Breaking away from traditional storytelling formats is Intruders, screening as part of Short Cuts Canada Programme 5 at TIFF 2014. It is a suspenseful sequence overlaid by stylistic cinematography, director Santiago Menghini recently spoke with Toronto Film Scene about some of the special equipment and effects used in the making of this film.

Describe your film in 10 words or less.

Intruders is a horror thriller focusing on supernatural hauntings.

What inspired you to make this film?

The film was inspired by two underground horror comics, one by Al Columbia and the other by Uno Moralez. I was initially inspired by the austere design of Al Columbia’s 5:45 A.M. which offered an opportunity to create a unique atmosphere. I soon discovered Uno Moralez’s work and was floored by the power of his illustrations. I decided to unite the comics and create three short chapters that were united by sinister forces.

What was the best thing about production? Most frustrating?

One of the best moments during the production of the film was coordinating a climactic sequence between two parallel buildings while on the 17th floor. The buildings were over 300 meters apart, requiring us to use a 600mm lens. Having to direct the actors from a huge distance was exciting and fun.
One of the most frustrating moments happened on the last day of shooting. We were filming an important shot when it started to snow. The result was beautiful so we chose to seize the moment and kept filming. Unfortunately the storm quickly passed. This forced us to consider re-shooting but we decided instead to recreate the snow during post-production. The work was a time consuming endeavor but the result was well worth it.

What’s the one thing you want people to know about your film?

That the film is intended to be a cinematic experience. It does not have a clear storyline but instead focuses on creating mysterious moods and tones. The film was designed to have an unusual structure that progresses in stages, each chapter dedicated to a different experience. It starts with a sense of curiosity, followed by suspense, and sustained tension.

What do you think it is about the unseen, or almost visible, that is so frightening? Why did you go with an intangible entity as the representation of death/evil?

In my mind the unseen leads to a sense of wonder. The wonder of the unknown. The unknown is naturally frightening because it reveals our lack of control and exposes our helplessness. It also incites our curiosity. We are attracted to its mysteries and get caught up in an uneasy tension of fear.
Intruders utilizes an intangible entity as the representation of evil as a means to push the audience to expose themselves. We don’t want to give you all the facts, the less you know the more sinister things appear. We become attracted by the creepy curious horror that we are exposed to which translates to suspense and tension in the film. If the force seems unstoppable and undefinable the scarier it becomes, the closer it is to the pure wonder of the unknown.

Your film is screening as part of TIFF — what are you most excited about seeing or doing at this year’s festival?

I am excited to attend the conferences, to meet other filmmakers, and most importantly, to see great films.

Intruders screens as part of Short Cuts Canada Programme 5 at TIFF 2014. Check their website for more information.