Dusty Stokes talks with Gabriella Wright about this week’s release, The Perfect Husband:

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We’re back with ANOTHER interview this week, this time with the lovely actress and model, Gabriella Wright. Gabriella is here to talk to us today about her movie The Perfect Husband which releases on blu-ray this week!

The Perfect Husband is being released by Artsploitation Films on blu-ray and tells the story of a couple who are going through tough times and choose to spend a weekend at a remote cabin. Things end up going badly quite quick as fear and paranoia turn into an intense and horrifying experience.

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Gabriella, who plays the leading role as Viola, really shows her acting talent in this one, and we are thoroughly excited to have had the opportunity to get our questions answered by her. So let’s go straight into the goods!

TheNerdMentality: Gabriella, you rock! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. To get things started, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Gabriella Wright: That is a good question, I always say that I am a global nomad with a heart full of nationalities. I was born in London to an English-Irish-Scottish artist father and to a Portuguese-French-Mauritian mother. I am an actor, singer, writer, and philanthropist; and most importantly, a mother to a little boy.

TNM: My goodness, so a bit of everything it seems! But you are here to talk about The Perfect Husband, so let’s do that. The film is intense, and I would assume it must have been emotionally taxing. How did you prepare yourself mentally for this role? How did you balance being in a state to play the role without letting it get to you?

GW: It was a very emotionally taxing role. It demanded a lot of physical stamina but also emotional and mental in addition, with a strong inner foundation.

I have my own way of approaching my work, and that is a combination of meditation that strengthens my inner core stability so that I can then spring off into the depth of the character without ever getting lost. I also have a wonderful acting coach Goli Samii who has guided me through active dream work to layer the character’s subconscious activity. It’s the part of the work that I prefer the most, to dive in to the ocean of subconsciousness and find little gems. It creates an unpredictability, and that is what Viola is.

TNM: Viola goes through a rollercoaster of emotions throughout this film. Was this challenge daunting to you, or an exciting opportunity?

GW: I was scared at first but my acting coach said that I really needed to go there, and I did. I trusted her instinct and vision as well as Lucas Pavetto’s precise direction. It was hard but I was never alone.

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TNM: With all of this intensity and emotions, it must have affected you personally during filming. Can you describe how it felt?

GW: It was painful to be honest, when you experience pain in the present moment, one cannot judge it. It just happens. And so yes, it was intense, I was crying all the time in my hotel room with almost physical sensations of losing a child. I am a mother, so it’s the most horrifying emotion to loose one’s child. A part of you is lost forever and we yearn for it for forever. I took on that role to also exorcise that emotion like a catharsis; to expel the emotion so that it actually heals you in the process.

TNM: Before filming began, were you told anything more about Viola that we don’t see on screen? Is there a lot of backstory developed to help you react, or is it largely left to you to work out yourself?

GW: Lucas didn’t tell me that much other than what he wanted out of each scene. I had to create the magic of behind the scenes, and sometimes he would tell me something just before shooting a scene as if a golden nugget of information that would make me view Viola’s sickness in a whole new light. To be honest, there were a lot of things that I hadn’t noticed in the script that he had perfectly planned out visually as to clues, etc. It’s wonderful to work with him, he is a true artist, and he directs only for what he needs to see on screen. This leaves the actors a lot of freedom.

TNM: Is this the type of role that you would normally seek out? Did you learn anything particular from taking this role?

GW: I believe that roles come to you for a reason in your life; to either heal you or to give you a gift, or for you to give back. Shakespeare wrote that ‘all the world is a stage’ and so is art. I healed something very profound with this role in the disguise of a low budget thriller horror;  the ability to heal abuse towards women. Because playing Viola was confronting an emotional past, she gave me a gift that allowed me to rise above. This is why life is a complete mystery, and yet everything happens for a reason. You just have to seize and recognize those moments in time, and this was one of them.

TNM: What makes The Perfect Husband special? Why should our readers go out and buy/rent/stream this movie?

GW: Because it is not just what you expect. The ending is not what you would expect.

TNM: Did anything particularly interesting happen during filming that you would care to share with us?

