On the 9th of March I did a review on the soon-to-be-released Indie “Art-House” Horror Film The Taking (just click on the link if you missed it) and the creators of the film (BAPart Films) graciously accepted my request for an interview.
BAPart Films is a partnership of Cezil Reed and Lydelle Jackson who both formed this company under the banner of BAPartists (which the pair started in 2009). The company makes music videos, commercials, short films and now feature films.
The Taking is their first feature film together. The film was written and directed by Cezil and Lydelle who went to the same middle school and used to bounce ideas off each other. Cezil was in film school while Lydelle majored in graphic design.
In the interview, the guys tell us about making their first film, their plans and what they’re going to do next. So everyone, meet Cezil and Lydelle aka BAPartists:
MikesFilmTalk: What gave you the idea for the story of the film? *note: Both the guys answered questions but their answers will be “labelled” as BAPartists.*
BAPartists – Hmm, lots of things kind of gave us the idea for the story, but mainly it derived from a dream that Cezil had were his soul was stripped away, and to him it was the most terrifying thing ever. That dream stuck with him for a while. He’s always sort of been afraid of things like that, ya know, evil things like: demons, curses, and mayonnaise. So that dream or fear of his was the seed idea that eventually turned into The Taking.
MikesFilmTalk: Did you have a list of actors you wanted to work with on the film?
BAPartists – We’ve created lists for other projects in the past but for The Taking we actually didn’t have a list. We just knew that the nature of low-budget movies like ours was not going to be welcomed by “name” actors. Especially, when you are a relative nobody and your shooting your first feature. Rather, we decided to focus on finding as many of the strongest actors in the Northern Virginia area as possible which worked out well for us. Although we did end up importing John Halas (Carl) from NYC, Alana Jackler (Jade) from New Jersey, and Lynnette Gaza (The Grandmother) from Chicago.
MikesFilmTalk: Did you get them?
BAPartists – All the actors that we wanted, we got. We always have to remind ourselves of how lucky we were to get such talented cast and crew to participate in the film. Especially since we were barely paying (if at all), the shoot was in the rural woods; long hours, little food, sweltering heat, and simple items like mosquito repellent or bottled water were treasured luxuries. It was just super low-budget all the way around. It ‘s astonishing that everyone stuck with us through principal photography, and for the following year of pick-up days.
MikesFilmTalk: I really enjoyed the imagery and the sound of the film. How would you describe the film and does it bother you that you’re being put in the art house pigeonhole?
BAPartists – Thanks! Yeah, we really wanted to create a film where the sound design and music really worked side by side with the visuals. Often times sonics are under utilized and under appreciated…We really wanted to make something where the sound was equally as prominent and bold as the visual experience. Our sound designer, Craig Polding, did a wonderful job. Lydelle’s younger brother, Leland Jackson also known as Ahnnu in the underground music scene, scored the film…Anyways, back to your question! How would we describe the film? Good question…How about: A searing gambit of visuals with intellectual muscle and big ol’ ox balls..?
To answer the second part of this question, being pigeonholed into the art-house category is both a compliment and scary. We do think that we can have very strong art-house sensibilities when we want to flex that muscle, but we are also very controlled and believe that we can cook up some amazing shit in any genre. It may sound cocky, but we believe it. So, while we find it to be a compliment, we are going to be sure to try our best not to be pigeonholed. How do we accomplish that? Well, our next film will be a much more market-friendly action film! We have a lot to share to the world from horror to comedy and don’t want to get stuck in one place!!!
MikesFilmTalk: You guys have known each other for quite some time and you started BAPart in 2009. What prompted you to start your business together?
BAPartists – We had been hired to write a script for a very well-off friend of ours who is an aspiring actress. This friend wanted us to write a feature-length script and she would take the lead role. She was also going to fund it and give us writing and directing credits. Not a bad deal, right?! Well, we spent almost a year and a half writing this really amazing script, but due to a lot of creative differences we all decided that then was not the best time to work together. Nonetheless, we’re all still great friends! However, after that disappointment, we decided that we needed to depend on ourselves to make our first film. We weren’t rich, but we had full-time jobs and so we began to just save our paychecks while starting development on The Taking script.
