This year’s FilmQuest Festival is chock full of exciting genre films ranging from the most hilarious of comedy to the most epic of sci-fi to the most frightening of horror. One of the most anticipated feature films of this year happens to be the one opening the festival, director D.C. Hamilton ‘s THE FARE. The film gives off a romantic Twilight Zone type of vibe that will end up lifting your spirits and sparking some semblance of hope within the most withered of hearts.
Ahead of the film’s premiere on the opening night of this year’s FilmQuest Festival, we got the opportunity to chat with Hamilton about THE FARE. During our chat, we discussed everything from what the inspiration behind the film was to what he wanted the audience to take away from the film once the credits started rolling.
It’s such a pleasure to be able to talk to you before we dive into the madness this weekend. First off, I want to ask you what was the inspiration behind creating this film?
D.C. Hamilton: A creepy news article about phantom fares climbing into taxi cabs in Japan fed the initial spark, but it was really screenwriter Brinna Kelly and her desire to make a modern-day Twilight Zone (she wrote the first draft before the rebooted TV series was announced) that drove the project. She crafted a really beautiful story that was funny and tragic, mysterious and charming. The script took a formula that audiences know so well and found a fresh approach that really surprised everyone who read it. Her desire to harken back to Rod Serling’s disciplined but sprawling narratives was the true inspiration.
What difficulties did you have in getting this film off the ground?
D.C. Hamilton: THE FARE was always on the razor’s edge of not getting off the ground, for no other reason than the production was ambitious but micro-budgeted and as such, featured a million things that could have cut the movie down at the knees. There was the fact that it took place entirely in a moving car at night, but how could we accomplish that with no money for a process trailer or the ability to permit roads and shut them down? There was the reality that to shoot the exteriors of the taxi and to build the world of the film, we needed a specific look and would have to come up with a solution that thought outside the box, because to light up a large chunk of land and shoot all night was also fiscally impractical. We also only had a window of six days where our cast and crew were available, so planning everything to the smallest detail was critical because there was no time for anything. Every other minute there was something that risked keeping the film from getting done.
What was your favorite moment or part of working on this film?
D.C. Hamilton: Cliche as it may sound, I love the entire process, from designing to storyboarding, to shooting and post. It’s hard for me to choose one piece that was or wasn’t my favorite, but I recall the moment that I knew the movie would all come together: the first time I heard the love theme that Torin Borrowdale composed for our lead characters, Harris and Penny — which was such a great throwback to an older style of film scoring. That was the moment when I really felt like we had succeeded.
What do you want the audience to take away from this film?
D.C. Hamilton: Hope. There’s so much nastiness and cynicism out there. But our movie, while mysterious and playful in that Twilight Zone kind of way, still ultimately wears its heart on its sleeve. Our desire is to entertain first and foremost, so hopefully, something in the film makes you laugh, makes you gasp, and makes you fall in love with the characters. And if we’re really lucky, maybe the audience will leave with a little more hope in their day.
Last but not least, are there any projects you are working on that we should be keeping our eyes out for?
D.C. Hamilton: Brinna Kelly has written an amazing horror/fantasy that demands to be made this second. I don’t even know how to explain it except to say it is such a movie I need to see. Like I want to be watching it yesterday. So we’re putting that together. We’ve got a really great actor interested in the lead… people know him but I don’t think they’ve ever seen him like this. We’re working on fundraising for it and hope to have it in front of cameras as soon as possible.