David Brooks is the director of the new horror/thriller “ATM”. The film is also David’s feature directorial debut. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with David about the film and what he has planned next.
MS: You’ve done a couple of short films but “ATM” is your first feature. How did you get involved with the project?
DB: I’m good friends with Peter Safran, who co-produced “Buried,” which was (writer) Chris Sparling’s other feature. He had seen the short I had done coming out of NYU called “Gone.” He really liked it. He was working on the post-production of “Buried.” I read the (“ATM”) script and really just started badgering him. I then started working on a draft of the script with Chris…that was the gestation of it.
MS: “ATM” takes place pretty much AT an ATM. How were you able to build and sustain the suspense in what is pretty much a one set film?
DB: It’s certainly a challenge for sure. But I think that was one of the things that brought me to the project…to have to figure out how to do that. For me it was about getting the right amount of balance between the perspectives. Essentially we have three characters inside a vestibule and a man outside. So a lot of the tension comes from playing between the perspectives. Them inside. He outside. Then within those I try to play with who is seeing what at what moment. At times you may think you’re looking through the man’s purview from outside and then he steps through the frame. It’s just a matter of continually finding ways to keep the audience unsettled. That was the goal and we do that with the shifting perspectives.
MS: You’re working with a pretty young cast. How were they to work with?
DB: Really, really fantastic. I was really lucky to cast all three of them. It was really great for me as a first time feature director to be working with such talents. They were all very special…they all brought something unique to their characters. We all decided that we would work hard and they answered the challenge.
MS: You edited commercials as well as most of your earlier film work. Editing seems to be, from Robert Wise to Martin Scorsese, an almost perfect segue into directing. Did that experience help you when you set up your shots and planned on where to put the camera?
DB: It was a natural progression. Working on a low budget film, especially one as intimate as this one, it was a great opportunity for me to bring my comfort in the editing room to the table. That definitely was a big part of it.
MS: The film is currently available on Video on Demand and opens on April 6th. What is the release schedule like? Are you opening wide or just hoping to start small and build on word of mouth?
DB: We’re going to start limited and hopefully grow from there. We’re getting great response on the VOD. People are getting a chance to see the film. I believe we’re starting out in six cities, expanding to six more the following week and hopefully growing from there. I think for a small movie that people are able to see it on VOD. But I want people to get that big screen theatre experience…I hope they decide to see it in the cinema as soon as possible!
MS: Do you have your next project lined up?
DB: That’s a good question (laughs). I’m working on a few things but for the most part really I’m just reading scripts and trying to find my next thing. The short answer is I’m not sure but hopefully I’ll know soon enough.