is no exception.
7. What is your anticipated budget for the film and how are you going about securing it?
As an independent filmmaker, securing a budget is always the scariest part of preproduction. After running the numbers, we realized that we could make this film for as low as $10,000. Ideally, we'd love to fall closer to the $25,000 mark, as that would grant us some liberties that would ultimately lead to a better overall film. My wife and I have financed a portion of the film to lock our actors and get the ball rolling. We have currently turned to Kickstarter in an attempt to raise the rest of our minimum funds while we continue to meet with private investors.
Feel free to donate at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/942103898/the-hanover-house
8. Any specific advice you can give to aspiring independent filmmakers?
Make movies! You have to start somewhere and you have to start sometime, so why not do it now. Even if your first film isn't a masterpiece (which rarely they are), it's through the process of making a film that we can grow, learn and begin to develop our own styles. If you don't learn something new every time you set foot on a set, you're doing something wrong.
9. What can we expect from you in the future? Any ideas floating around in your mind for future projects?
Well, The Hanover House has consumed the majority of my thoughts, but I do have a few other scripts that have been in the works for a while. When this film is done, perhaps I'll get back into them. One in particular, Meter Maid, is an existentialist love story heavily inspired by writers like Samuel Beckett and films such as Eternal Sunshine and Wrist Cutters. Who knows, perhaps this will be my follow up to The Hanover House, but then again, I am a big sucker for the horror genre, so who knows.
10. Any final comments?
Make sure to check out the film's official website at www.thehanoverhousefilm.com. If you like what you see, then help support us by donating to the Kickstarter, or simply by sharing the link with your friends.