September 25, 2011
Posted by Kathryn Griffiths
Interview with Director Andrew Cymek and Producer and Actress Brigette Kingsley of Dark Rising: Summer Strikes Back
K: What inspired you to make 'Dark Rising?'
A: Dark Rising: Summer Strikes Back is actually the sequel to Dark Rising which we shot about 4 years ago with some friends with a camera in the woods and just decided it was just a good time as many to shoot our first feature, so we shot that film. It was a horror-comedy and we had a lot of fun doing it, it did very well – better than anyone had expected it to do. Then [when] I went on to my other movie called “Medium Raw”- which was not very fun – it was hard to do. When we finished Medium Raw, the first thing I wanted to do was go back and have fun making movies again, because it was so stressful. Because we had met lifelong friends making Dark Rising 1, it was a no-brainer, bringing back the old crew, having fun – having a laugh. The premise was always about bringing back a team of friends and having fun making a movie that we would want to watch, like Back to the Future, like Ghostbusters. Something we'll sit around and eat popcorn with – we want to make one of those. So that was the reason behind Dark Rising: Summer Strikes back, and it was a great call, because what we hoped would happen with it, happened with it. We had a blast.
B: We were talking to people and there was an interest in making a series and a feature so we just kind of ran with it and it has kind of been our life for the past four years.
A: We shot a low budget movie, figured it would go nowhere and it became a cult hit and we had a following – people wanted a sequel. One of my favourite movies is the Empire Strikes back, so I was like, “Hey if I'm going to do a sequel, I might as well steal the best title”- so 'Summer Strikes Back' came from that. We weren't expecting the response, were very pleased with the response, so we'll take it.
K: Have you found a change in the reception of the audience and the industry in the past four years since you made your first film?
B: The most interesting thing for me anyways was that we went to FanExpo this year; it was our second year there. The first year we only just had Dark Rising out, and it was only just getting off the ground, but this year its almost like so many more people seen it! Dark Rising 2 is out, the series is out, and people went crazy. People were lining up and waiting to see us. It was the weirdest experience.
A: We had die-hard fans, which we had never had before, or even experienced. Almost if you could picture the Star Wars fans that dressed up, we had Dark Rising fans who came to visit us… and to know that my work touched somebody in that way and effected them to the point where they're total geeks about it, that's what I aim to do.
B: Best fans in the world!
A: Best fans!
B: So sweet and so supportive. They're just really fun.
A: We're got people in Australia setting up screenings, so it's almost like the little franchise that could at this point.
K: Do you have any advice for the aspiring filmmakers here at Film North?
B: Jump in and do it! Take what ever camera, equipment, and friends you have and just start doing it and learning the ropes, as you progress the biggest advice is perseverance, just keep at it because eventually you're going to make the projects you want to make.
A: Learn everything; at first when you're starting out learn every department so you have an understanding of it. If you want to be a director, starting at AD or TAD does not lead to Director. If you want to be a DOP, assistant camera does not lead to DOP – you have to start shooting, you have to start directing, and then get better, and then those opportunities may arise, they may not- but that's where the perseverance comes in.
K: So what's next for you both?
B: More Dark Rising! We're actually coming back to do more episodes, it's been green lit and were working on it right now. We don't have anything set in stone in regards to story yet…
A: This year will be all Dark Rising again. More Dark Rising. Fans want it so we're going to give it to them and who knows what's after that.
» For more information on Dark Rising, go to darkrisingworld.com.