Tuffgnarl had the chance to sit and yap with two of Miami’s Independent filmmakers, Alex Alvarez and Felix Alvarez (no relation) of Odd Job Productions, about their latest release which has won Miami’s Indie Film Clubs ‘I’m not gonna move to L.A.’ award for their film Night Terrors.
It’s nine minutes of “a horror project we’d been working on for quite some time” Alex Alvarez states, as he’s caught off guard, by my sneak attack ‘run the camera and not say’ tactic. He grips the sides of his seat. It’s great to see filmmakers in front of the lens. The project was an abandoned concept aimed for another artist. But that didn’t work out, too much time was invested, and they couldn’t see it sit there. At one point, Felix even wanted to give up on the film all together. So it only made sense to make it into a short film
The film takes place in a suburban neighborhood which has become the feeding grounds to a day walking, seductive male Incubus. Crossbred with a spell-casting vampire beast, who’s sporting threads of a 1995 goth kid. Night Terrors covers the blood splatter, topless chicks, vengeful girlfriends, and a belly twisting soundtrack you’d expect from a b-movie enthusiasts.
Felix picks up the conversation- “This is a silent picture for the most part.” Alex is nodding his head in agreement. “It’s mainly the music driving the film.” He’s cut short.
Who made the music?
Felix shoots a thumb in Alex’s direction. “Alex made it.” Then Felix continues. “It was really an experimental piece for all of us, we really just wanted to get the idea out there. Mainly so we can use all of the material in our arsenal and of course get good talent – that was clutch.”
“We wanted to work with people who were professional, nice, and easy to manage.” Felix moves forward in his seat and sips on his water. The glass thumps when placed on the bar stool. Alex adjusts his glasses.
Did you learn as you went along?
“When we first started off we had concepts on how I wanted to approach this or the special effects at least, I drew story boards and made a list of exactly what I needed so there were no foul ups…. or at least minimal foul-ups. We also had a new programs to learn, so it was an experience to experiment. As soon as I figured out the animation we knew what we needed to shoot. It was definitely a learning process.”
They gave me stories of the trial and errors, the decapitations, looped off limbs. “And floating Alex, we can’t leave out the floating Alex.” Their first test was their reference, these worked well to pitch the story to the actors, and whomever else was getting involved. So the challenge commenced.
The topic changed to make-up. “You know dealing with make-up was a challenge, thank goodness we had the skills of proper make-up artists Neidra Ward and Daniela Carolina Cordoba. You know we got latex from different departments, different online stores and Neidra helped us build up a face, so this was a collaboration.” He gets lost in a story of how Neidra repairs a mask on set and does such a good job it went unnoticed. And how options on a creature were easily created by switching a little bit here, and a little bit there. “I was also able to fix a torn latex mask in post , which we actually joked about during filming, but I was able to pull it off.” He took a beep breath and sipped from his glass again. This time holding it in his lap when done, he stares wide eyed at the floor. I can hear the voices in his head about “on set” missions, the back and forth of the eight crew members with sweaty faces, nervously rehearsing their lines. He snaps back to the conversation as the next questions asked.
How long have you two been working with each other on projects?
Alex and Felix look at each other offering each other the first go at it. Felix starts off. “One of our first projects together was a horror film and it was actually my first gig as a PA somewhere in Alabama on a film called…. ” Felix draws a blank. Alex jumps in “Blood lines, the film was called ‘Blood lines’ we were quick to make friends I was a sound guy he was a boom operator.” Felix Jumps in. “I really didn’t know anyone in production at the time, I just graduated school.” Alex jumps in “It was my second feature and your first I believe” they look at each other and nod their heads.
Have you submitted to any film festivals?
“Yes we have submitted to the Chicago Paranormal Film Fest. We have submitted it to Troma Film.” He cheers with his fist. “ We also sent it to Screamfest, [we] don’t have an answer back but we should know soon. Really I just want this piece out as much as possible, we want to hit up some local scenes.” Alex interrupts “Well we did” Felix corrects himself, and states. “We actually won an award with the O’ Cinema and the Indie Film Groups- ‘I’m not gonna move to L.A.’ film fest, we won the audience choice award so that was kinda cool.” They discuss their discomfort at being at screening events and mimic themselves sliding down in their chairs to hide from the audience.
So what else should we expect from you two?
Alex takes this one, “We’re working on a documentary about Cuba and the days or first two weeks after Batista bailed, and how Cuba was sorta left In limbo for a while. I’ve been scheduling with some who lived through those days. It’s kinda amazing how these people survived just emotionally through. So yeah that’s in the works.”
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Night Terrors stars: Krystal Lynn, Izzy Martinez and Andy Guze.