Exclusive Q & A With Christos Petropoulos

Deth_Banger

Christos Petropoulos the writer, director and producer of upcoming Greek found footage film Subconscious - The Real Tape Horror was kind enough to send me an advanced copy of Subconscious. As a fan of found footage films I was pleasantly surprised, it wasn't what I was expecting and that's a good thing.

Christos managed to maintain the formula but add something completely different and original, which makes Subconscious a truly unique film which demands your attention.

The synopsis for Subconscious is as follows; "Having lost his entire family in a traffic accident, Fanis is tormented by the same dream every night: lost in a forest in pitch black darkness he always ends up at an eerie – looking Christian Orthodox makeshift shrine. On an Internet search to find out the reasons and origins of this persistent religious dream he understands that some of the people he meets online are not who they say they are. And most importantly, they seem to have a darker other side. Having witnessed the sinister reality behind these online acquaintances he decides to make a video documentary of his 7th, and probably last case."  

Now I was lucky enough to send over a few questions to Christos and he was kind enough to answer them for me and it has been an absolute pleasure talking to Christos, who is a very kind and educated man

Q: I understand you are the lead singer in the band Third Dimension did you score the music for Subconscious yourself? 

The band is actually called “Triti Diastasi”, which means ‘third dimension’ in Greek, It is a hard rock/metal band and we mostly play covers. The two rock songs of the soundtrack were written by a late 90’s Greek rock band called Agnooumenoi, which means ‘missing persons’ in Greek. Two of their members are in my band now. We have all been close friends since we were kids.

Q: What led you to write, direct and produce a feature film?

I have been a horror fan ever since I was very young, when I used to watch Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing films on my parents’ black and white TV set. When I got my first camcorder in 1993, I instantly fell in love with filming. Soon I was attempting to create my first short films. Sometime in early 2010 I came up with the concept of “Subconscious” and I felt the story was cool and had to be filmed as a feature.

Q: How was it working with such a small cast? I noticed that Danijela Radovanovic (Natalie) and Fanis Katrivesis (Fanis) had excellent chemistry together, how did you come by casting these two?

It was a challenge to write ‘Subconscious’ for just a cast of two, plus a mysterious third character who is never caught on camera and whose voice is the only thing to be witnessed. Fanis, who is a local young boy and friend, had no prior acting experience but he was willing to go through the harsh conditions of filming ‘Subconscious’. He knew he was going to make a video documentary of a road trip with a girl he barely new, a road trip that would actually take place for real. Much of what can be witnessed in the film is real in the sense that they are actually experiencing it. Danijela is from Serbia and she is the one with acting experience deriving from theatrical plays. She happened to be in Patra at that time and since the story involved two people from different countries meeting on the internet, she was ideal for the role and we were really happy to have her on the set.

Q: One of my weaknesses is 'found footage' films, what led you to direct a movie in this style?

I think the story of Subconscious works best in the “lost footage” style of filming. Some guy believes that some of the girls he meets online are possessed and know the reason for his recurring nightmares. No one believes him, so he makes a video documentary for proof when he decides to meet one of them. What’s better than the actual footage?

Q: I understand you studied Psychology, how did that play a part in writing and directing Subconscious?

Freud was a pioneer in studying the Subconscious. He understood that our brain represses stuff for the sake of our psychological well being. What is repressed, under which conditions and the effect and influence on our conscious self are concepts that have always intrigued me. Religion, sex and traumatic events are permanent residents of our “Subconscious”. As far as the film is concerned, it is a road trip through our darkest repressed fears.

Q: As you said, Subconscious cost nothing to produce, did this help you to be more imaginative?

For “Subconscious” we all worked on filming, audio engineering and editing without being paid, just because we loved the concept and wanted to work for a movie, so the cost was negligible. We had to be imaginative in order to organize the filming sessions in the most cost efficient way and shape the story so it fits our constraints.

Q: Was it always intended to have the characters speak both in English and Greek?

The story involved a Greek guy meeting a girl from a different country on the Internet, so either way at least one of them would have to be using English as a second language when they would have to communicate. Since our actress turned out to be Serbian, English was second language for both. Their inter language had limitations so it was a big challenge for both to use their English in order to get to know each other as part of the story. I think the result is very realistic.

Q: What was your inspiration for Subconscious?

I was inspired by films such as the Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, which are films in the same logic. I am also a big Stephen King fan, and his tension building story telling has been an inspiration as well.

Q: How was the response when you screened Subconscious at Thessaloniki International Film Festival in Greece and the Sheffield Horror Film Festival in England? 

People seemed to enjoy “Subconscious” at both festivals, and some where biting their nails when the suspense kicks in after the middle of the film. Some were confused by its intricate concept. At a Canadian festival called Rocky Mountain Horror Festival, Subconscious won second place in feature films and most frightening moment award.

Q: Was there any difficulties when it came to filming? 

Unfortunately we lost some valuable footage due to a faulty card reader. Furthermore, I would like to point out that part of the film was not filmed in Greece but in Serbia (the forest scenes and the shrine scenes). We were deep in the woods for these scenes, exposed to cold, darkness and danger. That was scary.

Q: Any news on any DVD deal? As I know many people are waiting anxiously to get their hands on Subconscious in the U.S. and in Europe.

Rebekah Louisa Smith from the “Film Festival Doctor” is our agent and she is working on it. We may have some good news this year.


Q: When it comes to the horror genre, what are your favourite films?

Anything of a high concept leading to a massive twist. Therefore, ‘SAW’ and the French “Martyrs” are really high on my list.


Q: What does the future hold for Christos Petropoulos?

I am currently writing a road trip drama which will be filmed this summer. After this, Subconscious 2 will follow. A film which will be scarier and even darker. It will also shed light on the obscure parts of the first and will take the story toward a totally different and surprising direction.

I thank you for taking the time to talk to me and I wish you all the best in all future endeavours and I hope Subconscious does really well.

It has been an honour, thank you very much.

 

I was really impressed by Subconscious, a truly unique and thought provoking film, and is one of the few 'found footage' films that actually made me jump, something that some of the more mainstream films couldn't do. Something as simple as a shower curtain, but that comes down to Christos Petropoulos creating excellent suspense.

If your a fan of 'found/lost footage' films and psychological thrillers then you will want to check out Subconscious when it hits DVD, in the mean time check out the trailer below:

To keep up to date with everything to do with Subconscious join their Facebook group and check out their official website.

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