Exclusive Interview with “The Velocipastor” Director Brendan Steere

A man of the cloth turns Jurassic in Wild Eye Releasing’s THE VELOCIPASTOR – coming this August to DVD and Digital!

-PH: Where and when did your career start, sir?

-Brendan: I made my first feature as my film school thesis in 2013. It’s called Animosity and can be found on Amazon. Animosity is a verrrrry different film from VelociPastor, but we played at Fantasia and Buffalo Dreams and a bunch of other film festivals, so I’d ray really my career proper started there. I’ve been working professionally in and around film ever since.

-PH: Filmmaking was always the goal from a young age?

-Brendan: I started making films in my backyard with my buddies in middle school. I didn’t know exactly right then it was what I wanted to do as a career, but I was very passionate about it and knew that it was something special. I eventually saw Reservoir Dogs, and it gave me the vocabulary to articulate that “Oh, I want to be a director! That’s what I want!!” So I’ve known pretty much since I was 13 or so. There has never been another option for me: I knew if I studied something else or ‘gave myself an out’, I would eventually in a moment of adversity take it and quit. So it’s always been film, yes.

-PH: Which horror or sci-fi filmmakers inspire you the most?

-Brendan: Sci-Fi/horror specifically, we’re talking some of the familiar faces: Argento, Fulci, Romero, early Alex Aja, everything ever done by Denis Villeneuve… I also love Carpenter and Craven, of course. I really love the Universal monster films James Whale did. There’s also Takashi Miike and Nobuhiko Obayashi, who have craaaazy weird filmographies and have between them made some of my all-time favorite films. Park Chan-Wook is currently my favorite working director, if you want to count him too.

-PH: How long do you think it took you to hit your stride as a filmmaker or screenwriter?

-Brendan: I don’t know if you ever really do ‘hit your stride’. Maybe you gain a little more self-confidence along the way when people respond positively, but I’ve never managed to write a script or make a film the same way twice. I exhaustively outlined Animosity (and ran it through the Hero’s Journey, and workshopped the characters, and etc etc), but VelociPastor I shot the first draft, without a single bit of traditional story prep to speak of. Each film is a different beast, and should be approached as such. You don’t trap a mouse the same way you trap an alligator.

That being said, I think sometime around the 2011 “The VelociPastor Trailer” short film, which is what I adapted this feature from, is when I generally start becoming proud of my film output as opposed to embarrassed, so take that as you will. Haha!

-PH: Velocipastor. Your biggest film to date?

-Brendan: In terms of press coverage and general attention, indisputably. Animosity got some attention and has some fans, which I’m very proud of, but nowhere near on the scale of this.

-PH: How different was the first draft of the film to the shooting script?

-Brendan: We shot the first draft. Haha!

Well, that’s not entirely true: I started a version of the VelociPastor script no less than six times between 2011 and 2015 when it was locked in. I got between 10-30 pages in every time, realized the approach I was taking was wrong, and threw out the whole thing to start anew. I just trusted that the funniest stuff would float on to the next draft and that the things that didn’t work structurally would just be jettisoned and the film would be stronger for it. Eventually, I just realized that I was overthinking everything, started a new draft, and wrote it in two days flat beginning to end. That was the draft we shot.

The only addition to that initial draft (besides small changes made on set), was a scene I added with the two leads after rehearsing with them and recording their improv. It was so funny and inspired that I went back and inserted/wrote a scene using largely just the dialogue they had made up on the spot. That’s it.

-PH: How would you describe the tone?

-Brendan: My filmmaker friend once described it as “a surprisingly PG-rated exploitation film”, and I think that’s maybe the best summation for the tone we were going for. Haha! That’s not to say there isn’t gore or blood or extreme elements, but overall it was very important to me that the tone of the film be good-natured and fun. I think a lot of the films that kind of float around the subgenre that VelociPastor inhabits are coming from a place of cynicism. Like the undercurrent of a lot of these low-budget creature feature parodies is “Man, fuck these dumb movies, right??” and it was very important to me that we avoided that. I didn’t want to say ‘fuck these movies’, I wanted to show people why I loved these movies so dearly. It’s a celebration of bad movies and how wonderful it is that a group of weirdos can make one: the polar opposite of a condemnation.

-PH: Can scary movie fans expect a few good spooks?

-Brendan: I would honestly tell them to check those expectations at the door. We’re operating more in the realm of a Black Dynamite than a Slither. Don’t get me wrong: I think they’ll have a really great time regardless, but I wouldn’t want to lie to them and misrepresent the experience they’re going to have. It’s not a frightening film whatsoever, it’s a fun one.

The Velocipastor will premiere on DVD and Digital August 13 on such platforms as iTunes, Comcast, Spectrum, Dish, Vudu, Amazon, Fandango and Sling. 
A Blu-ray release will follow September 17.

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