Mark Savage is a US-based Australian film and television director, screenwriter, and film producer specializing in thrillers, horror, crime, cult, action and exploitation-themed films. His recent short film is called "Fusion" which was recently an official selection of Chicago Indie Film Awards. "Fusion" is a short film of two victims of the September 11, 2001 tell their stories of how they became victims and wonder what they did to deserve this fate. It is our pleasure to speak to the writer of "Fusion", Paul Atreides.
What draws you to filmmaking and the cinematic language?
Like writing for the stage, I love using the dynamics of dialogue to tell a story. But the screen adds another dimension to that with imagery not available to the stage.
Do you believe in film schools or does making a film teach you more than film school?
I’ve come through the proverbial School of Hard Knocks, having produced and directed for the stage. Schools, I think, give people a leg up, though. Particularly with hands-on practicals.
What makes cinema stand out more than the arts for you?
All art tells a story, but interpretation is left to the person gazing at it. Even if a filmmaker isn’t completely direct, if they have done their job right, the audience will still get the point of the piece.
Did you choose a certain directing style for making "Fusion" based on the script?
Mark Savage directed this for me. His background is in horror, and I knew that would inform some choices which would work well with my script.
How did you choose the cast and the crew of your film?
Due to Covid-19, the cast was chosen through head shots and audition tapes. The studio limited the number of people on-set. So, Mark did his own camera work, and my producer found a show runner, and lighting and sound technicians.
How did you fund your film and what were some of the challenges of making this film?
Being a first-timer and in the midst of Covid, funding partners weren’t forthcoming. I ended up funding it all. Shot entirely in the studio, because of the way the corona virus spreads, we were not allowed to use the A/C, and the only ones allowed to remove masks were the actors during actual filming. They also had to be fully separated, the editing process had to bring their images together.
Do you consider yourself an indie filmmaker and what would most be the most difficult thing about being an independent artist?
Well, maybe. If this one does well, I can see myself giving it another go. I certainly have script ideas. Funding is tough for independents. Finding a fair distribution deal just adds to the difficulty.
What is the distribution plan for your film?
The Festivals is my only thought right now. Ultimately, “Fusion” will be donated to the New York 9-11 Memorial Museum for exhibition. The manuscript is already part of their Artist’s Registry.
What is your cinematic goal in life and what would you like to achieve as a filmmaker?
I write what interests me, what moves me. Even now “Fusion” will make me choke up. If writing screenplays turns into a late-life career (I’m already 68), I’d like to continue creating art that makes people think, that brings out emotion.
What kind of impact would your film have in the world and who is your audience?
When the 2021 festivals are done, and the film has been donated, museum attendees will get to see it. I hope this would inform a new attitude about terrorism: Attack begets attack. And what has been accomplished by that? Victims don’t know why they’ve been the chosen target, what they’ve done or not done to deserve that fate. It’s an insidious behavior and intentions need to change. Much easier said than done, of course.