Meet the 2013 SXSW Filmmakers #31: Dennis Iliadis’ John Hughes-Inspired Thriller ‘Plus One’

Meet the 2013 SXSW Filmmakers #31: Dennis Iliadis' John Hughes-Inspired Thriller 'Plus One'

Greek horror director Dennis Iliadis, perhaps best known for his 2009 “The Last House on the Left” remake, comes to SXSW Midnight with his new, original film, shot by “The Master” DP Mihai Malaimare Jr.

What it’s about: 3 college friends go to the big party of the summer, each on a
grand mission. A supernatural phenomenon happens that could give them a
second chance- or change them forever.

About the filmmaker: I was born in Greece, and my first
American film was the “Last House on the Left” remake. After that I got
attached to some big studio projects (“The Birds,””Jekyll”) which were
moving too slowly so I realized I had to generate my own material
alongside. I had written my previous films as well as stuff for the
theatre so that was no issue- I actually realized that was something I
should never have stopped. So I came up with the story for Plus One,
then wrote a very detailed treatment outlining the beats and character’s
journeys. I brought that to Tim Perell who is a friend and a great
producer who has successfully ventured from the commercial to the
edgiest. He loved the concept so then we brought on board Bill Gullo, a
new york writer, to flesh it out into a screenplay while we stayed very
involved in the writing process. It’s a very interesting project because
it’s kind of high concept while taking immense risks. It takes a number
of very familiar elements- the crazy college party movie, sci fi
phenomena, teens in danger- and spins them to a totally unexpected
direction.

What else do you want audiences to know about your film? It is not a horror movie- although it has quite a few horror
movie elements. There’s comedy too. And a great twisted love story. It
shares the strong thriller element that all my movies have: once things
start happening, there is no time for stasis; characters will reach to
their furthest-and more interesting- extremes.

What was your biggest challenge in developing this project?

I guess the biggest challenge was
purely technical. We needed visual effects that technology had only
quite recently made possible but also needed to push them in ways that
you haven’t seen before. They had to be seamless while the camera
movement and physical interaction was almost prohibitive. When you see
the movie you’ll understand what I mean… I have to thank two amazing vfx
companies, Lola and Hydraulx, from the bottom of my heart for accepting
to come on board as co-producers, embracing the challenge and doing
phenomenal work. Without them this movie wouldn’t exist.


What would you like SXSW audiences to come away with after seeing your film?
I’d like SXSW audiences to come in knowing as little as
possible, leaving any ‘baggage’ at the door. Based on test audience
reactions so far, there will be a LOT to talk about at the end of the
screenings.

Did any specific films inspire you? With my enormously talented DP – Mihai Malaimare Jr. (“The
Master”- we watched a lot of American teen movies: all John Hughes,
“Superbad,” “Can’t Hardly Wait,” “Project X,” “Chronicle”… For the darker turns, there were no specific references/inspirations. I guess we already had it in us.

What do you have in the works? Right now I have two studio projects in development. And one in Europe, just to keep things balanced.

Indiewire invited SXSW directors to tell us about their films,
including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re
doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013
festival.

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on March 8 for the latest profiles.

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