Q: You've been making movies since you were 14-and from the dvd extra, "Low Budget Stuntmen" on THE FIELD DVD, have been doing most of your own stunts for the movies. What was the most difficult stunt you and your friends ever did?
David Lee Stewart: The most difficult stunt we ever did...There are a few that come into mind...In '98 I acted in a film called Dark Around by Piranha-Pictures.com. There was a scene where my character had to escape from the main bad guy. I jumped off a large cliff, hit some branches and tumble through some more to the ground below. That was my biggest stunt. It was also a nice epic one because it involved 3 separate locations in 2 different states.
Location 1: Jump off a cliff in Maryland landing in the Potomac River. - It's illegal to do that there! Run away before we get a ticket!
Location 2: Fall off a tree through some branches into a fishing lake in central Virginia. Bruised my ribs on that one.
Location 3: Fall through some more trees in central Virginia. Broke a lot of branches here...
The worst part about the stunt was the fact that the film was never completed! And it was shot on Super 8 Film which looks cool...but too grainy to really appreciate the stunt.
Q: In addition to directing CONCEALMENT and CONFINEMENT, you also act in your movies. How is this an advantage/disadvantage in the film making process?
David Lee Stewart: The Pro's are I get to work with someone who's schedule, ambition, creativity, and "skills" are equal to or greater than my own. I know my limitations and strengths and use that knowledge to my advantage most of the time. In doing physically demanding films I don't have to worry about a stranger getting hurt during the process. I always give myself the most dangerous tasks.
The Con's include: Loosing my own particular vision on how I want the film to look. If you're acting, directing and all that other stuff you'll sacrifice a lot. To tell you the truth, I only played the lead in CONFINEMENT because I couldn't find anyone else who I could depend on for such a demanding part. During the casting stage I kept my eye's peeled for a lead. If I found a lead I would have DP'd the film myself. Since I had to play the part, Eric Thornett DP'd it. CONFINEMENT would have looked entirely different if I shot it myself. (Not better or worse - Just different.)
In short...when you're wearing too many hats your overall project suffers.
Q: CONFINEMENT is one of the better "MOST DANGEROUS GAME" influenced movies I've seen in a long while. How did the idea come about?
David Lee Stewart: I've always been a fan of the underdog beating all the odds and achieving the impossible. You can see this theme used in 99% of all films made on the planet earth. I love originality too. So I sat down one day with a pen and paper and began what would ultimately be... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!
Here's the real deal. I love action flicks. I make No/Low budget films. I love experimenting with special effects to see how far I can go. On every film I make I try to challenge myself and my actors to go as far as they can. Filmmaking is an ADVENTURE for me. I'm on it-living life. The source for CONFINEMENT started at the end of 2002. A friend of mine showed me this cool natural cave way up in the mountains. We drove there, crawled through the icy cold water and explored this world under the ground. CONFINEMENT began right there in that cave. I created the gaming zone around the cave. And a year later had a finished story. I took the basic storyline of hunting humans for sport and made my version of it. The entire flic cost me VERY LITTLE to make. I did 90% of everything myself and it took me 3 years to complete. I had a blast making it and I'm proud of it too!
Q: What were the best and worst things to happen during the production?
David Lee Stewart: The best thing about making the movie was the definitely the end product. It was difficult to get finished working around everyone's schedules. Also 99% of the movie was outside in the woods. We had to work around the weather constantly. We worked only on the weekends. There were many canceled shoots due to the weather.
There was a time about mid way through filming when I seriously considered scrapping the whole thing. We had shot the first summer in 2003. We were supposed to be finished. But the &%^ weather screwed us up a lot. I asked DP Eric Thornett what he thought about stopping. We both agreed to keep going because we had shot a lot of good stuff.
We shot the inside scenes in March 2004. Soon after I cut a Teaser Trailer and everyone liked what they saw.
Filming started on May 31st 2003 and finished on November 11th 2004. Post production officially ended in August 2005.
To sum up THE WORST PART WAS THE WEATHER AND WORKING OUTDOORS!
Q: I noticed that John Johnson, who is also a filmmaker, is in the movie? How do you know him?
David Lee Stewart: I've known JJ for a while. I played a part in one of his films in the past and we've helped each other out throughout the years. I've done some digital effects in several of his films. He played roles in CONCEALMENT (He looses some toes in the beginning.) and had a cameo in CONFINEMENT in which he gets killed by a 5 year old toddler robot. (Played by my son Cameron.) We live in the same town.
Q: Your recent short, THE FIELD, is about a relationship that has a turn for the worse (at least for the guy). It's a bit different from your two features, as it's kind of "exaggerated" and comical. How did the idea for this come about?
David Lee Stewart: The Field is from my Chantilly High School days. (I graduated in '92) Just about everything I did back then was filled with warped over the top humor. I wrote a series of shorts in '95 based on that style of humor. They sat on my computer until August of 2006 when I dug them up looking for an easy script to do in one day. The Field was inspired by a great David Bowie song called 'Absolute Beginners' which was for the movie 'Absolute Beginners.' It's a beautiful over the top love song which I'd sing along with. I wrote The Field while listening to it. I even borrowed some of the lyrics and then changed them for the love song Ford sings before he is tragically "loved to death" by Kim.
Q: What can we look forward to in the future.
David Lee Stewart: I'm planning to make my next film CONTAINMENT in the spring/summer of 2007. It will be a thriller/drama with some nice horror thrown in. It will be a piece of cake compared to making CONFINEMENT.
Q: How can people see the movies? (Website info, et cetera).
David Lee Stewart: My web site is davidstewartproductions.com. You'll find loads of info about my films there. There are videos and pictures to eyeball. Another site is addictingclips.com/spudcam. I've uploaded a ton of videos there as well. Some old, some new, all cool! You can see THE FIELD, and LOW BUDGET STUNTMEN at both of these sites. LOW BUDGET STUNTMEN has my biggest stunt in it. (Described above.)
I am currently seeking distribution on CONFINEMENT as of this article so look for it in your local video store soon!