BITS 2014 Interview: Torin Langen on Malleus Maleficarum

malleus-maleficarum The dialogue-free witch-hunt thriller Malleus Maleficarum had its Toronto Premiere at the 2014 Blood in the Snow Film Festival as part of the Short Film Showcase.  As the festival, I sat down with the films director Torin Langen to discuss the short. Sean Kelly: What were your inspirations for the film? Torin Langen: Im a huge fan of surrealist cinema. I experiment movies. One of my favourite filmmakers is Jan vankmajer hes a Czech surrealist animator/director and his films usually, because they have some sort of political message, are told without dialogue, so they can be universally understood. I like working with no dialogue, because gesture is universal. Lately Ive been doing a series of movies with no dialogue, so I could submit to pretty much any festival in the world and the characters are easily understood that way. As far as creative goes, I love Jan vankmajer like I said, Michael Todd Schneider is another huge his use of colour grading and bizarro camera angles and everything thats another huge inspiration, and just outsider cinema as a whole. Sean: What was the biggest challenge of the production? Torin: Everything before this was sort of done by myself and some friends on weekends, where we would sort of grab pieces here and there and then stick in post as we went along. This was my first time working on more of an actually fixed schedule, where I was in a directing position. Because of that, we had to coordinate everything, so we were shooting over the course of several days. Luckily, I had some help with producing, but I was still producing a lot of it on my own. So, it was a challenge in learning how to produce in that way and also be involved in creative capacities, since I was manning the camera and directing at the same time. So, the biggest challenge I think was just juggling all of those hats and dealing with the stresses of being in a very new creative environment. But, all in all, Im very happy with how it went. Sean: Whats one thing you want people to know about the film? Torin: It was produced with a very small budget, as most of the films here, even by the standards of features. Like I said, its a movie told with no dialogue. There is a little bit of a religious message in there, in the sense that the lead characters of the film are religious fundamentalists that have sort of gone back to ages and have even resorted to sacrificing witches. While its not really the point of the movie, I think there is a little bit of a message in there, saying that we have gone too far in our society in some ways, resorting to religion as a method that can be used to harm people, or to other people, or to be shown as some sort of elitism. So, theres a bit of a hint of that in there too. But overall, its important I think that people support independent cinema as a whole and if coming out to see Malleus means supporting independent cinema and maybe bringing awareness to other things in this community, then by all means. Sean: How did you feel about your film showing at Blood in the Snow? Torin: This was my first time seeing it with that big of a crowd. Ive only been able to be present at one other screening before. Its played at a couple festivals: It played at Mascara and Popcorn in Montreal, it played at the Housecore Film Festival down in Texas, and it played at the South Hampton Film Festival in England. This is only the second screening that Ive been able to make it out to. So, it was really cool to see your movie with an actual audience and everything and be able to sort of get a feel for the crowd. Because with a movie like this, its not even a movie that has a ton of jump scares its more about a slow, foreboding build so, just to sort of get a feel for the audience and the energy that they give off, while they are watching something like this, is really, really rewarding.

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