BRIGHT HILL ROAD Exclusive: Director Robert Cuffley Details The Constraints And Challenges Of Indie Filmmaking
The horror/thriller film Bright Hill Road released on Digital and DVD this month, and director Robert Cuffley spoke with us about his project, discussing the constraints of independent filmmaking.
Bright Hill Road is a supernatural horror/thriller film set in a hotel where all is not what it seems. The movie stars Michael Eklund (Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, Smallville) and Siobhan Williams (Welcome to Marwen) as characters tortured by their past while navigating a place akin to purgatory.
Choke Slam's Robert Cuffley directed the movie, and he recently spoke exclusively with us about the behind-the-scenes process. With his background as an independent filmmaker, we asked about the challenges he faced during production, both budgetary and otherwise.
Robert told us a bit about the nuances and small details that go into making films with only a few characters and locations, and the things he does to try to overcome those constraints. You can hear what he has to say in the clip from our chat with him below, or read this portion of the transcript beneath it.
"Not really budget-wise because Susie was quite careful to keep it within the realm that we could afford, which was, you know, a single location for most of the film and honestly like three characters. So that was quite manageable. I'd say there was a couple of scenes in the bedroom that I moved. This will sound weird that I moved to the bathtub, but the character had already done a similar thing in her bed, and I just thought she was going to jump in the bath anyway, so why don't we do it there? No nudity, very tasteful. But other than that, not really.
I believe Colin and I both have a pretty good grasp on reading something and liking the idea, but also your inner voice cautioning, 'Oh, that could be really tough to pull off,' just because we've done it before. And one of the things I say is don't make your short film if it's just going to be like The Matrix. Don't do it because you're going to look like a dumb ass because you don't have the resources.
Start small, master that before you get bigger, and sometimes on a smaller budget if you try something too big, it's great. Cause you're hitting for the stars, but it can sometimes also backfire. So I am cognizant of that. If someone writes a crowd scene, my first thought is fear. Where do we get a crowd? My movie before this was Choke Slam, which was a wrestling comedy. And what do you do at four in the morning when you're shooting, and you need a crowd, and there are 13 people there? I think I'm going to have a stroke just thinking about that."
You can also hear Robert speak more about Bright Hill Road and check out the film below's trailer and synopsis. Be sure to share your thoughts in the usual spot!
*This interview has been edited for clarity.*
When a misstep after a workplace shooting puts alcoholic Marcy on leave, she heads out to see her sister in California. Halfway there, she stops for a couple of days at the Bright Hill Road Boarding House. The walls close in on the deeply troubled Marcy, as she loses touch with reality and comes face to face with the misdeeds of her sordid past.
Bright Hill Road was released on Digital and DVD on January 12, 2021.