Actor, director and producer Michael Dickson agreed to be interviewed by the crew of Molins Horror Film Festival on the occasion of the upcoming release of the movie Black Mountain Side in the Unites States today 26th of january 2016.
After having with us the actor Carl Toftfelt for the screening of Black Mountain Side at last Molins Horror Festival 2015, it is our presure to present you now with the following interview with Michael Dickson, who played the role of Professor Piers Olsen in the movie.
1.- Black Mountain Side will be released in the US this month, ¿Will you be doing any promotion of the movie at the States?
For the past year and a half, leading up to the release, Black Mountain Side has been doing the film festival circuit through North America and Europe. Everyone involved has made an effort to attend as many festivals as possible, to connect with the fans and try to build a following. Social media has played a large part in that as well, making connections with people through Twitter, Facebook etc.
I don’t know what they have in mind for large scale promotion but, personally, I have been trying to reach out as much as possible to websites, bloggers and podcasts, making myself available for interviews. The producers, director and Director of Photography have as well. The response has been very positive and, hopefully, it motivates the audiences to check out the film.
2.- ¿Is horror genre popular in Canada?
Horror is huge in Canada…In North America in general. This is the first feature I have been involved with that falls within the horror genre so the whole experience was quite new to me. Doing the festival circuit was a real eye opener, it’s been phenomenal. I’ve tried to attend as many of the festivals as possible and everywhere we go the people have been amazing; both the folks putting on the festivals and the audiences that attended. Horror fans are just so passionate about the genre, I found it a really cool vibe.
3.- ¿Had you heard about Molins Horror Film Festival before this year? ¿What have you learned about us?
To be honest, I was not familiar with the Molins Horror Film Festival at all. I must admit, I am a little out of touch. The Fantasia Film Festival is one of the largest genre film festivals in North America but I was not familiar with IT until I learned that Black Mountain Side would be screening there.
What I HAVE learned about Molins is that it is the largest and one of the largest horror film festivals in Europe. I was not aware we were screening there until it was too late to schedule a trip, unfortunately. I would have loved to have attended. Fellow Black Mountain Side actor Carl Toftfelt attended and spoke very highly of it.
4.- ¿Any anecdote about your character of Professor Piers Olsen?
I don’t really have a good anecdote. Olsen is a Professor of Archaeology at the U of T. His area of expertise is Mesoamerica. He’s a man who’s devoted his life to solving the riddles of ancient cultures and searching for truth (and has paid the price, personally). Through the course of the film his beliefs are challenged and he is forced to rethink what he had held to be true.
One thing that is kind of interesting is that, when I was cast, I knew nothing about anyone else involved in the film. It was a bit weird because many of the cast and crew had worked together on previous projects and were familiar with each others work. I came in as a complete outsider, having never met any of the others. In a weird sort of way, it worked well for the character because he arrives on the site, also a complete outsider.
5.- ¿What is your favorite scene from Black Mountain Side movie?
I think the favourite one to film was “the hand” scene in the doctors office. It was one of the few scenes we shot that involved most of the actors and it was quite intense/scary/fun to film. A lot of work went into prepping for that scene because we were using practical special effects and knew we only had one maybe two takes to get it right. There was a big sigh of relief when that was done. Watching the audience response in screenings is always pretty cool, too.
6.- ¿What can you tell us about the director of the film Nick Szostakiwskyj?
Nick is a great guy and a great director. As an actor I really enjoyed working with Nick because he really spends time with the actors. Before we started filming I had a couple of meetings with Nick to discuss the character and help “flesh him out”. While on set, if there was a demanding scene coming up, he would take the actor aside, discuss the scene, help the actor get in the right mind set. As an actor, it’s great having that opportunity and a director who spends that kind of time with you. I’m still amazed when I think that Nick was only 21 when he directed Black Mountain Side.
7.- ¿What horror film you remember most from your childhood?
When I was little, one of the local stations had “The Chiller Thriller Theatre” late at night every Saturday. When my parents would go out my sisters and I would huddle around the TV and watch it. It was mostly these cheesy, horror, B movies but they would still scare the heck out of us. One that really stuck with me was “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”. It was about these weird little creatures that would crawl out of the fireplace and they were trying to capture the wife, in the movie. My sister and I watched it as kids but if we talk about it now, it still gives us the creeps.
8.- ¿What is your next project?
This summer I worked on a film called The Surveyor directed by Kristian Messere. It’s a gritty film about a guy trying to do the right thing and seeing it all go wrong. I play Walter, a bar owner who becomes something of a mentor on the main character’s path to revenge. That film is just going into post production and I will let you know more when I have more info.
Another film I am involved with is called Surftopia (working title). It might be more in line with your readers’ tastes. It is the story of an isolated surfing commune and has elements of immortality, cannibalism and psychological horror. A cool concept and should be a lot of fun to shoot. It’s currently in pre-production and I expect it will start filming early spring.
9.- We’ve heard you are co-directing “It’s a Rough Life” as a debut behind the camera. ¿How was that experience?
It’s A Rough Life is still in the pre-production process, actually. We were set to go to camera and ran in to a funding issue that needed to get resolved. The experience so far has been great, building a production team and casting a great bunch of actors. Hopefully we can get that launched soon. The plan was that I could focus on working mainly with the actors while Quinton, the other director could focus on the technical end of things. We both are slated to act in this as well so we could trade places when one of us had to be in front of the camera.
10.- The next edition of Molins Horror Film Festival will focus on mutations, ¿what is your favorite film on that topic?
I guess my favourite would have to be The Fly…both versions. I thought the Cronenberg version with Jeff Goldblum was great. I’m a pretty big Cronenberg fan and I really like his take on the material. I also loved the original, with Vincent Price. I remember seeing that as a kid and that final scene really stuck in my head. I got a kick out of the movies that followed, too, like Return of the Fly, Curse of the Fly etc.