Interview with Ant Horasanli

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I am Ant Horasanli. I started in music videos and a few commercials, having done about 200 or so so far for artists and clients from around the world. My first film was a documentary on street racing in 200 called Redline, and my second film was Lost Journey in 2011 which got picked up by distributor Mongrel Media and got a theatrical release in Toronto and LA. GEAR is my latest film.

GEAR Alternate Trailer from N5 Pictures on Vimeo.

How would you describe your work as a director
It changes from project to project as I’m still trying to find my own perspective and style, but most commonly I like to create authentic believable worlds that puts the audience in the minds of the characters. I try to make the audience think what would I do in that situation, try to make it engaging as possible. Secondly, I try to hit on emotion. I’m always looking for those moments or scenes that gives the audience “the feels” and hopefully leaves a lasting impression.

How did you get into directing
The moment I snuck in to watch Terminator 2 Judgement Day. I only got to see the first couple minutes before the usher kicked our 12 year old asses out… but the moment that endoskeleton crushed the human skull and the camera rose to reveal a futuristic world gone mad… I knew in someway, somehow this is what my life was going to be about, creating these worlds.

How do you choose a project to direct
Lately that has been evolving as well. In the beginning the motivation was really to do a project that was feasible. Then it was to do something that built upon or challenged me even more than the first project and so on. Now however, the overall market, as well as the time it take s to devote to a project is extremely important. Early on I used to think, I’d like to do everything, comedy, drama, action, horror, on and on. That’s a nice idea but the reality of how long it takes to get a film developed, financed, made, and the marketed and released… it just really forces you to be picky with what kinds of content you want to create.

Briefly describe in a few words wrong impressions actors, writers,and directors have about directing
I don’t know if I’ve worked with anyone who has had the wrong impression per say, rather I think most people just underestimate just how much work it takes. Especially as a producer/director. I think many indie filmmakers can attest to the fact that there are certain times it feels like the hardest thing in the word to do, like you’re trying to literally move mountains and the entire universe doesn’t want you to. And that is something know one will ever “get” until they go through it themselves.

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Do you take courses to increase your craft
I went to film school but as many others have said this is really something you learn on the streets. In other words no amount of courses or classes can compete with going out there shooting something, anything… failing miserably and then having to learn from that and motivate yourself to progress forward.

What books do you read
Some of the classics mixed with hard sci-fi. One of my favorite authors is Ken Macleod who somehow manages to mix science, politics, and spirituality and an extremely interesting way.

Why will you choose an actor, writer or producer. What do you look for
With an actor it just comes down to this thing, it’s un-quantifiable almost, I just know it when I see it. During an audition for example they just… are there in the moment, that character, that scene, that dialogue for a very brief amount of time becomes as real as everything else in the room. With casting Nate for example in Gear, I knew that Tyler had this sensitivity, this ability to make an audience empathize with him. That was to me the most important characteristic because when you have a lead that carries the whole movie how your audience attaches to the hero is crucial. Imagine “Cast Away” with a character no one connected with, it would be terrible.

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When you are offered a project what things do you put in place to do a good job
I don’t really get offered projects unless they are commercials or music videos. In that case, it’s the same as everything else, being able to devote the required time and focus and not settling to a standard you set from the beginning.

Briefly explain your latest work
My latest work is GEAR a crime thriller about a driver who may or may have not stolen a shipment of heroin from his boss who is also like a father to him. The other project I’m currently working on is Petrol The Series a web series we’ve released on YouTube that’s sort of like a mix of Sons of Anarchy and Fast & The Furious.

What thing/situation helps you during production
What helps me (Ant Horasanli) during a production is the ideas, energy, and passion of those I’m hopefully fortunate enough to work with. I try to steal as much of it as I can.

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Explain a creative choice you took on set on a recent production
Every choice is a creative choice, like literally everything. Do you want to see the edge of the table in the frame or not. Should the character be wearing a watch or a ring? Should you be hand held or on sticks? On Gear, my most recent film I made a huge script change the day, in fact moments before the scene. There was a scene where we swapped one of the principle characters who ends up shooting the hero. It was a crazy thing to change so late in the game, but it worked, and worked exceptionally well, to the point that our original idea was just silly. Those are interesting, because it goes to show you that no matter how many times you re-writer the script or go over the film, there’s always something you haven’t considered.

How do you advise directors to find projects
Oh there are tons of sources but essentially you have to decide one of two things. Either you are going to create the concept yourself or find someone who has. If you’re asking where to find scripts, they’re everywhere… Ink Tip, writing courses, film schools, forums, script contests/festivals etc. The challenge is swimming through them all to find the one you really want.

How can filmmakers finance projects
This is very dependent on who they are, where they are, and what stage of their career they find themselves in. The top ones are usually friends family/private investment, crowdfunding, and depending on your home country government funds or programs.

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What do you want from an actor in production
I want them to do their job, and that to me means bringing things to the character I can’t. Thinking about the things I may not have been able to. The character’s ticks, traits, behavior. In other words, I like actors who take the character and make it real, make it their own. I’m not interested in someone just saying lines in a believable way.

How do you prefer to work with a producer during a production
I’m (Ant Horasanli) usually the producer or co-producer so can’t speak to much about this. Essentially, I want to work with someone who is as passionate about the project as I am, or pretty close to it, and is more or less on the same page with me about the story, theme, impact.

Ant Horasanli_indieactivityWhat do you think a director can do to get into the film industry
Keep making films and hope you figure that part out before you go broke or die. If by industry you mean the studio system, then I couldn’t really tell you too much as I’m still working on that myself.

Who is your favorite director
I have plenty and maybe not one particular favorite, but the one who inspired me the most is James Cameron since it was Terminator 2 that really ignited that film obsession within me. Also because films like Aliens I find to be such amazing examples of transporting an audience to another world. It satisfies my inner curiosity to explore, to imagine what it would be like to be there.

What advice would you give to directors around the world
I really don’t think I’m in a position to offer such advice. What I would like to see from directors from around the world is firstly stop making films so then it won’t be so hard for me to compete. Failing that, I would really hope they focus on making something completely from within their mind, imagination, personal experience as much as possible. We have so much of just the same old same old. Films similar to other films that have come before. What I, what we all want I imagine is to see that rare thing that comes out of nowhere and makes everyone take a second and just think wow. Imagine the Special Relativity equivalent in film making. Something that just re-imagines the entire game, I don’t even know if that is possible.

Briefly write about your career
I am Ant Horasanli, I run a production company called N5P. My first feature is titled LOST JOURNEY, and my latest project is titled GEAR, it is my second feature film. I also have a web series titled PETROL-THE SERIES

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