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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Interview with Filmmaker Brian Metcalf for 'Living Among Us' (2018)


Brian Metcalf's 'Living Among Us' (2018) Filmmaker Brian Metcalf's 'Living Among Us' (2018)

Filmmaker Brian Metcalf wrote, directed, produced and DP'd his found footage vampire tale 'Living Among Us' (2018). In one of the late actor John Heard's last performances, this horror/sci-fi flick follows some documentarians as they make an ethnological study on vampires living among mortals. Produced by Brian's Red Compass Media production company, Vision Films is handling international sales and US distribution in association with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Coming to theaters on February 2nd, 2018.

In a recent interview about his experience making this film, here is what Brian had to say:


Why do you think vampire tales/myths live so strongly in the human collective psyche?

BRIAN: I think there is a very strong fascination with vampire tales/myths with the public today. Some may see vampires as these seductive and elegant creatures and others may see them as these hideous monsters. Perhaps some see them as alienated and misunderstood creatures that they can relate to with their own lives or past childhoods. Some women I have spoken to see them as the bad boy types that they find attractive. I could psychoanalyze this topic for hours.


Do you really think vampires live among us?

BRIAN: While I don't necessarily believe there are vampires in the Hollywood sense, I believe there might be some derivitive of them. It seems a lot of the myths are based off of a real disease called Porphyria (The Vampire's Disease) where people had a genetic disorder that caused skin burns to sunlight exposure, gums receding which gave the appearance of fangs and blood drinking would help relieve pain and symptoms. Famous people in the past who had this disease were King George III and Mary Queen of Scots.


How did you go about the casting process? And was John Heard great to work with?

BRIAN: The casting process involved the help of a casting director as well as reaching out to name talent ourselves. It involved having some of the cast read for parts and others being filmed to see how they looked on camera. John Heard was great to work with. Unfortunately, he passed away 3 days after doing final ADR with us. He had this amazing ability to say his lines so comfortably and naturally.


Do you have any anecdotes of events that took place when filming?

BRIAN: I remember that one of our leads had makeup done that made him look grotesque due to sun exposure. He decided to leave during break to run to the bank and had quite a few stares from people. I also remember us filming a scene at this house location we had rented where a group of stoners living in the house were to be killed. The neighbors got frightened because of all the screaming going on within the house.


How has the film been received at film festivals and markets?

BRIAN: It has been very well received in the film festivals and markets. We are being distributed theatrically and on VOD in the US through Vision Films and in association with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment which is distributing us on DVD in the US. We recently won an award at the South African Film Festival and have just been selected at the very prestigious Fantasporto Film Festival in Porto, Portugal, which is considered one of the top 25 film festivals in the world by Variety. We have also just won the Round Two of a bi-monthly film contest from Magic of Horror and we have just been asked to premiere opening night of the Silver Scream Film Fest coming up. I want to put out a special thank you to Bruno Chatelin who has a wealth of knowledge and has been helpful with advising me on the film festival circuit.


What are your favorite and most inspiring vampire films ever made?

BRIAN: There are many vampire films that have been very inspirational. Films such as Let The Right One In, Interview with the Vampire, Near Dark to Fright Night - all great films. But what I didn't want to do was copy off of them so I wanted to subvert the myth a little bit. While they still have some of the same trappings as other vampire films, I based these vampires more on the real disease, Porphyria, to a degree. I also wanted to take a different filmmaking approach than these other films - almost deciding to go somewhat of a French New Wave approach that always makes you aware of the filmmaking process with this film.


You wrote, directed, produced, acted, DP'd the film. Do you think one has to wear many hats these days to make an indie film?

BRIAN: I think that in order to properly tell your vision, it might be very important to wear all these hats not to mention the limited budget you may have to work with. Also, nobody will truly care about your film as much as you do when it comes to working on it. Attention to detail is extremely important. At the same time, it is important to find like-minded people who are willing to take this journey with you as filmmaking is very much a collaborative process.


You've been directing for some time. How did you get your foot into the industry? 

BRIAN: I started out as a visual effects artist to later becoming creative director. Having had the chance to work with some really great names out there, I later moved on to directing commercials, music videos and then my first short film which led to my first feature. But on top of getting my foot into the door, it has also been about trying to constantly learn to hone my skills as a writer, director, producer and actor which has involved multiple classes, speaking with seasoned veterans and watching a huge variety of films.


Congrats on Vision Films distribution. How has it been to partner with them in selling the film?

BRIAN: Vision Films has been absolutely wonderful to work with. Lise Romanoff, the founder, has been very helpful and shares the same vision (no pun intended) that I do in terms of where we see this film going. Her and her team have all be great and inspirational. 


What will you be working on next?

BRIAN: I have several projects I am working on. I am helping to produce a documentary about peace activist Ghiath Matar called Little Gandhi that is being considered for an Oscar. I also have a neo-noir crime-drama film that I am in the process of writing and another project called Strange Ones that I plan to wrap up by next year.

Link to the official site:


Interview by Vanessa McMahon