Indie movies serve as a great means to promote the careers of up and coming writers, directors, actors and everyone else associated with films. Generally, most indie films fall into a genre such as comedy or horror. Director Michael Aguiar’s latest film, a slasher titled “The Laughing Mask” is a prime example of an indie film that made a stir at AFM earlier this month. John Hardy, Sheyenne Rivers, Gabriel Lee and Jeffrey Jenkins star in the film. According to the official synopsis:
Jake (John Hardy) has lost his wife to the Laughing Mask killer. Recently, his daughter has been kidnapped by this same madman. Jake must work with the diligent detective, Kate O’Malley (Sheyenne Rivers), to track down this elusive man. But, where the Laughing Mask takes him, Jake is unprepared to go. Jake must deal with a strange assortment of monsters and creatures, within the Laughing Mask’s darkened lair.
Recently, Michael Aguiar spoke to the Examiner about his experiences working on this film and in the movie industry in general:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): What inspired you to become a director?
Michael Aguiar (M.A.): For me it’s always been about having a good story to tell. I’ve been a fan of movies my entire life and directing has been an aspiration from very early on. But Always felt to me as a very far away pipe dream, until I watched an interview with two of my favorite directors, and when I learned that Quentin Tarantino worked at a Blockbuster and Kevin Smith in a convenience store, I realized that if you have a vision and will to make it happen, it will.
M.M.: What are your favorite genres to work with and why?
M.A.: I like Horror but think the genre needs a revamp of sorts. Thrillers will always have a special place for me and that’s why “Laughing Mask” is somewhat of a hybrid of the two. Giving the unsuspecting audience that one scare or twist is really rewarding to me.
M.M.: What drew you to “The Laughing Mask”?
M.A.: Originally, the idea was to have the film take place in the 1930’s. Since the budget would not allow it, we made it modern, but kept the 1930’s feel and look for the main character. The idea is to explore how mental illness affects people dealing with grief and how Jake Johnson and Kate O’Malley, both responded differently to the same thing, the loss of Jaycee.
M.M.: If you could write in any genre, without financial constraints, what kind of film would you create and why?
M.A.: Oh if I had the funds to shoot “The Laughing Mask” the way we wanted to without budgetary constraints, it would’ve been a different movie set in the 1930’s as reference above. But if I had no constraints in genre or budget I’d like to tackle a big fantasy story like DC Comics’ “The Warlord” for instance or a medieval action piece.
M.M.: Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to mention?
M.A.: Absolutely, 2016 is already proving to be a very busy year for Bravestar Pictures. We are working with The Wolf’s Museum of Mysteries in St Augustine to develop their short, and also collaborating with Australian writer Adam Paul Weber on another short called “After Hours”. But our next feature will be called “Harbinger.”
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to enter the film industry, especially as a director?
M.A.: This is my first feature, so I’m in no real position to give advice, but the best I can tell anyone wanting to start is to surround yourself with the most experienced crew you can. A lot of the look and feel of “The Laughing Mask” is owed to the William Scheikert and his 30+ years of experience as a Director of Photography. Don’t think you can or have to do everything on your own, explain your vision to the people who have done it and trust them.
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To learn more about Michael Aguiar, see his IMBD. To learn more about “The Laughing Mask” see here.