Anyone can make a film today, but getting distribution and garnering the attention of audiences is the real hurdle. Writer/director Chris Blake has accomplished both of these tasks with his latest horror/thriller All Light Will End starring Andy Buckley (The Office), Sarah Butler (I Spit on Your Grave) and Ted Welch (The Help). The film, distributed by Gravitas Ventures, follows a capricious young author hiding a dark secret when she returns home for her brother’s graduation, finding herself haunted by the past and tormented by grim night terrors. Chris is a fan of the saying, “There’s the movie you write, the movie you shoot, and the movie you edit.” He discusses this philosophy and much more in the exclusive interview below.
Was All Light Will End a difficult film to get made? What was the most challenging part of the process?
Chris Blake: I feel like every film is difficult to get made these days. I think the toughest hurdle we face today as indie filmmakers is saturation. The film industry has become so accessible and there are so many films being made all over the world, that it’s becoming more and more difficult for projects to rise above the noise. Studios and private equity investors are pitched so frequently, and have so many options to choose from, getting them to see the value in your project is the most pressing challenge we’re all facing.
Which character do you relate to most in the film?
Chris Blake: There’s a little of me in all the characters I write and a little bit of truth to all of my stories – so, it’s difficult to pin it down to one character in particular. I’d like to think I’m most present in the hero of the story, and the least present in the psychopathic antagonists that make their way into my films, but I’m not sure that’s true. Fingers crossed.
What was the most difficult character to cast in All Light Will End? Why?
Chris Blake: Probably Paul. I needed a good-looking, fun-loving guy, who could also double as a perverted blackmailing asshole at the flip of a switch. I was happy we pulled the trigger on Graham Outerbridge. I think he brings a lot of depth to the character.
In one word, what is All Light Will End about?
Chris Blake: Vindication.
Did this script and your vision of the film evolve over time?
Chris Blake: It did. I think it has to. There’s an old saying I love – “There’s the movie you write, the movie shoot, and the movie you edit.” Sometimes, you write what’s in your head, and then when you see it or you hear it, you know it needs to be something else. And then other times your producer says, “Yeah, we had the money to do it that way before you cast this person and shot this other scene the way you wanted to, now we don’t have the money to do it this way anymore.” That’s always fun to hear. But you adjust and have to get creative and oftentimes the movie ends up being better because of it. Then editing is of course a totally different discussion because everything changes when you see what you’ve shot. It’s like a puzzle that could go several different ways and a lot of times it’s different (and hopefully better) than the way you wrote it.
As a director, what do you think is your most important job?
Chris Blake: I think that depends on which director you are at any given point – whether you’re on set, in the editing room, in pre-production, etc. Overall, I think the director has to commit to a vision and protect the story, even if that means realizing their idea isn’t the best idea. A director’s responsibility is to the story and figuring out how to tell it in the best way possible.
What do you enjoy most about your career?
Chris Blake: Creating. Freedom.
When do story ideas normally hit you?
Chris Blake: Anything at any point could spark a story idea. I never know when or where it’s coming from.
Was there a film that you saw when you were younger that made you want to get in the business?
Chris Blake: Yes, Jerry Maguire. I was 11. The way Cameron Crowe told that story. I don’t know. To this day, it’s still my favorite movie.