The co-director of September’s very unnerving HELLmington, Justin Hewitt-Drakulic, fills us in his influences, how he got his start and his fondness for anything Stuart Gordon.
-PH: How did you become a filmmaker, sir?
-Justin: Ever since I was a kid I always wanted to make movies. I enrolled in a Broadcasting and Film program in a local college and ever since then I’ve been crafting my stories and style to one day make a feature film. I worked in the lighting department in film and TV for a few years to learn more about the industry and how a set actually functions. In 2013, I met Alex Lee Williams and right away we hit the ground running developing our joint projects and working on short films. Before I knew it, we had pitched Hellmington and it got green-lit! And we have been living the literal dream ever since.
-PH: And have you fused your interests growing up into the stories you write?
-Justin: Absolutely. It’s almost a compulsion for me to include the things that I am passionate about into any story I create. I’m a huge fan of music and comic books and things like that, so I take every opportunity to either make literal or abstract references to those sources.
-PH: If you could name two films that most resemble this film, what would they be?
-Justin: Blue Velvet meets Se7en.
-PH: Being an independent film, I imagine you ended up wearing more hats than originally intended. Can you talk about all the things you did on the movie?
-Justin: I think anytime you are trying to make something you believe in, it’s always important to jump into any roles that need filling in order to get the job done. However, I’ve also learned to trust the experts when you do have them assigned to those specific roles, because no one makes any movie completely by them selves. With that being said, I was the co-director, co-writer, co-editor, and co-producer of the film.
-PH: How did you nab this fine cast, particularly Michael Ironside?
-Justin: Through many, many in-depth conversations we were able to find the absolute perfect actors to help us tell this story.
Nicola-Correia Damude was an incredible find for us as she is in every scene of the film and would often nail her scenes in one or two takes. Nicola helped carry this movie in ways that other actors would not have been able to do. It was truly an incredible experience watch her go to work every single day. Honestly, she’s one of my heroes.
Michael Ironside was a serendipitous connection at first, but over the course of several conversations he became very interested in the project. It was such an honour to work and learn alongside him for the five days he came out. Unreal.
-PH: Whose career would you like to emulate, if it were possible?
-Justin: I would like to emulate the career of Stuart Gordon because he always seemed driven by his own creativity and not by the goal of making a blockbuster.
Re-Animator, From Beyond, Dagon and Castle Freak were all films that inspired me very early on in my life and the experience of watching them has always stayed with me. I haven’t met the man, but I owe him a lot.
-PH: Tell us when the film hits
-Justin: I’ve been told it is going to drop sometime in September so keep your eyes and ears peeled for updates!!