Friday, April 19, 2013

Guest Blogger: ANSEL FARAJ

There are 8 days to go till the world premiere of DOCTOR MABUSE, my first major motion picture. Yes, if you look at my resume you will see that DOCTOR MABUSE is my 21st film, but really - it's my first true film. A real professional piece of cinema, as opposed to earlier efforts.

I have just watched the film for the last time, just one last glance on my own before it gets projected on a 60ft screen, and there are a few things I must say. Forgive me if I brag at times, but wouldn't you brag about your own work?

To begin with, I must thank two very important people: Linden and Kathryn. One said no, while the other said yes. Linden was first pitched the film 2 years ago, but said no to the role of Mabuse. He didn't feel sinister enough. And I thank him every day for saying "No" 2 years ago. If he had said yes, I don't think I would be writing this essay right now. And as a side note, he's a fine Inspector Von Wenk.

Kathryn on the other hand, said yes. She took a huge risk on me, she didn't know me from Adam, she could have very easily said no - but she didn't. She said yes; and with that "Yes", she started a snowball effect. That yes meant everything would be different. The movie would be bigger. The production would be more professional that it ever had been. The public attention would be greater. With her saying "Yes", it helped (I think - I might be wrong...) Jerry to say "Yes". And it most certainly helped Lara to say "Yes". And without Jerry and Lara, there would be no Dr. Mabuse, nor Madame Carrozza. Without Kathryn, there would be no Madame Von Harbau, nor would there be a movie. To the 'Dark Shadows Trio', thank you for everything. Not just for acting in my film (films if you count our upcoming sequel), but for teaching me how the industry works, and helping me improve my skills - whether it's in writing, directing, or even cinematography.

Second, I must thank Nathan. He jumped on board despite the troubles we had both endured on our previous film. He was willing to give me another chance at directing him, and directing him on one of the strangest, most complicated scripts he'd ever read. He took this character of Inspector Lohemann, and ran with it, turning in one of the most nuanced and disturbed performances I've ever seen come from an actor. He sold it. And if he couldn't sell it - the movie's plot would most certainly fall apart. It's his film dramatically as much as it's mine as a whole. I couldn't have gotten a better Inspector.

My supporting cast - Derek, John, Annie, Bahia, David, Vivian, and Julian; they all have turned in magnificent performances. They fully inhabit the world of MABUSE, they make it real. And they make it frightening too. All I can say is, I would not want to end up locked in a room with their characters if their characters were real. I think you will agree with me.

Bill Wandel - what else can I say? The man is one of the best composers in the business, and one of the best guy's in the business, regardless of his job title. I seriously believe he was possessed by the spirit of Bernard Herrmann while composing our score. He's been one of the few that I can rely on, whether it's in his work, or just asking his thoughts on a moment in the film. It's only our third film together, but I hope we have the chance to continue collaborating into the future.

To everyone who helped get the word out: David Elijah-Nahmod, Wallace McBride, Moe Banshee, Stuart Manning, William Maynard, Paul Rowlands and Rod Labbe (whose articles will be coming out soon) - thank you for taking such a strong interest in my film. I really owe it to you all for letting people know about it and helping it's audience grow. And thank you for teaching me how to do an interview, God knows I'll need to know how to do one in the future.

Gloria and Darren - two people who helped along the edges. Gloria for keeping Jerry's fan club constantly updated on the progress of the film, and for keeping Jerry's name out there, I think you're going to have to add Dr. Mabuse to Jerry's two other greatest characters, Humphrey Bogart and Rev. Trask! Darren, who gave me - and continues to give me great advice along the way. I cant thank you enough for your editing input after watching the film in December.

Jim Pierson and Lance Alspaugh - without these two men, you probably wouldn't be seeing DOCTOR MABUSE at all. The "distribution guys" as I call them, Jim's hard work with the Dark Shadows fan base has kept DS going after all these years, and his acceptance of DOCTOR MABUSE into the DS pantheon is something I shall always be grateful for. Lance, whose theaters DOCTOR MABUSE will be playing at, his continuous patience with me and kindness - to take a risk on me as well with agreeing to screen my film in theaters, and giving me the theatrical release I had always hoped for, something I still can't quite believe, to him I say "Thank You" times a million.

To wrap this all up somehow, I'm going to talk a bit about my film. DOCTOR MABUSE is not a Dark Shadows movie. Nor is it a traditional Dr. Mabuse movie. It's not a remake, sequel, reboot, adaptation, whatever-you-wanna-call-it. It's not even like my other films, really. It is its own film. It's a dark, psychedelic, Gothic, paranoia thriller. It's got an amazing ensemble of talent, a beautiful music score, and it's a great fun ride. And to all of you, who read this, I hope you enjoy my film. I ask only two things of you - tell all your friends to go see it, either in its limited theatrical run, or on DVD later this year; but please don't reveal its secrets. Let them discover those on their own... in the dark.

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