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June 25 - June 30, 2022

Interview | White Eyes – Jeffrey Brown

fdiff May 12, 2022 7 min read

White Eyes

 

Hello Jeff, welcome to Focus! White Eyes is an amazing film. How did you end up with the story?

 

Hello Focus!  We here at Seacliff Pictures and No Frames thank you for having us and recognizing our filming!

 The idea for this story really came from what scares me.  If you’re in a room thinking you’re alone and it turns out not only is someone in there with you, but that person wants to kill you, that’s a terrifying thing.  One day I was watching “Batman: The Animated Series” (Yes, I like a good cartoon) and I noticed that Batman played a lot in the shadows and was shown as a dark figure and criminals would only see his eyes.  I really thought about that for a bit and then I thought, what if this figure wasn’t fighting crime but was wandering around killing people.  Then it was really fun to start and create this world that is now the “White Eyes” world.  Who is he?  Why is he here?  How did he get here?  Then I wrote the feature script that “White Eyes” is based on.  The short gives you some bits and pieces and we hope that it leaves audiences wanting more.

 

Jeff, which part of the script did you find to be the most special?

 

At the beginning of the story, you have a confident woman who is a bit cocky about herself and probably controls most rooms she is in.  Throughout the film, she then gets into a situation that is so out of control and she has no idea what to do that at the very end you see this once confident woman actually beg for her life.  In the end, the score, amazingly done by Daniel Reguera, slows us down so we can really see her try and find a way to survive.  I really liked the idea of that turn that happens to her, she goes from confident to scared to try to survive to beg for her life, it’s a tough progression that Acei Martin our actress really pulled off well.

 

The movie revolves around Angela and the Devil. What does an Angel mean to you? How would you define morality?

 

An Angel to me would be a protector of good.  I would say an Angel is an entity that protects good people and helps them steer them in a good direction.  But we all have free will so even though we are all brought with choices in life we will choose what is a good choice or a bad one. And the thought process in your head I feel if there are Angels, they are the voice pointing you towards good.

 Morality to me is really the distinction between right and wrong.  Everyone has an opinion of what is right and what is wrong.  Some we can all agree on like, it is wrong to commit murder.  Then there are some issues that somehow, we all can’t get on the same page, for instance, is it right or wrong to mandate people to have a vaccine?  I believe one’s morality has a lot to do with the way they are raised and the values their family and communities hold dear.  So, Morality is a tricky thing, right?  It can bring people together but also, sadly tear them apart.

 

As a director, what is your main focus in terms of storytelling?

 

My main focus is always to keep the story moving for the audience.  And that’s an all-encompassing statement, right.  All decisions that I make as the director I always want to make with the story and audience in mind.  Does this character need to be in this scene?  Does the lighting or music feel right for the scene and give the audience the feel we are trying to portray?  It also helps to have great collaborators that give you options and then you can make the decision based on those scenarios and on “White Eyes” we had a great team.

 

Why did you use the character of the demon?

 

Well for starters they are scary as hell!  This is something that we get into more in the feature, but I really just liked the idea of what happens if there is an unstoppable force that is trying to kill you?  What can you do?  If you look at some of the big all-time slashers some have a supernatural element to them.  Look at Freddy Krueger or Jason Vorhees, these guys seem unstoppable and that is very terrifying.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Ghostface from “Scream”, but a bullet to the head and they’re a goner.  A bullet to the head and they keep walking towards you, that’s petrifying scary.

That brings me to my next question.

We often associate white as something holy, pure. Here, the devil has white eyes. What do they stand for?

 

Very true!  I did have a lot of thought on how the demon should look and even though Batman was an inspiration I did think of making the eyes, red for a long time.  But then I really wanted to think about fire.  When you think of the Devil or demons in Hell, you 100% at some point think of fire.  I really got into it and to sound nerdy for a second, when a fire is at 2200 degrees F it appears Orange or Red, when it gets up to 2700 degrees F it appears White.  I took that and thought White Eyes is so hot, so in rage with a desire to kill that the fire that emits from his eyes is white-hot.

 

Jeff, tell us something about the shooting? How was the experience of creating such a spooky atmosphere?

 

It was awesome!  Erin Judd my producing partner really gathered a great crew to make this happen.  I mean 2 nights in New York City with 3 hours of make-up, stunts and running around on fire escapes, what more can you ask for?!  We had a pretty packed schedule and dealt with normal production woes but the atmosphere on set was fun but focused.  We had Baboucarr Camara in full body paint and white contacts in which was really cool to see.  But the contacts did make him a bit blind which was a bit of a challenge.  But he was a trooper and gave a great menacing performance.  It was really funny at the end of the last day when he took his contacts off and said “Oh, it is so nice to see you all, I had no idea what you all looked like”.

 

Jeff, Angela is starting her life anew. Is it really possible to start one’s life fresh? Especially if someone has a sketchy past?

 

In this Angela is not really starting a new life, it’s more she is out of college and just moving into a new city.  She is more of just a nasty person in real life, and she has not changed.  And being such a nasty person, this is where something from her past has caused this Demon to show up for her.  But to answer your question, could Angela have changed if allowed to live?  I want to believe people can change, but if someone is nasty or sketchy and then sees the errors of their way and change, I feel there is always that nastiness deep down and from time to time it will pop out.

 

Thanks a lot for your time! It’d be great if you could share what you are planning next!

 

Thank you this has been such a treat to talk about our film.  Next up is going to festivals and trying to meet people that are fans of the film and help us get to the next level and make the “White Eyes” feature.  So, we are working really hard to get an opportunity to work harder.

 

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