GW:  We were filming near Mount Etna in Sicily, and the volcano erupted… it was beautiful, we could feel the ground shaking.

TNM: Awesome, thank you so much for opening up about this role. I know this one is a bit darker than most, so it can be a bit more difficult to answer the questions. Let’s do a 180 and talk about you now. We’d like to know more about the actor, singer, writer, and philanthropist! What are some of your favorite films?

GW: My favorite film is Doctor Zhivago, I am a David Lean fan. I just loved the depth of how he would tell these epic stories like Lawrence of Arabia. I love a good epic story. And then there are films like Cinema Paradiso, directed by Guiseppe Tornatore, which makes me dream and cry at the same time. These films made me interested in directing, which I am hoping to do very soon (acting came as a natural bridge to that). The English Patient is a great film too.

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TNM: Having been a model and an actress, it’s easy for us mere mortals to consider you too far above the mundane, everyday life that the rest of us live. Are there any “normal” activities that you really enjoy? Get a kick out of grocery shopping? Do you like folding laundry? Anything boring like that?

GW: That’s a funny question! I am more normal that you think, I love doing my laundry actually, especially since I travel a lot and it’s a form of meditation and I’m alone when I do it. I like going to buy tea – that’s my favorite thing to do – tea and chocolate shopping. I also love driving anywhere. Anything that puts me into a meditation mode I enjoy. I also have started spending time on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and it has been so wonderfully instructive and humbling, there is nothing better in life than to learn and stay close to the earth. The mundane is not mundane if one is mindful.

TNM: Are there any roles that you desperatley want to play?

GW:  I wish to play Mata Hari, Alexandra David Need, all real women who made a difference and risked their lives….

TNM: What music is on your phone or iPod right now?

GW: My sister’s new EP – I listen to it non stop. It’s magical and drifts me into another world. Her voice is quite something. It’s called “From Untamed Valley” by Paulette Wright. It’s electro music. I use music a lot for my roles. I also have a lot of classical requiems from Mozart to Faure.

Thanks so much! Those were great questions.
My best wishes,
Gabriella XX

TNM: Ok first off, I want to point out that Gabriella totally gave me the XX at the end there. She didn’t have to do that, so she obviously likes me right? Secondly, I want to thank Gabriella one more time for being an amazing person who answered the questions we sent her even though she is a busy lady. We are looking forward to reviewing the blu-ray release of The Perfect Husband soon, and hope you guys go out and pick it up to support Gabriella and Artsploitation.
If you want to get in touch with Gabriella Wright you can do so on her Facebook page, through Twitter, or on her website.

If you’re interested in picking up the movie, you can do so HERE.

Dusty Stokes talks with Joseph Sims-Dennett about Observance, streeting next week on DVD and Blu-Ray and Vimeo:

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We have had the distinct pleasure of getting a handful of our questions answered by the highly talented Joseph Sims-Dennett, the writer/director/producer of Observance, which is coming to blu-ray on August 2nd by way of Artsploitation Films.

Observance is a truly intense film about a private investigator who is tasked with watching a woman from an abandoned and derelict apartment across the street. Over the course of the several days he is on the job, an escalating number of bizarre occurrences take place that builds up the tension and sends him into a downward spiral as he relives recent horrific events. Reality blurs with paranoia and fear in this one, and brings you along for the ride.

We will be reviewing the blu-ray soon, but for now, check out our interview with the man who made this all happen!

TheNerdMentality: Joseph, first off, let me thank you for letting us tackle you with some questions for your upcoming release of Observance on blu-ray. Before we dive into the questions, can you give us the tl;dr on who you are, what you do, and where you come from?

Joseph Sims-Dennett: Hi. My name is Joseph Sims-Dennett, I’m a Syndey based filmmaker but am English born. I directedObservance and co-wrote and produced the film alongside my good friend Josh Zammit.

TNM: So, this is your second feature length film in which you’ve written, directed, and produced. It seems that any one of these three tasks is daunting and involved enough, is it the freedom and control that compels you to take on all three tasks?

JSD: No, it’s because no one else would do it other than me (and Josh who I mentioned before). This was purely a passion project for us.

