FrightFest Interview: RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY
Director Sebastiano Pupino and actor Carolina Lopes discuss working together on the short film Rain, Rain, Go Away that premieres as part of the Short Film Showcase 2 at FrightFest on Saturday 26th, 10:30 am.
This is a very dark tale that (without spoiling too much) feeds from real horrors. Where did the idea come from or is it rooted in something much more personal?
Sebastiano Pupino: I always wanted to direct a horror film. I was motivated to find a story that starts with a classic horror scenario and then I could have the possibility to move away from it and go into a different place by experimenting with the genre. I have been so lucky to meet a brilliant writer, Thalia Kent-Egan, who had this story ready to be produced.
How did you become involved with the project, Carolina?
Carolina Lopes: Sebastiano reached out to me online. We then met on Zoom to go over the project. I loved the character and the story right away but what really struck me was how passionate Sebastiano was about the short. He had a genuine visceral commitment to it and that’s huge in our industry. I feel that if we’re always seeking that extra layer of ‘care’ in what we do, it adds a sense of purpose and meaning which is always more rewarding.
What is the significance of the title?
SP: To me, the title reflects the duality of the story, the core idea being that even the happiest memories can hide darker meanings. A joyful nursery rhyme can then become a hypnotizing chant.
Tell me about your relationship with horror movies, Carolina.
CL: I have to be honest with you, I have probably watched about five horror movies in my entire life. I went to this birthday party when I was seven and we watched The Exorcist in this really creepy attic, and I was traumatised. I couldn’t sleep without a light on for a whole year and even now I can still picture so many scenes from it. It’s such an incredible movie but it made me run away from horror ever since. And that is exactly why this project was so great. Everything was so different from what I usually work on and watch so I’m super grateful to have started to tackle and enjoy such an unknown genre for me.
Was there any specific direction you had to give Carolina?
SP: It was a blessing to work together as we pretty much work in the same way. I don’t like to rehearse a scene too much and I prefer to follow my instincts on set and so does Carolina. It all came naturally by following the script, talking through it, and walking around the set with the camera in place.
Is this a role you could explore further as a potential feature?
CL: I would absolutely adore to keep exploring the role. I would love to see Clari in the outside world, see how she acts in public and go on about her day. We’ve seen her at home, but which face does she put on in public and how much of her past does she actually manage to hide or allow people to see? I guess I would like to discover how she interacts with people and to which extent she connects.
There is something about underlying emotional trauma manifesting itself physically. Was this something conscious or did the idea grow?
SP: It was all in the amazing script written by Thalia since the first draft. From a directing point of view, I was interested in experimenting together with my long-time producing partner & VFX artist Emanuele Serra, in order to find a way of translating the emotional trauma on screen with heightened images and sound. The body horror element was very well described in the script and we just needed someone brave enough to jump on board and follow us on the journey of working with old-school practical effects on such a small budget. We were so lucky to work with Jobina Hardy (Special FX MUA Artist) on this and I just loved watching her create all the various elements needed for the film.
How collaborative was the experience?
CL: The process was extremely collaborative. I can’t even recall a day in which Sebastiano didn’t ask me if I agreed with his take on a scene or the character, be it from how she feels in that specific moment to how she’s dressed. It felt like genuine communication and that applies to the whole team. Everyone was in dialogue with each other.
What do you both hope audiences take away from the film?
SP: I hope that after watching it you’ll still be thinking about and questioning what you just watched.
CL: I hope the audience relates to Clari’s overwhelming feeling of isolation due to her past and how what happened turned her into a broken adult. How many broken adults surround us every day even though they look and act completely functional? Being able to see people at their most intimate, alone at home, may put things into perspective.