Reese Eveneshen has been directing #Music Videos, short films, and full-length feature films since 2004. Some of his most recognized work includes a short movie called “Numb” which was released in 2008 and subsequently won the jury award for “Best Short Film” at the Local Focus 2 Film Festival. Reese was also the man behind the music video for Desperate Union’s song “Don’t Forget About Me” which came out in 2010. Moreover, Canadian-born Reese is also the #Director behind 2009’s feature film called “Dead Genesis” which is an acclaimed horror movie in the zombie genre.

Reese’s most recent movie project is a feature titled “Defective” which tells the story of what happens when a malfunctioning horde of law-enforcing robots begin to attack human society rather than protect it, as they were designed to do.

Reese recently discussed this project and others via an exclusive interview.

Becoming a filmmaker and science fiction

Meagan Meehan (MM): What inspired you to go down the path of a professional filmmaker, however, did you break into the very competitive movie/entertainment industry, and what equipment do you rely on most?

Reese Eveneshen (RE): I’m pretty sure it has always been there. I wish I could pin-point some specific moment when the inspiration happened, but I can’t! I loved movies as a kid, I loved making movies as a kid with my grandparent’s camcorder. I would lock myself in my room, set a watch and play for 90 - 120 minutes as if I were performing an actual feature film. I know that I loved watching movies with big groups of people in the theatre, I liked seeing the jolt it gave the audience.

I wanted to take part in that and do something that got that kind of reaction.

I really started taking it seriously in the latter years of high school. It went from shooting little short films with friends to actually shooting full feature films with them. Assembling a group of people and stealing their summer from them by making whatever I had in my head. After I graduated, I went right into the battle field and started working on commercial shoots, features, music videos, whatever I could be a part of. I still kept making my own movies on the side, writing screenplays, doing whatever I could to learn more about it on my own. After a while, I found a solid group of individuals working within the industry, we all came up together. I still work with some of them to this day.

Funny enough, I got my very first gig when I was hired to shoot somebody’s wedding video! I definitely did not frame that check! I do clearly remember the first time I got paid to write a screenplay though, that was cool.

I should have framed that check!

The equipment I use depends on the project, it seems to vary from shoot to shoot. For “Defective” we shot on a Red Epic with Zeiss lenses. The budget for the film was so low that we couldn’t afford to rent a camera. Luckily our cinematographer (Isaac Elliott-Fisher) had his own camera package and equipment trailer which we ended up using. We didn’t have a lot of fancy rigs to work with, it was a lot of out of the kit MacGyver level camera tricks. We have a shot where the camera goes flying down a stairwell. For that, we pretty much strapped the camera to a bungee type of system and dropped it down the stairs.

MM: This might sound like a funny question, but I’m curious: If you stopped making movies, what would you do for a living?

RE: I would probably be out in the world fixing and installing water heaters.

MM: How did the plot and concept for “Defective” manifest itself in your mind?

RE: I was fixing and installing water heaters! We were having a bit of a down/dark period with getting films off the ground. My producing partner (Peter Szabo) and I had been trying desperately to get another feature off the ground, and it wasn’t happening. I had no money to my name; work wasn’t coming in. I went out and got a “real” job to keep the lights on. I was trying to write something one day, and it wasn’t working out. Next thing I know I started writing about these urban pacification units roaming through a city and handing out warnings for violating state rules. It just snowballed from there and shortly after that I had the first draft for “Defective.” I wish there was a more glamorous version of that story, but it really came out of desperation.

MM: And, dare I ask, how much was Paul Verhoeven an influence?

RE: It should be blatantly obvious since I’m not even trying to hide it! “Robocop” specifically was one of the biggest influences on the movie; that and the first “Terminator” film. Isaac and I would constantly reference one of those two movies when we were shooting “Defective.” I think he leaned more towards “Terminator,” and I leaned towards “Robocop,” we ended up having a nice balance of the two inspirations. Also, there’s one or two little nods or homages to the always classic, “Total Recall.”

MM: What personally appealed to you about the story and message of “Defective” and did you have a lot of say in the casting of the movie?

RE: I grew up loving sci-fi movies. It’s one of my favorite genres. The possibilities are endless within any science fiction related world. I liked the idea of trying to tackle a sci-fi film with the limited means that we had available to us at the time. People were not breaking down the door to throw money at us, we had to put it together ourselves. Typically going into most indie flicks, you try to restrict yourself to what you know you have available to you. On “Defective” we went the complete opposite way and wrote a bunch of ideas and scenarios that we had no idea how to pull off. But it seemed like a fun idea! You never know if you’re going to have a chance to make another movie, it’s tough to get any film off the ground. And with this, I wanted to throw caution to the wind and just try to see what we could pull off with a small budget, a small cast, and a small crew. Even if it didn’t work out, it seemed like it was well worth the risk.

I was there for all the casting sessions. Outside of my producer, I didn’t really have to answer to anybody when it came to casting, so I was able to get a fair amount of my first picks. It was tough; we could only reach so far with what we had. We were asking people to commit to a shoot that didn’t have a firm start or end date and to work on it for less than a normal shoot would pay. I was more than happy with the cast we were able to pull together. Every single one of them showed up, got into it and joined us for the ride.

Entertainment and advice for the future

MM: What’s the best thing about being a filmmaker and what more do you hope to achieve in a decade?

RE: Hands down the very best thing about being involved in entertainment has to be the people. It’s the “set family.” You get one or two bad seeds here and there. More often than not though you end becoming a tight-knit community for the duration of the shoot. You are seeing these people more than you’re seeing your own family. You’re bonding over intense and stressful situations. Film friendships are unlike any other friendship out there. I always flash back to trying to make movies in high school with some people who didn’t really care about movies or filmmaking. The idea that you get to spend a month with a group of people who actually like making movies is a dream come true.

In ten years, I will preferably not fixing or installing water heaters! Ten years ago, I would have hoped for the moon. Now I’d be happy with being able to still make a living while making movies with good people. It’s easier for me to take it one week at a time, trying to think that far ahead for this type of career makes my head spin.

MM: What’s coming up on the near horizon for you and what advice have you for the filmmakers of tomorrow?

RE: There’s plenty of ideas brewing around or in some stage of development, but nothing concrete yet. More than likely will be heading back into the sci-fi pool again though. “Defective” gave us a little bit of break and opened the door a tad to make it a bit easier to get another feature off the ground. I’m down with doing another sci-fi project; we’ll definitely head in a different direction than the more reality-based world “Defective” is in. It was fun to play in the science fiction landscape; I’d like to do it one more time before taking a break.

Regarding advice: First off, I would say that you should not get into this for the money! This is not a safe career choice; you really have to have an unnatural burning desire to make movies. Second, the film community in North America is incredibly small. It seems daunting and big at first, but once you get out there and start meeting people, that six degrees of Kevin Bacon thing? It’s true, but for a lot more people. Be kind, be caring, work hard and try to work out your problems with others in a respectful manner. You never know who is going to end up running a studio someday in the future…Also, please check out our Facebook page called “Defective Future.” #Science Fiction Genre