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.
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.