INT: Mike Pereira



Mike Pereira is a newcomer and Canadian filmmaker who has written and directed his first feature horror Indie film, Dillenger's Diablos (read our review here) which premiered at the first annual Indie Can Film Festival at the Canadian Film Centre in Toronto, Canada. I was lucky enough to be able to watch the film and get to talk to the passionate yet very humble writer/director about his film, and it's possible sequels. (Dillenger's Deadwalkers and Inferno)


Can you talk about the casting?


Molly, Dennis, and the character of Ted (Nadiya Shah, Andrew Chang, and Dylan Ramsey) were people that I worked with on a short film I did. That was probably a good year before I started [Dillenger's] Diablos. We shot something, but it never panned out. It was so pretentious. It was a piece of garbage. It was totally out of my element. I felt so bad that they took the time to shoot that short film. I said," You know what? I'm going to have something else I'm going to work on, and you guys are going to get leading roles just for you." Dennis, Molly, and Ted were specifically for those three actors.


I was also going for people that didn't know the genre. I told them to stay away from anything of the genre, so that the performances wouldn't fall under a stereotypical category. We're playing this extremely real. There's nothing worse than doing movies with real horror fans in it. (laughs)


The role of Jeff is the only part I mainly auditioned for in Dillenger's Diablos. Dillenger's part, I only saw two people before I got to him. (Eran Schwartz) Eran was perfect. He did not look like the role I envisioned, but through a conversation, he completely understood. He said everything I was thinking of. The role of Jeff (Brian Covert) I auditioned a hundred people to actually get that role. The funny thing is, alot of the male actors in the film were people who auditioned for Jeff.


You say this is already a planned trilogy?


I wanted each film from the trilogy to be completely different from the other. Visual style, even the way we're scoring it. The satire and the characters would be the only things that are the same. The first film is definitely small. The second one will be the "Empire Strikes Back" of the series. It will have the multiple subplots, and they all kind of interlock. It's really fast paced and it has entirely different dialogue. We will take every film in the series and reinvent it.


Why are you making the trilogy?


I wrote Dillenger's Diablos, and when I was writing it, I became inspired when I finished writing it. It just came to me. I had no intention of making a sequel, and when we got to the ending I thought, 'Wow. I'm just getting started. We're just focusing on the filmmakers, why don't we get into the second part where we focus on the studios?' I was then only planning for two movies. The second one just came naturally. I have the whole complete story structure in my head. It wrote itself. It probably was the easiest thing I ever wrote story and character wise. I was thinking, ' If I had money, what would I do differently in the second one?' There was no intention to make anything commercial, since trilogies are in. When I came up with the idea, trilogies weren't exactly in.


Somebody was always asking me, "How about a third one? You can't just do two." The first one we focus on the indie filmmaker, the second one we will focus on the studios, and the third one we will focus on the fans. What better way to end the trilogy then end it where the idea came from?


Where did you get the idea for Diablos?


I had the idea since college. I thought, ' Sh*t, this is way too big and expensive to even try.' I put it on the backburner (The whole synopsis and treatment). Then eventually after doing two shorts that both sucked, I said, "Aww f*ck, I gotta do something that's closer to me." The story's really good and it keeps on coming back to me. The way Diablos became inspired was from Cannibal Holocaust. When I first watched it, I felt really nauseous. I thought, 'Holy sh*t! It looks like a snuff film!" I was convinced this was a snuff film. I thought this would be a perfect idea for a movie. It spawned Dillenger's Diablos. I thought it was kind of humorous that somebody is making these [snuff] movies and sending them over to Hollywood as actual films. The audience never knowing that the stars of the movies never survive. That's where that idea came from.


Writer Director Mike Pereira


Is there anyone who has inspired you in the business?


Oh sh*t! So many people! Definitely John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Dario Argento, Stanley Kubrick. George Romero, definitely. If there's one thing that life kind of reminds me most of is the mixture of horror and the mixture of satire that Romero does very well. I've always liked that. It's a good way to take the traditions of the genre, and go somewhere totally different with it by throwing in satire.


So how long did this project take you?


The movie took eleven days to shoot. We literally had to shoot it completely consecutively. We couldn't take any days off, because everyone took some time off to do the movie. Post production was a whopping eighteen months. (laughs) Eighteen months of working on the editing special effects, CGI work, and the score. I was so burned out making the movie. I went through panic attacks. Basically, I went through every horrible thing you can think of.

Pre-production was a good eight months because I had the script completely finalized.


In the movie, you were lucky enough to get great talent and plenty of gory moments. How were you able to do that with such a limited budget?


First off, the budget of the movie, I don't mind telling you is 6,000 Canadian, which was spent through money in my savings account. Also, my fiancée put in five hundred bucks. My associate producer put 500 bucks in as well. We basically killed ourselves to make this film. If you really want something, you gotta be determined. Every person who did this movie did not get paid for it. I definitely ensured them that I wouldn't forget them, and if we actually made any money off of it, they would definitely be getting a piece of it. Most of them did not do it for that. Most actors are used to doing independent projects and most of them never get finished. Most of them did it for passion. They loved the script. The understood what I was trying to say.


Matt Dillenger (the main character/villain in the movie) is very passionate about filmmaking. Would you say a part of him stems from your personality?


Definitely. There's definitely a lot of me in it. Not everything of course. I definitely don't hate actors. Dillenger has a bit of Orson Welles in him. When the series progresses, we kind of get into why he hates Hollywood so much. He's talking through experience. There's a reason why he thinks the way he does. He's like the tragic villain. Definitely Dillenger is insane, but he's not completely off either, and when the series progresses, he becomes a little more sane.


You have very interesting characters in this film. Essentially the villains. I find the villains are the ones with the most personality and their the ones that audience gets to watch the most. My personal favorites are Titus (Jay Clarke) and Cross.( Neil Green) Will we be seeing more of them in the sequel?


Oh yeah. I won't say how long they will last though. I like in sequels when you can knock off characters that you like. In Diablos, I do that too. Some of the characters that you get attached to, you try to bump some off. It gives you a sense of danger and unpredictability when you do something like that. Cross and Titus will have much bigger roles in the second one. The sequence in the kitchen is very reminiscent of what the tone of the second one is going to be. More comedic, far, far more gory and more disturbing. I probably will definitely have problems getting this onscreen. (laughs)


Are there any plans for distribution?


We have had offers for DVD distribution. Nothing about theatrical distribution because I have no idea how this will plan in theatres. You can't market it as a straight horror movie. It's something very different. I decided not to settle with any distribution when it goes to the festival circuit. I will get feedback from people and just build up a hype or interest for the sequels, because the second and third one are more interesting and bigger. I want to let my imagination go, and not be restricted by the budget.


What are you planning to work on next?


I have another script I'm working on. It's a more traditional horror movie, and I have the sequel. (Dillenger's Deadwalkers) The interests for the sequels are getting more and more hyped up.


Are there any words of wisdom or advice you would like to give any young and inspiring filmmakers out there?


Just keep at it. You hear that a lot, but making a film is an uphill battle. It's not fun. I mean, sure there's a lot of fun in making films, but it's probably the worst time I ever went through. I think I got every white hair imaginable making this film. (laughs) It's really hard. Everyday is a test. You're going to go through a lot of obstacles. It's not going to be remotely easy, but if you really want to make it, go ahead and do your movie the way you want to.


Thanks to Mike for the film and his time!







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