Last year I went to Massachusetts to film a feature film with Sam Elliot and Aidan Turner. I was there for 5 weeks and I really had an amazing time. While there I met a young man named Julian Lowenthal. I was impressed with his work ethic; hard working, friendly, always smiling.
While we were filming he told me about his feature he directed ‘Silenced’ in the local theater. Well, he is finally having his first screening and I thought I would ask him to share his process with us!
1. What is your film ‘Silenced’ about?
It’s a psychological thriller-horror about a group of masked villains who decide to rob a theater in small town, the night after a large show. During their raid of the theater a local mute vigilante, decides to defend his town and go after them.
2. What was the inspiration for the film?
Ever since I was 18 I’ve always loved the idea of a dark thriller with a mute hero. During this time I was working with a independant theater company. Each year they would have about 3 performances and alternate directors and actors for each one. After every show I would always tell the directors how much I loved the space and would love to film a horror movie in the theater. They would always laugh about it and tell me if I ever got a crew together they would let me.. 3 years later, it happened and lucky for me they kept their word. To add to all that, I’ve also been a big fan of movies that relay less on dialogue and more on the story line. So I decided to add all those element together and create, ‘Silenced’.
3. As a first time director, what did you learn about the process?
What didn’t I learn about the process, I should say. The last 4 years have been like a film school for me.
Year one I spent writing the script, revising the script, editing the script and re-writing the script again. I not only spent that year locking down a script to use, but I also had to gather my entire cast and crew. And during that time I broke down the script and figured out the best way to budget each shoot day.
Year two I spent directing the film, editing the film and recording the ADR, Foley and score.
Year three and four was spent tweaking the film and adding each layer of sound. Sound designing and editing took us by far the most amount of time.
Now I’m in the last semester of my fourth year and this is when I’m going out everyday to promote and advertise the movie. I really enjoy this process, but it takes up all my time and mental capabilities.
After the film premieres, I’m looking to begin my post-grad year of film school by learning the distribution process.
4. What is next for Julian Lowenthal?
My plan after the premiere of SILENCED, is to put it through the festival circuit for about a year or two. During that time I’m going to be working on a lot of different film and tv projects. Starting with a Lifetime movie that’s slated for the end of the month. I’m also starting the script to my next feature film, which I’m hoping to begin shooting in late 2019.
5. What advice would you give to those are just starting out, or about to direct their first film.
The best advice I can give to anyone is to respect themselves and never give up. As much as a cliche as that might sound, it’s truly the 2 most important elements for anyone to follow, no matter what field they go in.
If you respect yourself, you’ll be able to never give up. If you don’t give up, there’s no other option than to succeed.