It’s hard to talk about the upcoming film, “An American Terror,” without being riddled with spoilers. One thing for certain is it’s a piece of Colorado filmmaking that is going to put the local scene on the map. Only cast and crew have seen the film, and their riotous reaction wetted the appetite of anticipation. An earlier teaser for the film has made a few rounds online and local events, but the new cut was just completed by the filmmakers: “An American Terror” Official Trailer.
Writer/director Haylar Garcia took some time out of a mad editing frenzy to share his thoughts on the film.
There is clearly a sociological drive behind the film that tackles a tough subject, still fresh in our consciousness. Are there any horror films you took inspiration or example from for their strong social undertones?
Well I think in that sense we took a page from all the great horror films. Outstanding horror always has a relation to the larger more hidden horrors we face as a culture, even a species. But in this case we chose to approach it more literally, we felt like blending a literal social horror with the idea of genre horror, was something we hadn’t really seen before and although the subject matter was tough to tackle as a Colorado filmmaker, I felt like this was something that demanded a stage. I was lucky enough to have producers that felt the same way.
Was horror always the genre you imagined approaching this with? What kind of freedoms did it allow you?
Horror in its essence allows us to break free of the literal, it allows us to approach narratives with a much darker tone than would a drama. Despite the fact that we might feel scared in the theatre seats, we still know down deep that we are experiencing a safe version of terror and that allows us to ask questions we might not ask when watching another genre. I chose to relay this idea by way of horror film mainly because the subject matter itself is a true-life cultural horror. I wanted to push the visual and situational envelopes in order to express the kind of true darkness that seems to manifest in the creative, though disturbed minds of people gone postal. To me horror is the purest form of cinematic escapism, because it lets us truly face the concepts of our own mortality in very uncomfortable situations, when we are forced to look away, we begin to ask questions of ourselves about what we should allow socially. AAT needed this to have this type of impact.
The film showcases some of Colorado’s finest, on screen and behind the camera – what were some of the toughest filmmaking elements to garner locally?
Truth be told, we had a fairly easy time of it all, the main thing was to communicate what was expected of the cast and crew, and then find ways to get the best out of the talented people on hand. We wanted to make something that was above the general standard of Colorado film, we wanted something that could break out of the walls of our beloved though sometimes stagnant state, and I have to say being a native, I am so very proud of the cast and crew who worked tirelessly and gave it their last drop of sweat in every circumstance. As a director I am in their debt.
The film seems poised to ruffle the feathers of controversy. How have you prepared yourself for the coming storm?
The producers and I spoke a lot about the idea of backlash, especially since “The Dark Knight Rises” premier and Sandy Hook shootings. Both of which took place after we wrapped. We knew we might be opening some old Columbine wounds, but we had no idea this would be such a horrific year in such alike events. But what we came to believe, despite the initial angry feedback on YouTube over our teaser, was that our film was even more important now than ever. And although there are groups that will no doubt find the film offensive or maybe even exploitive, the fact is; the film has a point, and to get that point you have to endure a certain amount of dread and darkness. And despite whatever backlash might come, that is a philosophy, which in this medium, cannot be apologized for. The film has to scream aloud for itself.
Originally published on milehighcinema.com