PopHorror recently got the chance to interview Jérôme Cohen-Olivar, the director and writer for the new horror film The 16th Episode. Read on to learn more about his film including the inspiration behind the it, upcoming projects, and more.
You can now watch this film in select Theaters, Digital, and On Demand. So make sure to check it out!
PH: Hey Jerome, thanks for sitting down with us today! This film has such a great concept – how did the premise for The 16th Episode come to be?
Jérôme – It was pretty intuitive; I knew I wanted to make a horror film. I also knew that I wanted it to be visceral because of how our thesis was before there were more captivating and thought of in a way. I knew I couldn’t sell them, so at some point I said I am going to do something completely intuitive and from the heart. I did. I didn’t really think about the market or I didn’t think of it as a spec script. I thought of it as “I am going to write this thing and I am just going to shoot it on my own with my limited means and we’ll see what happens”, so I wrote it. I almost sent it to my agent by mistake and he liked it. The rest is pretty much history. I toned the script and we made the movie.
PH: What were the locations like for this film? Did you and your crew get to travel anywhere interesting? And what was the scouting process like?
Jérôme –The movie was entirely shot in Morocco, even the Brazilian scene was shot in Casablanca. We took an entire area that was mainly made of slums. We painted and did all the work there to make it look like Brazil. It was a lot of fun and I wanted to concentrate on the locations because we were on a tight budget. We had to make sure all the locations were nearby, especially Casablanca and its surroundings. During the process, very organically, we wanted the movie to kind of have a unity in how it looks. We basically concentrated each location close to the others so that everything looked fluid on camera.
PH: You guys accomplished a lot with a very sparse cast. Did you have specific actors in mind for each role, or did it come about through auditions?
Jérôme – No I didn’t, because again it was a low budget horror film. I didn’t have specific actor in mind. On the contrary, I wanted the actors to be unknown. We went the real way. Myself and my producing partner at Magic Films, went through the internet. We looked at hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of actors until we found what we were looking for. It took a lot of time and it was an extremely difficult and painful process. Sometimes actors are wonderful, but you just keep pushing and pushing until you find what you are looking for. It was basically just looking on the Internet until we found them and it was kind of all across the globe. That made it even more fun.
PH: Your dark and brooding color palettes also added a nice bit of suspense. What was it like working with your cinematographer for The 16th Episode?
Jérôme – That’s a cool question. I think it was his first time being a cinematographer and he had been a key gaffer. He was a first assistant camera on my previous movie, so I knew him and I knew he wanted to be a cinematographer. I loved his approach and I loved lighting, so he had so many familiar work. He understood the concept and understood what I wanted the movie to look like. He understood the contrast between the comedy and horror and how to make it not lean in one particular direction. He knew how to light for comedy and how to light for horror as well as how to balance the two. He was very intuitive and is an extremely talented person. I think that this is just the beginning for him and he is great cinematographer and there is no question to that. For me, working with him was a perfect match and we got along very well.
PH: Do you have any other upcoming projects in the works that you are allowed/would like to share with us?
Jérôme – I have many that are in different stages of development. I am working on a horror piece right now. I don’t want to speak too much of it. We are very superstitious from where I come from so I am hoping to begin shooting very soon.