13th Feb2018

Horror-On-Sea 2018 Interview: Michael Faust on ‘The Ingress Tapes’

by Philip Rogers

Following the showing of the short film The Ingress Tapes and the trailer for Dead Celebrities at Horror-on-Sea, I got a chance to talk with filmmaker Michael Faust about what the concept for his shot was, appearing in his own films and the Horror-on-Sea festival itself.

Photo courtesy of J.Douglas Imagery

Photo courtesy of J.Douglas Imagery

We are at the Horror-on-Sea Festival today for your film…

We had two showings today The Ingress Tapes which was a short and we had a trailer for a fourth coming film called Dead Celebrities which I am just finishing up. I should hopefully have this finished for submissions to festivals in the next three to four weeks.

Can you explain to everyone what The Ingress Tapes is about?

I’ve got be careful what I say, but it’s based on true events. The kind of idea I have been working on for a few years is, could I make a horror film without any actors. So really it was kind of what can I do? I am big fan of Super 8 film and I used to travel in and out of London on the train. So, I bought a Super 8 camera and I used to film my journey in and out of London. Some of the footage you see in the Ingress Tapes I filmed back in the late 90’so it’s Canary Wharf and what have you being built. I then got to thinking because I still travel a lot by train, you never really know who you are sitting next to. What happened to all these old gangsters and psychopaths from the 70s and 80s, because they didn’t all get locked up? I thought wouldn’t it be great if someone sat down and had a conversation with one of these guys, and he basically told you about all the things he had done, but in a very matter of fact as if he was a postman or greengrocer or something. That really was the premises of the Ingress Tapes. This insight into this guy who is now retired, but ultimately the only time he gets happy or laughs is when he is recalling the people he has chopped up.

It’s quite a moody piece isn’t it and I think you really caught the atmosphere with what you did, and who the character was…

It’s weird, the first time it played was in an experimental film festival in Hackney and people were just laughing like drones the first time it played. This was probably the quietest crowd, but a number of people have come up to me and said, is that a documentary? Is that real? When I first submitted it to Under the Floor Boards, the guy said I sat and watched this at home and I was really kind of freaked out by it, is this based on fact? The short answer, it is based on fact, but it’s an amalgam of several underworld figures from the 70’s and 80’s.

It does feel very real in the context and the way in which it is done.

That’s kind of the genesis of where it came from, this kind of idea, can we do it without any actors? What did happen to these old gangsters? Because they are all still kicking around all these associates of the Krays and what not.

You also have another film which you are just finishing now?

It’s a short I am finishing up called Dead Celebrities. I have several loves, Hammer Horror, Universal Movies from the 30’s and also that whole Grindhouse thing. So Dead Celebrities is a story of a male in crisis who wants to become famous, and is prepared to do anything to become famous. It gives me a chance to look back at some of my favourite rock and roll myths who’ve all got something in common. I am not going to tell you what but Elvis Presley, Jim Morrison, Tod Browning, and Julie Garland all had something in common, which will be revealed in Dead Celebrities.

And are you acting in Dead Celebrities as well?

I am yes. To be honest it’s not choice that I keep popping up in these films. It’s just Dead Celebrities is one of those shorts that I thought, I would get this done in a month but then go and shoot some more. I don’t really want to act, but I can’t keep saying to actors, we are doing it again on Saturday morning are you going to be there. So ultimately, I’m in front of the camera at the moment, but I don’t want to be. I am hoping to go down to Hitchcock cameos, so I don’t have to keep sitting in bath tubs of blood I can pay other people to do that.

We’re just going into pre-production for a feature, my mate Matt (Bayliss) who is also my creative partner and writer. We are currently auditioning actors for a feature that we are hoping to shoot in May. It’s called Exit and it’s about two couple who thorough circumstances find themselves in a flat in London. Murder, sex, drugs across 24hrs but only one of them is gonna get away. Hopefully that should be ready for festivals come 2019.

Have you been to the Horror-on-Sea festival before?

I was here last year with another short called The Pyramid, and again it’s a similar idea. I think most of my films tend to be about guys who don’t quite know where they fit in anymore. That kind of Wild Bunch idea that we’ve outlived our time and we don’t fit in anymore, what do we do? That one kind of explored ideas of housing, money and class in London. Again, it was written by Matt Bayliss whose written our feature Exit. It’s kind of strange and the same with The Ingress Tapes. This was shot on my writer’s balcony; the whole movie takes place on a balcony. You kind of make this stuff, you shoot it in Canning Town and send it around the world, then people say we are going to show your movie in Arkansas and Texas. You think really? The Ingress Tapes funnily enough played in Texas last night in the South Texas Underground Film Festival and today its played in Southend. I am an old guy when it comes to technology and it still amazes me. It’s partly witchcraft that this can be happening across the globe like this, it’s something I have never really got used to. You put stuff out there and people say, “Wow I really loved it” and you don’t always actually get to see these people face to face a lot of the times. Which is why it’s always nice to come to Horror-on-Sea, I have been coming here for about five years now and I know a lot of the faces. It’s really nice to show it at a festival like this, to road test anything you’ve got. It’s a friendly crowd, but they will also tell you if they don’t like it and it sucks.

How can we see some of your previous films?

There is a really early film of mine called Dying Seconds which is on my Vimeo page. It’s very much a kind of fledgling work, but you’ll find all my trailers on my Vimeo page as well. One of my earliest films I shot was deliberately lo-fi movie about this RAF officer who is kind of abused and tested without him realising it. It was based on a guy called Frances Olson who was experimented on by the American military and they just made a series about it called Wormwood. I was like, I was there first, but I didn’t get the budget and I shot mine on a camcorder in Southgate.

The stuff is out there but I haven’t looked in to any self-distribution yet. I might put together a collection of short films, but I am just happy for people to come and see them at festivals. Because it’s great as a filmmaker to have people sit there and laugh or not, and just sit in the dark watching movies. Because that’s what cinema is, its not about sitting there and watching it on the phone, it’s a collective experience.

As a filmmaker yourself what advice would you give to young filmmakers looking to get into the industry?

I would say just make stuff and watch stuff. When we’re sitting down and trying to write or thinking how should this look, we sort of say, “that bit in Performance the way they did this”, or that bit in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) where the camera pulls back and they are in the warehouse. Martin Scorsese said the best advise for filmmakers is to enrich your palate, watch other people’s movies. I would say just go and make stuff because you can, anybody can. You make mistakes, but you’ve got to make mistakes and you’ve to show it other people. A friend just pointed out a mistake I made in The Ingress Tapes, which I am not going to tell you. I said you are the only person who spotted that. I knew it was in there, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it. You’ve got to take it on the chin and just go, yeah, your right. So, show it to anybody, go and make it and just watch as many films as you can.

You can find out more about Michael Fausti on his website: https://www.faustifilms.com/ and through his Vimeo channel: https://vimeo.com/user41223505

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