The pure emotion, from a very early age, of seeing a film and feeling it take you over like a high... At first it was all the things I loved as a kid -- James Bond films and Spaghetti Westerns and things like that (which I still love). Then I started discovering the masters and finding out which films spoke to me and when they did -- the total immersion, the experience of being taking to another world for a couple of hours, opening your mind to new things and ideas on such an emotional level. How could you not fall in love with that?
I’ve directed a fair amount of stuff in the past, such as music videos, commercials and short films and I believe that the best way to learn in this industry – I mean, you can go to film school and that’s good – but ultimately, the only way you’re ever going to learn is through raw experience.
I think when you’re shooting on such a tight budget and schedule, the insanity and the energy and the sense of spirit is what makes the experience unique. Ten percent more isn’t going to make enough of a difference and anything that would — double the budget, triple the time — then you’re making a different kind of film.
Dawn of the Dead is one of the most prophetic and disturbing films you’ll see, and I challenge you to find anyone who can find another film from that era which provides the same level of social commentary.
And for the genre stuff I'm a big fan of Carpenter, Romero, Peckinpah, and Polanski, because they're unremitting and real and brilliant at showing characters under unbearable stress and unafraid of challenging us with uncomfortable truths as well as being just incredible filmmakers.
I suppose my mega heroes are the films of Michael Powell and Sam Peckinpah. I would have loved to have looked over their shoulder. I’m a bit of a cinephile. I love cinema. It’s an amazing medium. I can go and watch anything from very, very arty films to huge Hollywood spectaculars and everything in between.
Donkey Punch is a very extreme, real-world thriller – it’s about characters and events that are based in reality and it pushes them into very dark and extreme situations where they have to do things that they would never have imagined. The film shows all this quite realistically and doesn’t pull its punches.