Interview with Jamison LoCascio and Adam Ambrosio (Sunset, 2018)
Joe Bull talks with director/writer Jamison LoCascio and Producer/Writer Adam Ambrosio about their film, Sunset.
The end of the world scenario has been a well trodden path but Sunset (2018) manages to stand out from the crowd by focusing on the character exploits under the cloud of nuclear war. Leading up to its release, Flickfeast caught up with director and writer Jamison LoCascio and producer and writer Adam Ambrosio about the novel film.
Was there one defining event or moment which inspired the story behind Sunset?
Adam– It wasn’t a defining moment. It really was an accumulation of our past history (American history) and our future. I think in today’s society something like this would not be too far off.
Jamison-This film was Adam’s concept and I am excited as a filmmaker that he brought it to me and said “lets do it together.”
Collaboration, cooperation and communication are the three C’s for success- Jamison Locascio quotes Louis J. Ambrosio.
Why choose the title “Sunset”? Would you want the audience to associate it with the characters or the plot more?
Adam-It was really how Henry would describe Patricia when he first took her to the beach.
Jamison-The title of the film came directly from Henry’s conversation with Patricia at the end and it seems to indicate an ending of some kind and people have also thought it was a discussion of the age of the lead characters. When you have a title with meaning, great. When you have a title with three meanings- don’t hesitate!
To centre on two older actors was an interesting choice- what was your thought-process or reasoning behind that?
Adam-Whenever you hear an end of the world story it is normally a younger couple and I thought it would be interesting to show an older couple living out their lives with the rest of the time that they have together.
Jamison-The core of Adam’s concept is what fascinated me most and it inspired a lot of ideas. I thought to myself “I haven’t really seen that. What would I like to see from that concept?” The story developed really from that.
Did you have a favourite character from Sunset?
Adam-I think they are all great characters. In reality people, I can understand why all these people would have their different opinions on how to handle this situation. Short answer is no (Adam laughing).
Jamison-I cannot say that I do. Can I say the bomb? That is a character in the film that creates some of the best moments. The serious answer is I think of them all as one group and one unit. I don’t think I can pick one.
The characters behave in quite expected, realistic ways to the threat of an impending nuclear attack- how might you try to survive? What would be your decisions?
Jamison-I would gather research like Ayden then I would make choices based on that. I would probably wait to leave like Breyanna, I would have to assume that the travel would be very difficult and could lead to some potentially dangerous situations.
Adam-I would plan for both. The scary thing about it is that it is out of your control and that you have to do the best you can to just survive.
Given comments about having a small budget, what differences would you make if you were given a more substantial budget?
Jamison-More time to shoot. I like the focus of SUNSET being on the characters because it makes the film unique, it is a certain kind of story…having a bigger budget may make the film feel like other movies because then you are obligated to do action/large scale set pieces.
Adam-I agree with what Jamison is saying. More time. We shot the film in 12 days with 4 people on a SAG schedule of 8 hour work days. That is not a lot of time.
Were there any difficulties faced along the way with Sunset?
Jamison-Time is always a challenge as a director. You always have to compromise and change things without losing the essence of what you are looking for. Their was one scene we shot (outside) that required 6 person coverage and a master that had to be done in no more than 40 minutes…at the end of the day experience gets your brain to work that out that fast and get everything you need. Experience as a director makes that possible but experience as an editor helps even more. I did the sound on this film as both the sound mixer and later the sound designer so that was a challenge, I don’t know many directors that have had to do all the sound on their film (completely on their own) but I did and I learned a lot and got into a specific rhythm. Every film has its own unique challenges and you have to always pull from experience or take a leap of faith. Staying positive and collaborative are the best things to do and at the end of the day these challenges make you better at the craft.
We have so many ideas of what a director does and how they act- what were you experiences while filming Sunset? Did you have a favourite?
Jamison-Actors and crews want to work with a collaborator, I have always tried to include everyone to the best of my ability. Making a film is a team effort and everyone has a very important part to play and their voice should be heard. Everyone wanted to do the best job they could and the work is on the screen…that passion shows and that collaboration can be felt.
So, moving a bit further afield…With a staggering 40 credits on IMDB. Which was your favourite to work on?
Jamison-As hard as it was and even with all of the jobs I had, SUNSET was one of my favorite experiences so far because we just went to work and didn’t ask permission. We came up with the idea, developed it and then we went out and shot the movie. On larger sets the trade off is more crew, more equipment, more money, more time and that has its strengths…like having more time with actors and being able to rehearse. Like anything, finding your strength in different circumstances is what creates success and you always have to keep moving.
You have three “pre-productions” listed- Conviction, Flushing and Harrowing- all sound intriguing from the titles alone! What can you tell us about them?
Jamison-These are three more features that we have developed and written! We are thrilled with how they are coming together. We are focusing on our project “Conviction” now because it is a thriller we are very excited about. It has taken first position.
Like anything, finding your strength in different circumstances is what creates success and you always have to keep moving.
-Jamison M LoCascio
I’m most intrigued by Harrowing personally!
Jamison-We wanted to write a war story with a twist and a unique approach, we look forward to continuing on our journey to tell these stories because we believe they are important and not like what we are seeing out there.
How did Sunset compare with other projects you have worked on?
Adam-It’s like doing any work. You just have to constantly practice and figure out what you want and what you don’t want and what works for you. I think what stood out for me on SUNSET was the crew and the actors that came with such a dynamic approach to all of their characters and everyone wanting to give their best that they can.
Jamison-Collaboration, cooperation and communication are the three C’s for success as Louis J. Ambrosio would say, my other long time friend and collaborator on my filmmaking journey. Louis has always taught us to think differently and to find our own way to make it happen. SUNSET has further proved to me just how much you can do if you break some of those rules that keep you grounded, if you get up and work hard every day and believe in yourself and push your abilities to the maximum and do more. A film is only as strong as the team making it and I am fortunate to have a strong team who care about storytelling and who practice these principals. We want to also thank Eric Doctorrow, Don Rosenberg and our excellent distribution team at Random Media for helping to find a place for independent films and filmmakers in the marketplace. These collaborators help a filmmaker like myself find a path to tell stories that matter and I am more grateful for that than I could possibly put into words. I work harder because of that and because of all of their excellent work. Thank you for this great interview.
Read our original review of Sunset here.
Sunset releases on Amazon, Itunes, Xbox, Google Play, Vudu, Fandango Now, DVD and more on July 3rd, 2018 so check it out!