The Run-In is a finalist in our 2018 season for features under 40 minutes, and we chat to Heidi Kikel on her film, and her love of horror!
What was your inspiration behind the story?
I've always been a horror fan and I've wanted to write something in that genre for some time now. To me, the scariest films are the ones with situations that can actually happen to you. This one was actually based on true events. I was sitting in my jeep late one night about to pull into my yard to park, and there was a guy in a hoodie just standing at the end of my block. I had a bad feeling and waited till he walked past me and to the other end of the street before I got out to open my gate. Then quickly backed up. Luckily, I decided to go in my back door and not back out to lock the gate. Lo and behold, when I get inside, I look out my front door peephole and the same guy was out there waiting for me to come out of the yard. Who knows what would have happened.
What was the moment you decided to make this film?
Like I said, I really wanted to film a short horror film and have been wanting to work with my friend Kitty Ostapowicz, so I just wrote it for her. After years of freelancing, I created my own company (Schnitzel Studios) in the summer of 2016 and just went for it. And I'm glad I did. Best decision I've ever made.
What was the biggest challenge during the production stage?
Well, we shot it in 48 hours on labor day weekend. It was a lot to shoot in two days. And both days were night shoots. We were all exhausted and getting on each others nerves. Major Hurdle: driving around my parents Toyota with police lights on it. All the years living in Ridgewood, Queens and not once did I ever see cops driving around that late at night. I thought we'd be safe. But that weekend, every hour one would drive by. They didn't seem to mind or bother us really, but it made me paranoid all night. They knew what we were doing after one of them pulled up next to me and shined a flashlight in my face while I was holding my camera. I froze, smiled and they left. (Guess the holster on my leg filled with batteries and my long lens looked like I was holding a gun on the street corner. Can't hate them for checking me out. Just doing their jobs.)
Do you have a most memorable moment you would like to share?
Most memorable moment on set was when the whole cast and crew was in my bedroom where we shot the assault scene. We basically did one or two long uncomfortable takes of that. When the director yelled cut....we were all silent and in shock. It was pretty uncomfortable to watch. I knew we struck gold at that moment because Kitty, David and Chris were very believable.
What advise can you share to aspiring film makers?
Don't wait till you find investors and try to produce the next blockbuster. Start small. Write a script around what resources you already have and just work with what you've got. You'd be surprised with what you can come up with. The Run-In cost me $600 to make. (Of course, I had my own camera and audio gear, but I got a bunch of film friends to help out and we did it.)
Do you have any other projects currently in the works?
Yes. Pete (the director) and I co-wrote another short which we shot a few months after The Run-In. "Krampusnacht" is a short film about Krampus, the german christmas devil. We felt hollywood ruined the folklore and wanted people to know the real story of Krampus. (I'm Austrian/German...I know these things hahaha). Krampusnacht is currently in post and being scored. It'll be in festivals soon.