Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Marriage Of The Paranormal With Tradition: An Interview With “Ghost Bride” Director David Blyth

david blythDavid Blyth’s “Ghost Bride” is a paranormal thriller that takes on struggles of the generational and cultural dichotomy. The film stars Yoson An, Rebekah Palmer, Fiona Feng, Ian Mune, Geeling Ng, Catheryn Wu and Charles Chan. “Ghost Bride” follows young Chinese immigrant Jason Chen who becomes entangled with two women, a New Zealand beauty and the Chinese bride he is promised to. Held between the modern and the living, two worlds collide-living and the dead.

David Blyth directed New Zealand’s first ever horror film, “Death Warmed Up”. which followed up his indie success of controversial, social commentary “Angel Mine”. Since then he has built a cult following with his documentaries and feature films, not just in his native New Zealand but worldwide. “Ghost Bride” is his latest film which is due out November 4th. Check out the interview with David Blyth about the film and read my review of “Ghost Bride” before the film’s upcoming release.

A Southern Life: Having reviewed “Ghost Bride”, let me say “what a film”! Where did the you get the idea?
David Blyth: I was surfing the Internet one night and found a Asian paranormal website that detailed the ceremony and circumstances around a Ghost Bride wedding. There were images of paper and cardboard effigies of the young couple being burnt releasing their spirits to the other side. Plus images of the double coffin to house the physical remains of the dead couple’s bodies. I was intrigued by this ancient 2000 year old ceremony largely suppressed in mainland China but still practiced.

A Southern Life: Do you believe in the paranormal yourself or are you a skeptic?
David Blyth: I have not had any personal revelations in the paranormal department but I am fascinated by the many manifestations of consciousness.

A Southern Life: Given the success of Asian paranormal horror in the west with films like “The Grudge”, were you influenced by these films at all?
David Blyth: Certainly I’m a fan of Asian Horror Cinema, but I wanted to explore cultural projections and how there’s a subconscious dimension, looking at the compulsions behind the actions of the characters.

A Southern Life: How hard was it to pitch this film’s story to the financiers? What excited them about the project?
David Blyth: I pitched them the Chinese Ghost Bride concept of being able to be married after you are dead for eternity, as opposed to the Western concept of marriage where you have to be alive to marry and it’s all over when you die. So a predestined Chinese supernatural marriage gets in the way of new immigrant Jason Chen’s love for kiwi girl Skye and the mayhem that ensures when Jason marries Skye.

A Southern Life: The location chosen for “Ghost Bride” was picturesque, where did you film?
David Blyth: At the township of Gulf Harbour and beaches on the Whangapaora Peninsular above Auckland city, where I also happen to live.

ghost brideA Southern Life: New Zealand has been getting pretty busy, film-production wise. Is that a help or a hindrance to the indie film-making community there?
David Blyth: There is a lot of International stuff going on here at the moment. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon sequel has just completed production and several US features are being shot here this year, with the Avatar sequels on the way.

These productions are great for the NZ film industry as they help up-skill the local industry, giving both actors and crew opportunities to work in the International arena.
Three of the actors from Ghost Bride got roles in the Crouching Tiger sequel.

A Southern Life: Did you happen to do a Hitchcock and discreet cameo in “Ghost Bride” ?
David Blyth: No , but an interesting footnote, Geeling Ching who plays Madam Yin the matchmaker in Ghost Bride happens to be the “China Girl” of David Bowie’s song and video “China Girl”.

A Southern Life: Horror films seem to be taking more of a supernatural “don’t-show-everything” approach in recent years, do you think that’s the way to go?
David Blyth: Story is most important and certain stories lend themselves to a more leave it to the imagination type of scenario, rather than the visceral in your face revelation. Both work so depending on the story and approach I’m open to working with both.

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