DIRECTOR Rudolf Buitendach had to contend with haunted locations and flesh eating diseases while making his latest film Hex. A behind-the-scenes nightmare that almost matched the horrors of the film, which tells the story of a mysterious, violent force that disturbs a young couple’s holiday romance.
Following the film’s world premiere at Raindance Film Festival, Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge chatted to Rudolf about his unique experience working on Hex.
Q: ‘Hex’ is inspired by a true story. Can you give us insight into that story and how much you tapped into it during the film?
A: A friend of mine dated a girl who was a model, very beautiful and very complicated. At times, she behaved in very odd ways. He told me about a few episodes that inspired certain scenes.
On top of that, I read about a famous case that psychologist Carl Jung had where a girl had multiple personalities ranging from very sexual to very shy without one persona knowing about the other. This combined with a Cambodian true story of two backpackers who went missing and were later found, ritually murdered became the meat of the script, pun intended!
Q: The film has starts with fiery romance in a foreign and then descends into something much more sinister. How much did you enjoy toying with the emotions of the audience in ‘Hex’?
A: That’s one of my favorite things!
Q: Kelly Blatz (who plays Ben) and Jenny Boyd (Amber) have to do a lot of intensely physical acting – and acting with the invisible – in this film. Can you talk about your experience working with them and helping to bring out this performances.
A: THEY were both fantastic and created a chemistry that’s very hot. I didn’t have to do too much as director as they both showed up very prepared and it was more about adjusting here and there and orchestrating the mise en scène. As is sadly the case with low-budget indies, we only really had a day together to do a script read and do in depth discussions.
Q: The horror in the film was mirrored behind the scenes with haunted locations and one of the crew members contracting a flesh eating disease . How did you react to and deal with the unique hurdles put in your way in the making of this film?
A: IT was very hard. Another word for filming in Cambodia would be ‘rolling with the punches’.
The culture is incredibly warm though and I met the most amazing people. Our crew would diminish by the day, sometimes half a dozen people would be down with what we started to call ‘bubble butt’. Poor Jenny had to do her first two days of shooting whilst suffering from food poisoning.
Our talented DOP Stefan Ciupek almost stepped on a live cobra during the scout and I had a light concussion after being thrown about whilst filming on a fishing boat. And then there was the flesh eating disease and haunted locations…
Q: Did you feel a bit like Coppola trying to film Apocalypse Now?
A: YES, but at least he had a budget (laughs)!
Q: ‘Hex’ has its world premiere at Raindance Film Festival in London. How proud are you to see the film premiere and how have you enjoyed the responses to the film so far?
A: I do feel like a proud father and the responses have exceeded my expectations.