"When we set out to produce PIROUETTE we knew that we wanted the film to be a supernatural horror that was a slow burn and didn’t rely on certain cliches like jump scares, blue tones, or cinematic music.
PIROUETTE is a simple haunted object story told in a unique way, where classic horror conventions meet modern. We hope that audiences experience a lasting linger rather than a fleeting jump scare."
- Peter David Howard & Glenn Delaney
Click on the question to reveal the answer
This was the first time producing and directing a horror film, what was the biggest challenge?
Coming from a heavily commercial media and advertising background, PIROUETTE has been the first creative project I have undertaken since some smaller community television projects in 2016. Filming over two days on location in Melbourne was an exciting challenge and it was a pleasure working with the cast and crew onset. Whilst we were very pleased with the end result, PIROUETTE provided some significant learnings that I can imagine Pete and I will inevitably take onboard for future projects.
Why a ballerina?
I think a lot of great horrors that stay with you have a common item that connects with the audience. Like an old antique mirror (Oculus) a VHS tape (The Ring) or a puzzle box (Hellraiser). When Glenn and I were brainstorming concepts, I started to think about key items from my childhood. My youngest sister had a ballerina box that always seemed to be chiming. We thought, what a great concept for a film, as, to our knowledge, it had not been explored in horror before, except for a brief appearence in Cabin In The Woods.
How did you come to choose Ani and Hannah?
We wanted to organise the ballerina first so we could move onto costume and makeup. We actually had a great turn out, there were circus contortionists to professional ballet dancers, it was a lot of fun. Hannah was unmatched, during the audition she screamed menacingly into the camera and it was the clear to Pete and I she was the best choice for the role. Additionally she had previous experience in ballet, and could elongate her neck out long which was perfect for the surreal yet elegant look we were going for. Ani was the obvious choice, she arrived in her characters costume and we ran through the paralysis scene. The expression of fear in her eyes sealed the deal.
The soundscape is quite intense, tell me about the process of crafting it? Why the cello
As rotation is a big theme of the film we wanted that to be present in the audio. With a big focus on man-made sounds, as the ballerina box is a constructed object. Originally, the film was to only include Ani’s audio and heavily rely on sound effects with the cello piece at the end. On a whim I reached out to Judith Hamann, an experimental cellist, based in Melbourne. Judith was (and still is) in lockdown in Berlin but mentioned that her friend had a studio, and agreed to perform the end piece. I asked her if she was feeling charitable, if she wouldn’t mind recording some improvisational sounds to the film. The recordings were incredible and we had to include them.
Whats next for you both?
Presently working within the banking sector and operating a small business, given the challenges presented by COVID in 2020, I will likely undertake another project by 2023.
At the moment I'm collaborating with award winning screenwriter Emily Komiyama to produce a feature that explores the haunted ballerina concept further.