MikesFilmTalk: Do you see yourselves working together, say ten years from now?
BAPartists – The plan is to work together until we are old and grey, so ‘yes’, we do plan to be working together ten painful years from now. Without the creative synergy between the two of us we wouldn’t be The BAPartists. It’d just be Cezil Reed and Lydelle Jackson. The BAPartists moniker is meant to be a sign to our audience that there’s a particular sort of brand, flavor, angle to expect from a BAPartists film.
MikesFilmTalk: I read your interview on The Horror Chronicles (great interview by the way) is your next feature going to be a vampire love-story?
BAPartists – You know, we do want to do our vampire love-story, however, we’ve been given an opportunity to take on a more mainstream project and so we’ll have to explore that opportunity before anything else. For now the vampire love-story will sit on the back burner for a little while.
MikesFilmTalk: You’re getting a world premiere date announced at the Sydney, Australia A Night of Horror Intl Film Festival. How exciting is that?
BAPartists – Man, it’s so exciting that it makes my nose bleed! We’re so eager to see what the audience will make of The Taking. We’re really confident in the film but it’s still surreal at the same time. I think the best word to use in this case is “anxious”.
MikesFilmTalk: I’ve seen your music video Trew Music “Incredible, Fantastic Experience” and your Ecko Life commercial; your special projects “Behind the scenes Ciara and Sorry; your short film The Glimpse and they all have the same great mix of imagery and sound. What prompted you to go into making a short film and then a feature-length one?
BAPartists – We see short films, music videos, and commercials as a healthy way to practice our craft. These short form video projects also allow you to experiment a lot more than a feature would. Those experimentations may help you find something that you decide you want to implement into larger projects too.
MikesFilmTalk: Out of the two of you, who is more of a writer and who is more of a director?
BAPartists – We do everything in tandem. So we write equally and direct together as well. However, on set Cezil is more of the director while I’m more of a creative producer. This combination seems to work really well for us. In post-production we go back into co-directing how the editing, sound design, music, color grading, et cetera will work.
MikesFilmTalk: I love the Crime Fighting section on your website. Whose idea was that?
BAPartists – Haha, actually, when we were designing our site Cezil said “It’d be cool to have a little joke on the site too.”…”a few gin and tonics later, I (Lydelle) came up with the idea for Crime Fighting.”, so again, teamwork works!
MikesFilmTalk: I’ve had a lot of people asking me where they can see the film. So what is the date of The Taking’s world premiere?
BAPartists – Well, we’ll be premiering The Taking at A Night of Horror International Film Festival in Sydney, Australia on the evening of either Friday, April 12th or Saturday, April 13th. The date will be announced very shortly.
MikesFilmTalk: And finally, what is your next project going to be?
BAPartists – We were fortunate that some folks at a production company saw a copy of The Taking and really liked it. They’ve offered us an opportunity to make a more mainstream yet ‘different’ action film. It’s an opportunity that we can’t turn down and we’re really excited to take on the challenge of creating something that is both very marketable and yet still remains very artful, especially in the action genre. So, if all goes well, our next film will be an action film based around an alcoholic modern-day ninja. Can’t give ya any more details than that at the moment but trust me, it’s gonna be awesome!…we hope.
MikesFilmTalk: Thanks a lot guys for taking (Get it? Get it?) the time to talk to Mikes Film Talk and I hope we’ll be seeing a lot more of your work!
BAPartists – Haha! Thanks to you too, Mike! We like ya because you have good taste in things…like, horror films.
Here’s the movie’s website which will give you some more information about the film thetakingmovie.com. They also have two websites devoted to their company: www.bapartfilms.com and www.thebapartists.com.
And finally, here’s the trailer:
- The Taking (2013): Overpowering Imagery (mikesfilmtalk.com)