Friday, 1 January 2016

Steve Lawson - Director (Interview) (January 2016)

Steve Lawson (left) with the Legendary Richard Ng.
Steve Lawson is a gentleman I met why back in 2000. I was so impressed by his short filming skills on The Office Fight (2000) and many other various films that he had done through college and university, even in school. It's been some years and he has a new film out on release to small cinemas: Survival Instinct (2016).

What can you tell us about Survival Instinct?
"Survival Instinct was loosely based on a short film called Dead Lane that I made many, many years ago about a motorist who is pursued across the countryside by a serial killer. For the feature version I obviously had to flesh out the story a lot more and make it more plausible, and the end result is somewhere between Deliverance and Eden Lake - it's a real edge-of-your-seat thriller but with some great characters and performances. I think it's the best film I've directed to date and I'm thrilled that it has been picked up for theatrical distribution by Film Volt."

You've met some famous, Legendary faces in action film? Who influenced you the most?
"Of the film-makers that I have met, I would say John Woo influenced me the most. It was movies like The Killer and Hardboiled which really made me aware of certain types of camera movements and editing techniques that I still use today. I recently re-watched The Killer and I still find the editing to be absolutely amazing."

Tell me about your older films?
"How far back do you want to go?! I started making amateur films in the 80's when the technology was horribly limited, and carried on doing so throughout the 90's as cameras and editing equipment slowly improved. The first big revolution for low budget film-makers was the Mini-DV format, and I did two features on that called Insiders and The Silencer. The Silencer was kind of a revenge movie like Death Wish or The Exterminator but mixed with Hong Kong-style fight scenes and stunts. Some of the acting wasn't great but I think for the time it was an impressive achievement and it got released on DVD. After that I took a few years away from making films but with the increasing availability of really good, cinematic cameras and HD editing software I was tempted back into it as it now really is possible to make cinema-quality films for a ridiculously low cost. So I formed Creativ Studios Ltd. and produced a slate of three genre features which are Nocturnal Activity, KillerSaurus and of course Survival Instinct. I also now have an independent studio in Leicester which is available for other indie film-makers to use."

What are your memories of The Office Fight (2000) - short?
"Back in the early 2000's I used to get together with friends and shoot action scenes just for fun. It was just something to do and I suppose a way of learning film-making skills. That particular fight scene was shot in a day and the only thing I really remember was that the floor was really hard in the location we were filming in. I only had to fall down on it once as I played a minor role as a bad guy, but the martial arts guys who did all the fighting were falling on the ground all day with no padding whatsoever so they must have gone home with a lot of bruises!"

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