NZIFF Q&A: The Field Guide to Evil

Ant Timpson, film producer and programmer of the NZIFF Incredibly Strange section, follows up The ABCs of Death series with new horror anthology The Field Guide to Evil. We asked him a couple of Qs ahead of the film’s screenings at this year’s festival.

FLICKS: Please summarise your film in exactly ten words.

ANT TIMPSON: Eight dark folklore tales from eight countries in one film.

How did you go about picking the filmmakers for this film?

We chose directors we felt had the right sensibility and aesthetics to do justice to folklore from their territory. They all had incredible debut feature films that got them attention at fests like Cannes, Sundance etc  – we felt we were very lucky snagging the folks we got.

What do you find appealing about a horror short film as opposed to a horror feature?

Some stories don’t need 90 minutes to tell especially ones whose source stories were very succinct and short.

What’s the most difficult part for you, the producer, in making an anthology a reality?

Initially making sure that tonally everything was on the same page or close so there was some connective tissue to all the stories. And keeping everything moving forward and delivering on time.

Could I, a simpleton, learn a bit about other cultures from watching these horror folklores?

Even you, a simpleton, will learn about the dark history of numerous cultures. Actually, you’ll probably be surprised how folklore spread so rapidly through different cultures with slight deviations.

Were there any horror stories behind the scenes?

There were the usual that pervade films of similar budgetary constraints – but overall, apart from mother nature being evil in India, we didn’t have too many issues.

What’s your personal favourite of all the shorts in the film?

The folklore one.