TNM: Would you consider working with other writers? Or are you mostly interested in working on your own stories?

JSD: I prefer co-writing with one other person, I get too anxious by myself. My co-writer kinda becomes my muse for that project. I just love dreaming up a world and characters with another person, it’s so much more of a pleasant experience than making a film! I’d consider someone else’s script but there’s so many and I can only make a film if I feel that the story inspires something deep within me, or enough to keep my excited for the 2 years it takes to make it. I’ve been given so many scripts to read and they’ve all been very bad so far, so I’m a little hesitant to put my energy into reading other people’s stuff over developing my own.

TNM: Can you describe your creative process? How did the idea of Observance come to fruition? We certainly hope you weren’t drawing from past experiences on this one, heh.

JSD: Josh and I were both working in TV commercials and he’d moved into my apartment to be closer to the city where the office was. Shortly after he moved in we both got fired (for different reasons of which neither were our fault, promise!). We decided that we’d spend the summer making a film and ended up wandering the streets at night, hanging out in abandoned buildings, that kinda stuff. It was kinda like therapy for us. We’d discuss how we felt as though we had no control over our lives and that ended up as the key theme for Observance: about a man hired to spy on a woman but not told why.

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TNM: What makes Observance special? Why should our readers go out and buy/rent/stream this movie?

JSD: I think the reason for this film’s success is it’s clear sense of tone. That grit and texture, this real sense of rising dread and terror. It was exactly the feeling that Josh and I set out to express by making Observance and we feel very proud to have achieved that.

TNM: Do you have any particularly interesting stories from making this film?

JSD: We shot the film in our own apartment in 11 days and during the biggest heatwave in history, it was awful. The anxiety and delirium on the set really feeds into the aesthetic of Observance which is good, complete madness! But it was a little traumatizing for us to experience.

TNM: Often times when looking on our completed projects we see our greatest influences shining through, reflected in our work. Who influenced you the most in film? Do you feel that you’ve drawn from any particular artists on this project?

JSD: I made a conscious effort to not allow myself to be influenced by other films. I really looked into myself to find this film as I wanted it to be completely personal to me. Ironically people have made some extremely flattering comparisons with the likes of Rear Window (obviously), The Conversation, and Repulsion, all of which I’d never seen before making this film. But Josh and I had seen Pulse (Japanese version), which I think explains the red tape around the window. Plus I think it’s fair to say you’re influenced by every film you’ve ever seen, subconsciously or not.

TNM: Looking back at Observance in its completed form, is there anything that you would go back and change? Were there any tough calls or changes that you had to make to get the film out there?

JSD: I guess not. When you’re doing a film it feels like such an horrible exercise in compromise, which is why I’ve learned to just twist things on the day and find something new and fresh. I really wish we’d had more time so I didn’t have to have a heart attack every day, but then would not having that level of delirium on the set have affected the interesting tone that the film finally found? I have no idea…

TNM: From conception to retail release, what part of the filmmaking process is your favorite? What is your least favorite?

JSD: I hate producing when there’s no budget. It’s really crap. My favourite part of the process would be the sound mix, which is essentially the final stage before the film is complete. It’s this strange moment, particularly in the case of Observance, where the horror and psychological elements are transformed into this more abstract, meditative space that sound occupies. I find it really exciting seeing the puzzle you’ve been agonizing over for months suddenly turn into a film.

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TNM: Throughout Observance, we see Parker going through a pretty intense downward spiral over the course of seven days of observing this woman. We see his mental state change with several intermixed memories and visions he has that get more and more surreal and haunted. Furthermore, we see a change in the apartment itself. Were these minute details all planned ahead of time? How many of the finer details of a film end up being added as you go?

JSD: We did some pickups with just myself and Josh, I cut my thumb open and slit my wrist in close up (cheaper than prosthetics but not recommended). A lot of the close up details, eyeballs etc, were all planned more or less but I do remember the marriage of the pendant and the engagement ring, in particular the meaning placed on them, becoming more important to the story through discussions with actors Stephanie King and Lindsay Farris on set.

TNM: Speaking of Parker, Lindsay Farris certainly played him perfectly. Did you have any knowledge of Lindsay prior to working with him?

