IndieFlicks: When did you realise you wanted to become a filmmaker?
Faye: I remember very clearly coming out of Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It” when I was about 13 and deciding I was going to be a director. Before then, it had always seemed something unattainable, but here was a guy who was obviously an outsider but who had just done it anyway. It was the first time it occurred to me that I could become a director.
IndieFlicks: Where did the idea for Strigoi come from?
Faye: I’ve been visiting Romania regularly for about 10 years (my husband is Romanian) and I just kept coming across locations, characters, situations and ideas that I wanted to put on screen. All of those kind of fused into Strigoi. The original concept for the film was “the Romanian revolution set in a small village, only this time the Ceaucescus come back as vampires”, but the characters quickly took over and turned it into something more human and mysterious.
IndieFlicks: Did the writing process take long?
Faye: Yes. I’m a slow writer anyway, and I was working on a few things at the same time (also promoting a short film called Lump) so I did it sporadically over about a year.
IndieFlicks: What did you shoot the film with?
Faye: 35mm. It’s still the prettiest. We did it old school except for one problematic scene. Labs are very surprised these days when you want to do it all analogue.
IndieFlicks: Would you do anything different if you could go back and film it again?
Faye: Probably, but there’s no point dwelling on these things too much. You just have to learn what you can so you make different mistakes next time. And it’s all so specific, I’ll never have exactly the same problems again.
IndieFlicks: How did you raise funding for the film
Faye: We got private funding. That’s about as explicit as I can be. You never really want to reveal your sources because you don’t want to share them!
IndieFlicks: How was shooting in Romania different from the UK?
Faye: In a way it’s difficult for me to say because this is the biggest production I’ve ever done, so I don’t have a huge frame of reference. The biggest difference, of course, is that everyone speaks Romanian. There are some differences in set etiquette - things are generally a bit more relaxed on Romanian sets. The locations were fantastic and the extras, who were all just locals, were unbelievably good. We were also incredibly lucky with the cast and crew. I suppose the most important thing for us was that in Romania we could achieve something on a small budget we simply wouldn’t have been able to in the UK.
IndieFlicks: Did post production take long?
Faye: Oh yes. We had to go back and re-shoot a few scenes in the spring because of unseasonal snow during our autumn shoot.
IndieFlicks: What do you think of the state of indie filmmaking in the UK at the moment?
Faye: Lord knows. It’s a strange time. On one hand, funding has dried right up. On the other, HD Red has made it possible for people to achieve a lot more on smaller budgets. I feel like everything has become so polarized: gritty coming of age dramas in one corner and schlocky zombie gorefests in the other. I wish we had less delineation and more variety, in terms of subjects, genres and budgets. All of this niche stuff might make good marketing sense and I can see why people focus on it when budgets are so tiny but even when the films are really good it’s hard to get excited about them when they’re so firmly inside the box.
IndieFlicks: Do you have any projects in the pipeline?
Faye: I’m developing a sci-fi thriller set in London.
IndieFlicks: What advice do you have for any aspiring filmmakers out there?
Faye: Just get on with it. Do whatever you can with whatever you can get your hands on. I started out with a student video production club, now kids can probably start making films on their fricking phones. But don’t cast your friends, go find some actors.
For more information on Strigoi please visit the official website - click