17th Jan2018

Horror-On-Sea 2018 Interview: Jamie Cymbal & Ryan Simons talk ‘Seizure’

by Philip Rogers

Seizure is new gangster horror from Jamie Cymbal and Ryan Simons, which has been selected to play at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival on Sunday 21st January. I got chance to ask them a few questions about what we can expect, their influences for the film, and the process of working together both in front and behind the camera.

seizure-poster

What can we expect from the film Seizure?

JAMIE – A fast paced, entertaining gangster horror that’s well acted and puts people on edge of their seats.

RYAN – A fast paced ghost story seen through the eyes of gangsters who wonder whether they’re losing their minds.

What was your inspiration for writing the film Seizure?

JAMIE – Ryan and I had played around with a few scripts ideas over the years and to be totally honest very few were horror. I grew up loving the obvious Robert De Niro classics, Once upon a time in America (1984), Goodfellas, (1990) along with Sexy Beast (2000) & Layer Cake (2004) from over here (UK). So, gangster themed ideas were something we both felt comfortable creating stories about. The horror developed along the way and with the budget being so small, planting a set of useless gangsters in the middle of nowhere with something terrorising them seemed like a great idea to us.

RYAN – It’s hard to say because it fermented over some time but initially it was from a practical view point; ‘what story can we film with hardly any budget?’ Gangsters trapped in a safe house with a cursed girl ticked all the boxes.

What is the process for you directing the film together and what do you think the other person brings to the film?

JAMIE- What we both bring to the party is a love for storytelling and I like to think we both have a good eye for when something is working well. Ryan is definitely the one who naturally gravitates to the role of director and something he’s very talented and comfortable doing. I would say, I never had chance to fully settle into the role as when something went wrong, or things needed doing away from the set, I’d be your guy. I guess It’s just the reality of low budget film making and not having the resources to fill all the required roles throughout the shoot.

RYAN – We write the stories together, so the direction starts there. What the characters do and how they do it, is at the heart of any story and as you write you’re directing in your head. Jamie brings the same thing I do – an instinct for storytelling and between us we push that to the front.

As well as directing you both also appear in the film. Having been on both sides of the camera which side do you prefer?

JAMIE – We both trained as actors and it was actually where we first met many moons ago. If it’s a tossup between acting and directing I’d have to say acting, just, I think? I love many aspects of filmmaking from producing to editing, directing and acting. I just get a buzz from being involved in the process.

RYAN – Behind the camera. Acting is great when you get it right but it’s like torture when you’re not feeling it and everyone’s running around saying ‘we have two minutes and then we lose the light!’

What were your inspirations for the look and style of the film?

JAMIE – We wanted to make something that was dark and dirty and the main location on the farm certainly helped us out massively in that aspect. I guess at the end of the day the size of the budget and the amount of time we had to shoot the film dictated both look and style.

RYAN – In all honesty…budget. We knew we wanted to shoot handheld for speed and fluidity and then the perfect location we found did the rest. The edgy, sinister result was perfect for the story and the characters’ state of mind.

Were there any elements of the original script which were adapted during filming?

JAMIE -Time was always an issue and for a couple of weeks we were terrified about the weather forecast. The ending took a hit towards the final stages of the filming and I remember a few of us having a few scratch your head moments. Trying to figure out the best and quickest way to cover larger sequences that were in the original plan, but just weren’t going to get done. Also, some sections didn’t have enough tension and needed to be extended which we went back to correct at a later date.

RYAN – Loads! We had gun fights, border crossings, drownings all on a tiny budget and all on a twelve-day shoot, so something had to give. I think the thing you need the most as a low budget indie filmmaker is the ability to think on your feet and adapt. You can spend hours chasing the perfect shot, but chances are you won’t complete, and unfinished films go down like a shit sandwich at a buffet with your investors.

What was one of your favourite scenes in the film?

JAMIE – I love the car scenes and the some of the stuff we shot in the main living room at the farm. I think the actors played the scenes very well and it shows off the tension between the group.

RYAN – The conversation between the gang at the table on their first night. They’re all trying to be optimistic, but they’re screwed, and they know it. It’s played and shot beautifully.

Do you have any new projects which you are working on?

JAMIE – Our next feature Demon Eye is due out early 2018. Filming completed at the end of September. Ryan and I finished editing a first draft in time to break for Christmas. A much larger budget than Seizure with a few names and faces people will recognise. At this stage it’s looking pretty good and I can’t wait till the other elements are added like sound, SFX and the music. I’m really excited to show it everyone this year.

RYAN – Our second horror feature – Demon Eye is currently in post. It’s got demons, hangings, burnings and a fall from the top of an office block…which all looks great! It’s going to be touring the festival circuit later this year so follow @DemonEyefilm to find out where.

If someone is looking to direct their first film, what advice would you give them?

JAMIE – Get as many experts in as many roles as you can afford and don’t be afraid to ask for favours. We spent years talking about wanting to make films and now we’ve got the ball rolling, we often say that we’d wish we’d started making them sooner. The whole process can be very daunting but break it down into stages and then all of a sudden you come out the other end with something you’ll be very proud of.

RYAN – Stop talking about it and get on with it and don’t pressure yourself into getting everything right because you won’t…so enjoy it.

Seizure will be playing at the Horror-on-Sea Festival on Sunday 21st January at 5:30pm.
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For more information on the event and to purchase tickets for the Horror-on-Sea please see the website for details: https://www.horror-on-sea.com

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