Promoting Anil Dhokai - July 2009
Interview by: Ronny

Anil Dhokai is an all-around filmmaker climbing his way up to bigger and bigger projects. He has worked as a location assistant on a number of films, most recently the remake of George A. Romero's "The Crazies". He has also worked as a writer, director, actor, as an on-set dresser, editor, and so on. Anil found us through Rayen Belchere, who's film "Neato Mosquito" he has worked on. He wanted us to promote his coming ghost film "Palmetto Haunting", so we thought we'd set up a small interview.

Glad you contacted us to help you promote "Palmetto Haunting". What kind of film is this exactly?
I would describe it as a film noir meets "Ghostbusters". It follows Jack Miles, a paranormal investigator living in a small southern town, who is contacted by a mysterious women to investigate three similar hauntings that are linked together.

How far into production are you on the film?
We are currently in post-production and are aiming October premiere. Principle photography was in January. We shot for 18 days.

How has production been on this film so far?
Things have come together really well so far. The cast and crew was great to work with. Most of them I had already known and have been working with for a number of years. I'm over halfway done with the rough cut and am really pleased with the footage.

Are there any big or semi-big name actors or other crew involved in the film?
Most of the cast and crew are seasoned freelancers in the Carolina film community. They all have some big projects on their resumes, from national commercials and Hollywood features to reality TV and music videos.

What influenced you to make a film like this one?
The idea actually started on the ride back from a premiere for another film I had worked on. Ryen Thomas (producer), convinced me that I should move on from making short films and go for a feature. I had already been writing a short ghost story and decided to expand some of the of the ideas of that script. I've always been a fan of older black and white movies, especially film noir. The more recent film noir movie "Brick" was also a big influence on the style.

An obvious question from a site like us; will there be any gore and/or nudity?
There's some gore, but not much. Since I wanted this film to feel feel like it was made in the 50's, I kept the gore to a minimum. There's no nudity either. If this gets rated it will probably be PG-13.

I believe you mentioned to me last time we spoke that you were then expecting a September release, and now the October preiere. Wouldn't a Halloween release be appropriate?
It's looking like the final cut wont be done until October now, which winds up working out for Halloween.

You recently worked as location assistant on the remake of George Romero's "The Crazies". How do you feel about the current trend of remakes? This is a standard question for us.
I think there are way to many of them and most are unwatchable. However I think "The Crazies" is a good film to remake, beacause the original had a really solid concept and with a bigger budget it can really be improved upon.

How was it to work with Rayen Belchere, a guy who is totally new to the filmmaking business?
Rayen was great to work with. He knew exactly what he wanted in terms of tone and style, which critical in a director/cinematographer relationship.

How did your interest in filmmaking begin?
It started when I was a kid. The most cliché filmmaker answer in world. But just because something is cliche doesn't mean its not true. I think people who are really driven, know what they want to do from a young age. It's in our DNA. I've been telling stories in my head as far back as I can remember. I didn't actually pick up a camera until I was in high school. I made a short film about zombies taking over the school.

You've been involved in a pretty impressive list of films for being so new. Do you have any other big jobs ahead?
There's some potential jobs on the horizon. Georgia's a big state for movies right now because of their tax incentives. I may wind up back there.

Are you a big horror fan? If so, what are some of your favorites?
I like a lot horror movies. However sci-fi is my favorite genre. I mainly like older horror films. Some of my favorites are "The Birds", "Rosemary's Baby", "Rear Window", "The Shining", "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", "The Exorcist".

What do you think of the more underground genre, with titles like Cannibal Holocaust, Nekromantik and such?
I'm not really familiar with those films. I like watching underground indie films, so I may have to check those out.

Final question. Do you have anything to add or say to the readers?
I think this is a cool website. After reading about some of the films on here, I'm definitely going to have to check some of them out!

For more information about Anil Dhokai, check him out on IMDb.


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