Introducing filmmaker Jack Thomas Smith. Jack is the director of the 2014 horror film INFLICITION. In this #filmmakerfriday piece, Jacks tells us when he began his filmmaking career and the story behind his horror films.
1. When did you begin your career as a filmmaker?
I’ve been working in the entertainment industry for 23 years now. When I was a teenager, I worked at a video store in Sparta, NJ. A customer by the name of Lee Estrada would come in and rent horror movies all the time. Needless to say, Lee and I would talk about horror films and we became friends. At that time, I had just started working on my first screenplay, which was a horror script, and I told Lee that. He gave me his friend Ted Bohus’s information and told me to reach out to him. Ted is an indie filmmaker, who has had a number of films released worldwide. As soon as I finished writing the screenplay, I contacted Ted and sent him my script. He read it, liked it, and suggested we work on a screenplay together. He felt the budget for the screenplay I wrote would be too large to shoot as an indie. So Ted and I co-wrote The Regenerated Man and raised the financing to shoot. Ted directed it and I worked with the crew so I could learn. When we completed the film, we were able to secure distribution with Arrow Entertainment and doubled our investment.
My current film, Infliction, which I wrote, produced, and directed, is a disturbing assembled footage film that documents a murder spree committed by two brothers in North Carolina in 2011… and the horrific truth behind their actions. Infliction opened in select theaters in the U.S. in the spring of 2014 and was released on DVD, VOD, and Digital HD on July 1st 2014 by Virgil Films & Entertainment.
2. How did you come up with the idea to film Infliction?
I’m not giving anything away here by saying that Infliction deals with the long-term effects of child abuse. It shows the impact of abuse not only on the individuals but on society as a whole.
I once knew a person, who came from an abusive family. I saw the cycle of abuse… Her parents were abused by their parents… And their parents were abused by their parents… And so on… This person I knew and her siblings had been abused by their parents. When her siblings had children, they weren’t the best with their kids either… I don’t want to say Infliction is based on a true story… But, honestly, if I said it wasn’t based on a true story; I wouldn’t be lying. All you have to do is turn on the evening news everyday and you’ll see parts of Infliction happening somewhere in the world.
3. Where there any challenges you and your crew faced during filming and if so, how did you manage to overcome them?
The actual filming of Infliction was very difficult. In the movie, the brothers shoot their actions with basic home video cameras. But we really shot the movie on a Sony F3, which is a very high end camera. This required the actors and the Director of Photography, Joseph Craig White, to be in sync with the camera movements. This was challenging for the actors, who not only had to focus on performances, but they also had to remember the exact camera movements. And this was challenging for the DP, who had to be in sync with the actors and their movements and also had to keep the shots in focus and framed properly. We had to choreograph a number of shots and it required a lot of rehearsal. Joe and the actors did an amazing job. There’s not a single shot in the film that doesn’t match with the actors’ camera movements.
4. Besides horror, are there any other movie genres you like to watch?
I watch all different genres of films. Good films are good films. Some of my favorite films include Goodfellas, Animal House, Caddyshack, This Is Spinal Tap, Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, The Godfather, The Crow, The Graduate, and American Sniper.
5. What are your future plans?
I’m hoping to shoot my next feature in 2016. It’s an action/horror film called “In The Dark.” I’ve already written the screenplay and I’ll be directing it as well. It takes place on a small island in Michigan that gets overrun by zombie/vampire creatures. There’s a handful of people left alive armed with guns and they have to fight hundreds of these things as they try to escape the island.
The creatures need blood to survive and their need to feed is maddening. They’re rotting and crazed… This isn’t “Twilight.” Lol. When they attack, they tear their victims apart to feed on their blood. And “In The Dark” is more than that… The characters are strong… And there’s an underlying theme to the story that is consistent throughout with the protagonists and antagonists. There will be imagery in certain places in relation to the characters’ specific flaws. The lines are blurred between the villains and the heroes.
Watch Infliction today