Gilbert Speaks: Review of Director Patrick Devaney’s Impervia

29 Nov

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I love watching independent films and doing reviews on them. There are so many talented people in the world of Indie Films and their work is amazing. I’ve done several reviews of Patrick Devaney’s works: here, here and here. I am a big fan of his, but I was recently given his science fiction film to review. Did Impervia meet my expectations? Find out after the jump.

Plot

What will the future hold for us? Patrick Devaney moves away from his normal fun filled servings of zombies and horror to take us into a future world; our world and, it’s not pretty. Our future is one big wasteland under the control of a “New World Order” that is as oppressive as the lack of vegetation in the scenes. Impervia, which is written, produced and directed by Patrick Devaney and Devarez Films stars Marc Abbott, Deana Demko, Zoe Gronner, Elena Randolph, and Kelly Rae LeGault.

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The film centers on a small family of four: father, mother and two daughters who are living in a government sanctioned home that sits in the middle of nowhere, some miles away from a city of tall, shiny buildings. Their living conditions are bleak enough, but then they get a visit from a government representative; Inspector Cheryl Downey played by the talented Kelly Rae LeGault. They have 24 hours to leave their home and no amount of pleading with Downey will forestall this exile. The family, especially the father played by Marc Abbott, try to prepare their two young daughters for the long and dangerous trek to find another home.

Conclusion

The actors were believable in their roles, allowing us to feel their dismay and angst. But even when we realize what is actually going on, we still care for them. The cinematography is stunning, giving the feeling that we are right there in that godless place. Impervia is science fiction at its best. And now, my interview with Patrick Devaney.

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Gilbert: Hi Patrick. I’ve interviewed you before and although I know most of your other work, Impervia was a pleasant surprise. Where did you get the inspiration for Impervia?

Patrick Devaney: HI Marie, great to talk to you again!  I’m glad you enjoyed our new film. Yes, it was a departure from what most people know of my work, but it is the direction I’ve been going ever since I created AEMORRAGHE a few years ago.  That being said, IMPERVIA is a whole other animal, and it comes from a number of different places, I believe. To begin with, it wasn’t originally the film we had planned for a 2015 shoot. I had started pre-production on my enormous vampire film, PM/AM, and was already producing its concept art when the backing for it evaporated overnight. As this film had a very large production cost (the largest I’d ever dealt with to date), it had to be postponed until we could raise the funds again.

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Meanwhile, I had a small project brewing about a family living in a blank and dead wilderness which I was planning on shooting myself with a monochrome digital Bolex, a kind of futuristic “Grapes of Wrath”. IMPERVIA was born out of that and into the vacuum that PM/AM left behind, keeping the original concept and the plan to always make it not black & white, but monochrome (the film is finished in a custom-made copper-toned filter). I had always been interested in, and horrified by, forced migrations of people. Part of my final project for my Anthropology degree was comparing different eras of forced migrations of people and the reasons behind this. But it is when people are exiled because the new ruling-class deems them as undesirables…well, those are the worst and most horrifying.  And that is the underlying -theme of this film: what happens when people who have nothing are told to move it along? How do parents protect their children when this happens? Can they protect them?

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Gilbert: What were some of the difficulties to shooting a futuristic world as compared to your horror films?

Patrick Devaney: The world of IMPERVIA is barren. Completely barren.  Apart from the house and the miles-high city in the far distance, nothing lives. Whatever occurred in their world, it is empty to the horizon in every direction. Solar flares bleach everything exposed, and I strived to show that constantly. Planning for such a live-action concept was challenging to say the least, as we had to figure out what of the real world we wished to use and what needed to be digitally erased. A lot of planning went into how to work each shot and marry the special effects to the practical ones.  In my horror films, this is done to a great effect by SFX artist Michael Scardillo. But in this film, his work had to be more subtle and integrate smoothly into the digital work, expertly created by Philadelphia-based CG artist David Gechman (who also did the animations for AEMORRAGHE, Apocalypse Kiss, and many others).

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The film required eight months of Pre-Production and Ten months of Post after filming was done. There were over SIXTY special effects shots that were being created while I was editing, with (Composer) Bernadette McCallion creating every note of music you hear in the film from the pieces that I could send her way. Bernadette, David, and I worked exclusively online for this project, never having a single meeting or phone call. I wanted to see if such a workflow could be beneficial and it certainly seems to have been. Of course, all the planning in the world is meaningless if you cannot get the proper image, and Director of Photography Mark Boutros did exactly that…and did it all with one camera.  Every practical image was shot single-camera, by one man, in under 48 hours. I still marvel at how he handled all of this, but the image quality he captured for the film speaks for itself.

Gilbert: Can you tell us a little bit about the actors in Impervia?

Patrick Devaney: I would be happy to. As you can see from the end result, I was blessed with not only seasoned actors, but outstanding newcomers to the Indie film world as well. The parents in our film, played by Marc Abbott and Deana Demko, drive the emotional angle of the story and do so with a believability that just radiated throughout the entire working set.  They had gotten to know each other on a personal level months before we ever shot, and I think that really helped bring them to life. I loved working with both of them through this film, Marc for the second time, and Deana for the fifth time!

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Their daughters, played by Zoe Gronner and Elena Randolph, both brought a type of innocence and even confusion to the viewer, showcasing their horrible situation while showing that their characters really are not fully aware of the direness of the family’s situation. I have worked with both of these young ladies before, and I cannot wait to see what they achieve in the future.

Kelly Rae LeGault, of course, was my only choice for the Investigator, and she brought a menace and a sort of compassion at the same time to the role; still devious and wrong, but a much better person than the other officers, played by Linnet Brooks, (on-set Producer) Christopher Murphy, with a delightfully twisted and sadistic performance by Melissa Damas. And Kelly, who is a regular denizen of Gotham City on “Gotham”, can also be seen next year in a featured role in “John Wick 2”.

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I would also like to mention that along with my wonderful cast, each day was built, and broken down, and fixed, and run, by our support staff, which doubled and even tripled on many tasks. (Assistant Director) Chris Corsi, Scott Thibideau, Jeff Freeby, (location manager) Erik Christianson, and a slew of others who came and helped us create this strange story all went above and beyond to get what had to be done; done.

Gilbert: I really enjoyed this film, so can we expect more science fiction works from you?

Patrick Devaney: Absolutely. It’s my preferred genre now, and I am going to continue with these themes for as long as my imagination permits. I have two scripts ready to go, and I’m working on two others with my creative partner, Lauren Loizidis. Whichever one we get funding for first, that’s the one I’ll produce.  But I really do love the Science-Fantasy/Sci-Fi genre; it’s my favorite by far. And with other crews (such as Mass Grave Pictures and New Needle) doing true horror with more heart than I can, it’s fine with me to leave it to them to scare us from now on!

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Gilbert: Where can people expect to see this film? Where can they find your other works?

Patrick Devaney: IMPERVIA will make its World Premiere at the Macabre Faire Film Festival, January 13th-15th, 2017. This is a spectacular festival and the only one of its kind on the East Coast, so get your tickets now!   As for my other films, the ZOMBIE HUNTERS: CITY OF THE DEAD series DVD’s might still be available in retail outlets, but I’m going to have an online store open very soon.  Anyone interested can go to Facebook.com/DevarezFilms and “like” the page, and they’ll get all the updates on my films, the store opening, our convention and film festival schedule, and so much more.

Gilbert: Thank you so much, Patrick. I’ll be looking forward to watching more of your films.

Check out Patrick Devaney’s sites and follow him on facebook.

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