FIRST LOOK: SFX Madman and Director Gabe Bartalos talks with TV STORE ONLINE about his upcoming WTF descent into the madness of the mind in his new film SAINT BERNARD.
TV STORE ONLINE: What can you tell me about SAINT BERNARD? There isn't much written about it online... Where did the idea for the film come from?
BARTALOS: I just finished shooting the film back in November of last year. From there I took it to the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain and it really went over well. The film is less horror based than my previous film SKINNED DEEP (2004). It has a much bigger scope to it than SKINNED DEEP. This time around I was conscious of more than just getting film through the gate in the camera. I'm really proud of this new film. We shot in Super 16 and it looks beautiful. It focuses on a musical composer named "Bernard" who is played by Jay Dugré. Jay played "Brain" in SKINNED DEEP. Bernard descends into madness and we're along for the ride. The madness is manifested through very weird large-scale mosaic sets and prosthetic characters and difficult scenarios. It all becomes very maze like and he has to navigate through that. He's a very likeable guy, and you'll realize that you're going through some really difficult and surreal times with him.
Being really interested in the brain and in psychology I really wanted to figure out a way that we could visualize mental illness. This has really allowed me to use a palette of dreams and surrealness and explore mental imbalance. Having been able to do that has allowed me to produce some really far out imagery. Movie goers have become really sophisticated and they've seen almost everything, so with SAINT BERNARD, I really wanted to give the people something in images and narrative that I think that they've never seen before.
TV STORE ONLINE: I see Warwick Davis is part of SAINT BERNARD....
BARTALOS: Right, he was in SKINNED DEEP. In SAINT BERNARD he plays "Othello" and he's the guardian of a 50 foot high log pile and he's a kind of guardian angel that introduces "Father Time" to the story. I'm really into playing with a lot of different sensibilities in SAINT BERNARD and I really like playing around with characters that exist through history or those that only exist on paper and bringing them to life in my world.
TV STORE ONLINE: When I see the cast for SAINT BERNARD...One name really sticks out to me and that's Bob Zmuda...
BARTALOS: Laughing...Most people know Bob as the founder of Comic Relief. I know him through my collaborations with Tony Clifton. Bob's very talented and he has a great singing voice so I approached Bob to play a character. There's a scene in SAINT BERNARD that occurs in a church. There is a priest that has a sort of about face. I really needed a very charismatic person who could go from being completely charming to flat out monstrous. Bob has a great voice and he's a great salesman and pitchman. He's got this wonderful mane of hair. I approached him to play the character and said, "Do you have anything against playing a priest?" He just knocked this character out of the park and he played both sides of the spectrum that I needed just perfectly.
TV STORE ONLINE: Laughing... If you've done the Tony Chifton make-up for Bob Zmuda... How many times have put that make-up on Andy Kaufman in recent years?
BARTALOS: Laughing...There are many layers to that question so we'll have to save that one for another interview...laughing
Check out the official SAINT BERNARD website HERE:
Interview Conducted By: Justin Bozung