1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
You can learn about me at my website. http://joeystewartfilms.com/
2. The movie The Final, the kids are always being tortured and are being picked on and put through a tough time in High School, when you went to school did you ever face any sort of torment from other students?
Yes I had experiences on both sides. In my first year in High School I played sports and hung out with the popular crowd. However as my interests turned to the arts, film, and theater, I became part of the “outcasts”, and got picked on and tormented. Not to the degree of the characters in the film, but I got my share of it.
3. What made you want to direct the movie The Final?
I was signed to direct a film for Agora Entertainment. 2 scripts were being considered at the time. I didn’t respond to one of them, but I had some strong ideas about The Final. The company moved forward with The Final, with myself attached to direct.
4. What movie would you relate The Final too?
It has some of the same themes as Elephant, and we had several homages to other horror films, such as Audition. However it has it’s own identity, and it’s not really the kind of film you compare to another.
5. When you were directing this movie, what was the tone you were trying to obtain? Were you trying to make it more of a slasher movie or more of a thriller?
I approached it as a dramatic thriller. These are real issues and problems in society, and I didn’t want to sensationalize it by using cheap shots with over the top gore and camera effects. This isn’t about escaping into a world of entertainment. I didn’t want people leaving the theater laughing about how cool or fun the “dark humor” was. The final is “deadly serious”, as one critic put it.
6. This movie appeared in Horrorfest 4, can you tell us why you wanted to get your movie into this and also some of the steps it takes to get into that collection?
We submitted the film to After Dark / Lionsgate and they almost immediately sent us an offer. We knew this was the best chance for the film to get a widespread audience, theatrically, on DVD, and TV. It’s a proven model with a good track record and a huge fan base, so It was basically a no-brainer.
7. Since your movie appeared in Horrorfest, have you watched some of the other movies also in horrorfest, if so which one is your favorite?
I liked Dread and Zombies of Mass Destruction.
8. What movies when you were a kid really made you want to become a director and involved in film in general?
I worked in a movie theater when I was a kid, and I remember the reaction of the audience when The Shining premiered. People were crying and shocked as they left the theater, and when I watched it, it made me understand the power of the medium. I wanted to be a part of that world. Other films that inspired me were Jaws, 2001, Platoon, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
9. You also work on TV as so many other positions including Producer or Assistant Director, can you give us some differences between those positions and being a director?
When you direct you are focused on the creative side mainly. You get asked about a thousand questions a day about wardrobe, shots, style, colors, and acting. When Producing, you control the big picture, hiring all dept heads and making sure they are on the same page as you about the film. You oversee the organization of the film from
casting to delivering the finished film. As a 1st AD, you schedule the shoot, run the actual set, and make sure everyone knows where they need to be and when, and what they will be responsible for each day to bring the director’s vision to life.
10. What do you like to do more, TV or film?
11. Favorite director?
Kubrick, Fincher, Aronofsky, Oliver Stone
12. Favorite Actor?
Too many to list
13. Favorite Genre?
None. I just want to see a good film, and if the script is strong, I don’t care what genre it is in.
14. What are you currently working on, TV and film?
I am producing a feature about 4 kids who grow up in the gang system. 2 of them grow up to be crime lords, and the other 2 become cops and infiltrate their crime ring. We are in pre-production now. Shooting begins in August.
We want to thank Joey Stewart for taking the time to answer some questions!