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Interview With Director Shane T. Hall

25th May 2018
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Liselotte: I saw some pictures on the Facebook page of the movie that you guys went to for the Film Festival of Cannes. How was it there? 

Shane T. Hall: It was good. Our distributor, who’s distributing this film (Concealed), wanted to talk about a budget for our next film. We were just there for one week essentially but I tried to see other films as well. Whenever I’m there, I’m trying to watch at least one film. Some years I get to see some films, half of a film or no films at all. This year I got to watch a couple of films so I was quite excited about that.

Liselotte: Of course, we’re here to talk about your next film Concealed. Where did the idea for this film come from?

Shane T. Hall: I had this idea about something that I’ve never seen in film before, essentially. It grabbed me and I thought that I could make this work. This will become something that people haven’t seen yet. Often we get to see the same structures and storylines in films. I had that central idea to make something I never seen before and to explore that. It was good for raising money but terrible for talking to you about because then I might spoil the movie.

Liselotte: Well, Concealed is very character based and character driven so the casting must have been very important for this movie. How did you find the cast for this film?

Shane T. Hall: We have a casting agent in Australia and they were great. Obviously they did the majority of the casting. In regards to Simon Lyndon (Chopper, Thin Red Line), Max, who’s the lead, that’s someone who we approached. We definitely wanted him for that role. I always regard Simon, who won the AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his role in Chopper, as one of the best actors of his generation in Australia. He’s someone who is been very looked up to by actors from Australia and was my first choice for the lead.

Liselotte: Do you ask the actors to act out any scenes? How do you make your decision when it comes to the cast?

Shane T. Hall: When they’re auditioning, most of the actors have been giving an audition scene which is probably a page or two. It’s usually a scene with more dramatic weight or heft behind it or with a comedic element in it. If they can deliver that then they can do the whole movie. The casting agent will give you so many actors to look at who are all good for the role. We always manage to find great people and the casting didn’t take that long to be fair.

Liselotte: Making a movie is a very hard and difficult process. What was the hardest part about making this one? Any (unforeseen) obstacles you had to overcome?

Shane T. Hall: Oh, that happened on a daily basis. It all starts in the pre-production. If no one has enough money to make the film we want to make. We were on the low budget end of things as well. I think the film almost didn’t start a few times. Even in pre-production there were moments when we were like “Ok, we’re never getting to the production itself”. During production, there were times we thought that everything would collapse and that we would never get to tomorrow, our following day of shooting. We had equipment stolen as well which causes problems obviously. It almost derailed the film again. As a filmmaker you’re just trying to keep everything afloat to make sure you do get to the end of your shoot. Sometimes it felt like every day the shoot was going to collapse and you wouldn’t get through it that day.

Liselotte: So you guys must have been very relieved when the movie was finally out there? 

Shane T. Hall: Indeed. We shot for 21 days. A long enough shoot to be in a state of complete exhaustion. Mentally, physically, emotionally and intellectually. So yeah we were very relieved when the movie was finished.

Liselotte: When did get the idea that you wanted to become a producer?

Shane T. Hall: Well basically from when I was a kid. My grandmother’s house used to back on to a thriving cinema. My earliest memory is me being 5 years old and standing on a table outside her yard watching Star Wars. You could see the screen when you stood on the table but you couldn’t hear anything. So my earliest memory was standing there and watching Star Wars silently. Night after night. It was then that I thought “Well, film is something pretty fascinating to work in”.

Liselotte: What advice would you give to people who want to make it as well and who want to get a foot in the door of the film industry?

Shane T. Hall: I think you just need to be tenacious and keep going. It’s something that a lot of people want to do and a lot of people are trying to do. You need to work hard and do it. Give it the extra 500%. I always feel that’s not good enough to give it 100%. You need to be pushing it even further. Everyone will push it to a 100% so you need to go even further to get across the line. Making a feature is totally different from anything else. It really tests every part of your being. You need to be prepared for that and willing to give everything to that. Right after making a feature, you should have totally nothing left in your thank.

Liselotte: Concealed will be released here in London next week on the 1st of June. Right?

Shane T. Hall: Yes, indeed. The premiere will be on the 1st of June and we will be screening until the 8th. So we’re running for 8 days at the moment but if every session sells out then we will probably extend.

Liselotte: Are there any other cities or countries you’re heading to with this movie?

Shane T. Hall: We’re looking into a cinema run in Australia and we also have an American distributor who’s working out things in America at the moment. So we might have a release there as well but nothing is a guarantee in this business anymore. People seem to pirate a lot or watching television. We’re out there and we’re trying to compete but obviously it’s a big task.

Liselotte: One last question. You mentioned that you went to the Film Festival of Cannes to talk with the distributor. So do you already have upcoming projects in the pipeline?

Shane T. Hall: I’ve got two films that I would like to make. The first one is a true life story that I adapted from a book and this is what I had a meeting about with the distributor in Cannes. The book has being adapted and written and the screenplay has being locked off. After that we’re starting to write the other film. An Australian one and possibly about gambling addictions.

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