JSD: I met Lindsay working with him on my first film and since then we have become very good friends. Observance was written and made with Lindsay in mind as we were both very excited to work with each other again and he’s one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met and is a huge part of why this film got over the line.

TNM: Do you have several other stories lined up that you want to work on? Any way we can get a glimpse at something that may be coming up?

JSD: I’m working with Kristian Moliere who produced The Babadook on a new film that I have written with Josh Zammit again. It’s based on real life events and we’re not ready to announce yet so I can’t give more details, but I can’t wait to be back on set.

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TNM: Now for some personal questions, because we want to get to know you a bit more, as do your fans. What are some of your favorite films? Was there one that is ultimately responsible for your interest in filming?

JSD: I grew up in the ‘90s so I remember the ‘Star Wars’ re-releases, I thought ‘Terminator 2’ was fucking terrifying, couldn’t handle ‘The Matrix’. I was pretty obsessive and weird. I guess my favourite film is Bergman’s ‘Wild Strawberries’, after I watched that for the first time it just lingered with me for weeks and weeks, really stirred something with me. Nothing better than a film bringing on an existential crisis! There’s been some pretty incredible movies lately, in particular ‘Under the Skin’ and this year’s ‘Evolution’. Another film I love and watch a lot is ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’. I like films that put me under a spell and really challenge me. I’m not much interested in escapism and those sorts of bangs and crashes, light entertainment superhero movies, they feel pretty hollow.

TNM: Outside of film, what passions do you have? Any hobbies?

JSD: I guess I read books, go down the pub, that kinda stuff. But I’m in love with making films and that really does take up almost all of my life.

TNM: Have you ever thought of putting yourself on camera? Any interest in starring in a film?

JD: I am in Observance, but only because I couldn’t find anyone else to play creepy Walter Moore. But to answer your question, I would definitely not like to be in front of the camera. I’m really rubbish at acting, unless someone is after a person with no emotional range.

TNM: What music is on your phone or iPod right now?

JSD: Pye Corner Audio (does that sound cool enough?)

TNM: If there is anything else you’d like to plug or talk about please feel free to do so.

JSD: Please buy my film so I can pay my credit card off.

Great questions, thanks very much!!  -JSD

You can reach out to Joseph Sims-Dennett on Facebook, Twitter, and on the film’s website. And don’t forget to buy the blu-ray, coming out in August!

SearchMyTrash.com Is Shocked by THE PERFECT HUSBAND

” you’ll actually get your money’s worth even before the pay-off – the (very) extended finale (plus the rather unexpected resolution) really pack a punch, going beyond what you’d expect of a movie of this irk not so much in explicitly but sheer audacity and willingness to push the story further and further still. Quite shocking a finale, actually – and wonderful because of that!” – Searchmytrash.com

 

Brokehorrorfan.com Is Sickened By FEVER

“[A] fascinating exploration of human psychology….thought-provoking psychological film.” – Brokehorrorfan.com

Now in all honesty, the review is not all that posititve, But here at Artsploitation, we take what we get.

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HorrorMovies.ca Is Cinematically Eaten & Spewed Out by DER BUNKER

“Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes this little gem which slaps you around the face, pulls your twisted carcass in, and then spews you out more deranged than before. Der Bunker is brilliant, fascinating and utterly bizarre, yet it has this strange warming charm about it.” It’s beautifully shot and edited and the score is just a perfect fit. It’s a delightful arthouse film that’s quirky and highly appealing which is destined to be a cult classic. I loved it. For me, this is one of the best films I’ve seen this year! – HorrorMovies.ca

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Chryptic Rock Dumps Girlfriend after Watching The Perfect Husband

“[Director, screenwriter] Pavetto and [screenwriter] Vavassori prove they are geniuses when it comes to suspense…it is an hour and twenty-five minutes worth of drama and speculation. After watching this thriller, many people will probably think twice before choosing their partner for the rest of their lives.” – CrypticRock

