Interview: John Fallon


I recently had the opportunity to interview John Fallon. Director of The Shelter, his film is set to debut at Sitges Film Festival next weekend.



Interview by James Orrell


It's pretty awesome to see your film succeed in your first big screen screening.  How does that feel?

Good! After a year of non-stop hustle, I allowed myself to smile, relax and have a good time at the films world premiere at Film4 Frightfest in London. I’m happy that executive producer Berge Garabedian was on hand to share the experience with me and I am glad that some people got something out of the film. I am very much aware that could NOT have been the case. I’ll take it!


Now, I know it had to take a massive effort, but how did you decide on Michael Pare as your lead?

When I wrote the script, the character of Thomas looked like Michael Pare in my mind. It should be said that Mike and I had met before in 2008 on the set of Eric Red’s 100 Feet. So when it came down to casting; we were looking for actors that “looked like” Michael Pare, because I didn’t think we would get him – he’s a very busy actor. Finally my producer Donny Broussard convinced me to send the screenplay to Mike. He read it, loved it, we made a deal and he was cast. It’s pretty cool when I stop and think about it, I wrote it with him in mind and he played it… it was meant to be in my book!


If you ask me, Pare was amazing in his role. Did you have to direct him hard, or was it more natural for him?

Mike is a veteran and he came on set beyond prepared in terms of knowing his role and the script; which made my job very easy. I’d adjust intensity here and there and we’d of course discuss some scenes now and again, but I can’t say I had to “direct him hard”. Mike knew his role inside out and knew what he wanted to do and he did them, very well at that! I learned a lot via having him on set and will be a better actor’s director for it on the next one!


The sound design was, frankly, amazing for this film. What went into it? I’m sure you had something in mind, but what was the process between, "This is okay," and " This is fucking awesome."  

I knew early on that the sound design would be a major factor for this particular film, hence sound designer Colby Huval and I worked meticulously on it. Some things I knew I wanted to do in advance, other things we discovered and applied through the process. Working the sound with Colby was in fact one of my favorite stages of Post Production. We got to be creative and had lots of fun!


I'd be remiss if I didn't ask this, how much did you like your little cameo?  I know you pretty well so it was kind of odd and fun to see you get your ass kicked.

I did the cameo so I’d have one less actor to pay. Also I couldn’t afford a stuntman or injuries on set – so it had to be me. On that, I did enjoy getting bitch slapped by Pare, but not as much as my crew who would cheer, laugh and clap at the end of every take. They loved seeing me get punished…lol!


I do feel that Pare's journey was one that the viewer would make up their own minds, as to what happens to him. Without giving spoilers, was this intentional?

I know what his journey is to me and there are many subtle clues in the film that support my meaning. On that, who you are and the nature of your individual spirituality (or lack of) will define what you get out of it. Hence, yes I purposely made it vague and open to interpretation. It was like that on the page and it’s like that in the film. Thus far it has been fascinating to hear what people think is going on. Some people fully get it, others have their own theories which are just as good as my take on it and others simply have ZERO idea as to what is going on. For better and for worse, it’s that “type” of movie.


How has the audience welcomed the religious subtext of the film so far?

Pretty much what I expected. Like I keep saying, who you are, how you were raised and the nature of your spirituality (or lack of) will define what you get out of the film. I've had people thank me and hug me because of it. Some get it and love it, others don't fully get it or are totally lost and love it anyways. And then I have folks that were turned off by the religious tones. It's like they took it personally. It's funny as there are countless genre films that have been created having to do with Satan and demons and that is all fine and dandy for the bulk of believers and non believers alike. But mention the flip side of that coin in an unorthodox way like we did with The Shelter and some get offended or put off by it; believers and non believers alike. "Fascinating" as Mr. Spock would say. 


What can we expect after this film? I, for one, want more from you. Do you have more films in store for us?

Two scripts that I wrote are presently being set up by their respective producers. On my end, I am trying to get my follow up films as a director off the ground. One is a sci-fi action film in the vein of Predator; the other is a barbarian action picture. I’ll go into details on them when the money is in the bank and we enter pre-production! Till then it’s all keep you mouth shut and hustle.  


To learn more about John Fallon and his film The Shelter, check out these links.


The Shelter will screen next at the Sitges Film Festival!