Interview with filmmaker Mark Hartley for Girl At The Window

Last week we got to talk with filmmaker Mark Hartley for his new thriller Girl At The Window starring Radha Mitchell, Ella Newton, and Vince Colosimo. Girl At The Window will excite thriller fans, it will be released November 4th 2022 on VOD and Digital Platforms.

AJ
Hey Mark, how are you doing today?

Mark:
Hi AJ. Nice to talk to you

AJ:
How did this concept all come together? Because to me it kind of felt like a gateway, family horror film. You know, something, a mother can show her daughter cuz nothing terrible or gory happens in it and it can be like an introduction to the genre to a lot of people. So how did this all come together?

Mark:
I made a film called Patrick a few years ago. I was talking to the producer about just making another film where we didn’t have to wait around for years to get, government finance in Australia. We could just basically wait for money and just go and make this film. And then he had this script sitting there. It seemed like something that we could, could get up quite modestly and not have to jump through all the funding hoops. And so we would find it from that draft, to what you see on the screen today. And you’re right – it’s strange. I’ve noticed recently that there only seem to be two types of horror fillers made and they’re either very, gruesome and graphic or they’re incredibly artistic. Our film is much more of a throwback.  Like you say, it’s an introductory sort of family thriller with a little bit of content that might push it a little bit above that – there’s a bit of nudity and a teeny bit of gore but not enough to get the parents too upset.

AJ:
How did the casting all come about? Radha Mitchell has been in a lot of things. How did you get her involved with this film?

Mark:
She happened to be in Australia when we needed to shoot and she liked the script so it was as simple as that. We were just fortunate that she was around because with all these films, you do need to have some kind of international name to be able to sell in multiple territories cause that’s the only way that they can get financed. And she ticked all the boxes and she was perfect in a way. Watching the film, I do get a good sense of her and Ella Newton as our mother and daughter.

AJ:
Right. And how did the filming location all come about? Cause as you said, it was during Covid and that had to be difficult as well just getting filming locations a lot down during this period when everybody kind of didn’t have a clue how to film during a time like this.

Mark:
It was more severe for us because no one was allowed to leave their home except for an hour a day to exercise. They weren’t allowed to travel more than five kilometers. Every single store was closed. So the locations weren’t the thing that was the most difficult sort of thing to overcome. It was more, “How does an art department get props?” How does a costume designer get their costumes when they can’t go to any store? So that was kind of the real big dilemma. And thankfully they worked it out. We had to adjust things on set, the camera system can’t operate the camera with the poor focus next to the camera operator because they’re working too close together. Everything had to be done remotely. There are a whole lot of things that we just weren’t prepared for, we had to overcome every day on the set, which did make it a tough, a very, very tough shoot. But thankfully everyone rose to the challenge. The location’s interesting because we couldn’t find two houses next to each other, so we had to sort of fudge that. We got a scaffold – a construction tower – and shot our point of views from there. We mounted a window on that and shot down through the window onto a house next door. The interior of Amy’s bedroom and the rest of the house was a house that was 30 miles away from the other location.

AJ:
Right. And you said this film kind of felt like it throw back. So did you have any films that kind of helped kind of mold your direction in this film? Did you have any inspirations or was it all just you and how you wanted to film this movie as well?

Mark:
Well, I work with a cinematographer called Gary Richards, and we worked together for a very, very long time. He shot lots and lots of music videos for me and we shot a documentary together.  We both have a very similar aesthetic. We like thrillers from the eighties and seventies. I think we sort of channeled anything that is our love of Brian Par and an Australian director called Richard Franklin, who made the sequel to Psycho.  Gary and I just love their style and tried to bring some of that to Girl at the Window in terms of the sensibility of the film.  I remember saying both to Gary, you know, I want this film to feel like it’s a movie directed by Toby Hooper
That’s kind of David’s sensibility of the film. Right. I think when you hear that the film makes a lot more sense.

AJ:
Right. Well, Mark thank you so much for joining me today on Infamous Horrors. It’s been really fun and congrats on the release of the film.

Written By: AJ Friar

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