Canuck Horror Site Loves THE PERFECT HUSBAND

“Heart-wrenching, unnerving and utterly brutal right up until the shocking end. It’s a beautifully shot film with great practical effects and a haunting mood. It’s a genuinely entertaining flick that’s brutal, bloody, unnerving and visually satisfying.” – HorrorMovies.ca

Bunny with an 18′ Dick Penetrates Smiling Critic

Matthew Baker, the seemingly sane critic at Shattered Ravings screened BUNNY THE KILLER THING and fell in love. He wrote, “One of the wildest and weirdest films I’ve ever seen…a mesmerizing, stomach-churning, and gut-busting foray into hilarity and horror. And I loved every minute of it. If you are easily offended, stop reading right now, and move on to something else. But if you can stand gratuitous rabbit/human nudity, then you’re in for a real show. BUNNY THE KILLER THING is a riotous venture into the absurd….grab a group of friends and buckle up for a bizarre trip.” bunny-the-killer-thing

Director Joseph Sims-Dennett channelled his own nightmares into Observance.

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In January 2013, the temperature inside director Joseph Sims-Dennett’s apartment was soaring to 55 degrees, as he called “action” and his lead actor vomited black ooze into a bathroom sink.

No, it wasn’t because of trauma from the heat (although Sims-Dennett did send everyone home that day).

If you’ve seen Observance, you know the scene in question – one of several hair-raising moments in the shudder-inducing psychological horror film, which had its world premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival last year and will premiere at Sydney’s Randwick Ritz on April 3.

An idea born of a bad time in his life, Sims-Dennett says the shoot was equally horrifying.
It coincided with Sydney’s hottest recorded heat wave, which was only magnified inside his Rozelle apartment where Observance was shot.

“We were doing these 17-18 hour days and everyone got burnt out really quickly. We were all just swaying,” he says.

But there was a silver lining.

“That feeling that was on the set – particularly my anxiety – was somehow captured in what we were shooting.”

It was the intention of Observance, which emerged from a dark time in his life.

In November 2012, he and co-writer/producer Josh Zammit had both just lost their jobs and decided to use their spare time over the summer to make an art-house film.

“We lived over in Rozelle and at night we would walk around Rozelle and Balmain, or wander over to Callan Park – that gigantic abandoned mental hospital – break in there and walk around talking about what made us scared,” he says.

“It was almost like therapy, like an examination of what made us frightened, and that’s what fed into the script and where it came from.”

The film follows a private investigator (played by Lindsay Farris) who is wading through his own personal grief when he lands a seemingly easy job: to watch a young woman in her home and report back. But as he trains his camera on the subject from a derelict apartment across the street, strange and increasingly disturbing occurrences begin to happen, seemingly coming from the building itself.

The feeling of unease that infuses Observance has drawn comparisons to Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby and Rear Window – something that’s flattering, but unintentional on Sims-Dennett’s part (he didn’t even see Repulsion until after they finished filming).
Yet however unsettling Observance might be, Sims-Dennett sees it now as a kind of window into his past.

Time Travelling Sci-fi COUNTER CLOCKWISE Is Acquired by Artsploitation Films

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Artsploitation Films is proud to announce the acquisition of Counter Clockwise, a hyperventilating blend of science fiction, horror and dark comedy directed by Atlanta-native George Moïse. The film is currently enjoying an extensive festival run and is the recent winner of “Best Science Fiction Film” at both the Eugene International and Action on Film Festivals.

A scientist working on inventing teleportation instead accidentally invents time travel. As a test, he zaps himself 6 months into the future but that future is a sinister, confusing and violent one as he finds himself being chased by hitmen as well as being the prime suspect in the murders of his wife and sister. He attempts to change history and save his loved ones by travelling back in time to resolve the mysteries.

The film, starring Devon Ogden and Kerry Knuppe, is set for DVD and VOD release October 4, 2016.

Artsploitation president Ray Murray said, “Totally inventive, fun, and complex. I immediately watched it a second time just to fully understand all the wild happenings! We do not release many American made films, but this film marks an acquisitions exception. We hope audiences will enjoy and be confounded as much as I. We release a lot of difficult and challenging titles, but with Counter Clockwise, we have an entertaining, fast-paced sci-fi murder/mystery treat.”