Hollow Walls is an award winning short horror, suspense and thriller about a woman trapped in her home during a post-apocalyptic event. The film depicts her struggle to survive in her new hostile, and uncertain reality.
Michael Minard, the director of the film, was born in Waterloo and grew up in a small town called Readlyn. He graduated from Hawkeye Community College with an associates degree in Digital Mass Media. Michael has made several student films, but is now pushing his abilities with his directorial debut.
How did you start making films and what was the first film project you worked on?
I started making films out of necessity. I was in a rock band, and we didn’t have a large budget. So what do you do, when you’d like music videos for promoting said band, but are broke? Do them yourselves! And that was my directorial debut.
What was the inspiration behind the making of your horror film?
I wanted to write an original love story actually. I wrote the screen play as if I was in my character’s situation. So all the dialogue pays homage to my wife, and the characters are LGBT+ because I wanted to honor my many friends in that community. So it’s a love story that happens to fall into the horror genre.
What is the most challenging aspect of being an independent filmmaker in the film industry?
I haven’t had many issues actually. I’d say for me, if I had to pick one, it’s been raising a budget for various projects. Luckily though, I’ve found a great team of people. We all help each other, and are willing to trade labor for experience. So even then, a budget isn’t really an issue either. Haha!
How difficult is it to fund indie horror films?
I guess I answered this above but, I’ll just add this… If you have zero experience but, want to get your feet wet. Don’t be afraid to work for free. I’ve solved many budget concerns, by finding great people who want some experience. And I never forget those people either. When I have a larger budget, they’re the first ones payed. Because if you do great work for free, I wanna see what work you’ll do when getting paid.
Please name three of your most favorite directors. How have they been influential in your work? Andrew Dominick- His use of visual storytelling is amazing. Both in the way he utilizes lighting on set, to the actual edit of the film. Very creative director. Christopher Nolan- Another director with amazing ability to visually tell stories. His final edits are works of art, and I respect his choice of using practical effects, and film instead of digital. Quentin Tarantino- Another director who tells a great visual story but, I gotta say his dialogue is second to none. His work paved the way for so many young directors like myself, and it basically transformed filmmaking as we know it.
How did your film go into production and how did you finalize the cast and the crew? Much of the cast and crew are my friends, with similar aspirations of their own in the industry. We all help each other, with the same goal in mind. If one of us succeeds, we all succeed. How was the film received by your audience and film festivals and what is your plan for further distribution of the film? I haven’t decided about the long term distribution but, so far it’s been a blast. We’ve entered over 30 festivals that will run until 2022, and so far I’ve been in two of those initial 30. And feedback has been great! We won our selection for Best Short Horror in the Montreal Independent Film Festival, and I’m hoping we can win a few more.
What do you recommend to other filmmakers regarding the making and the distribution of independent horror genres? I honestly couldn’t say, I make films in many genres so the horror genre by itself, I couldn’t say. As far as making films, just get out there and do it. I’ve seen so many filmmakers start projects and never finish them. Just get out there, put the work in, and finish the project. Distribution can’t happen without something to distribute. What is your next film project and what are you currently working on? I am currently finishing my screenplay for my first feature length film. We’ll start raising a budget for the project here soon. My next film you’ll see in festivals though, will be my directorial debut “All Roads End”. It’s a short suspense, thriller. I’m excited to see how it does. Why do you make films? I love telling stories, and visually building the worlds my characters live in. It’s been my childhood dream to be a filmmaker, and I’m excited to finally be perusing that dream full time. I love creating art, and film is my medium.