Impulse Gamer Interviews Julian Harvey (The Tunnel) - -

Julian Harvey (The Tunnel) Interview

Julian Harvey, co-writer/producer (left) & Enzo Tedeschi, co-writer/producer (right)

Can you tell our readers a little about yourselves? 

Enzo and I met around 10 years ago when we were working as editors at Channel 9. Since then we have both worked as producers and editors on lots of TV, Documentaries and short drama. We've also always been into genre films. So after years of talking about them we eventually made the decision to take the skills and networks of people we had built and make one - The Tunnel was born.

Who are your inspirations?

Wow - that'd  be a massive list of people and films. If you're talking about The Tunnel we looked at a lot of the old school horror films - we both like the 'less is more' idea and the tension that a lot of them create. We're talking movies like Ridley Scotts' "Alien" and Kubriks "The Shining". We also drew inspiration from more recent films like Blair witch, REC, The Descent and District 9, as well as some more unusual places like the documentaries: Touching the Void and Grizzly man.

How did you come up with the idea "The Tunnel"? 

We actually started with the characters in the journalism crew. At first we were going to set it in the outback - in one of the old mining ghost towns that litter the Aussie countryside. It was some time later that we decided to move the story into the city because there was something very cool about being so close to so many people but so far from help. 

Have you ever explored the tunnels underneath Sydney?  

Both Enzo and I had been into the various tunnels that criss-cross Sydney at some time in the past. In particular Enzo had done a tour of the rail tunnels under the CBD so we relied on that experience a lot throughout the writing phase. Then when it came time to make the movie I spent several months scouting a whole bunch of locations all around town.

Are you scared of the dark? 

Not usually - but when your deep underground, alone, and your torch starts to run out batteries your mind can definitely play tricks on you.

Bel Deliá as Natasha in a traumatic scene from The Tunnel

How do you choose Bel Delia, Andy Rodoreda, Steve Davis, Luke Arnold and Goran D. Kleut to star in this mock documentary? 

We got Bel and Andy on board very early - when we shot the very first teaser for the film in 2008, and we always felt they were great for the parts. From there the next challenge was to find the cameraman - because of the logistics of how the scenes play out and the tight budget we needed someone who could act and film at the same time. That is why we started chatting to various TV cameramen we knew. From the very first audition Steve blew all of us away. Luke, Goran and others like James Caitlin were then about getting the right people for the dynamic that was being created by the main three actors. 

Which actor do you think stole the role in the movie?

I think all of them did an absolutely amazing job and I think they all have a moment where they really own a scene in the movie. Obviously you expect (or hope for) that from really talented and professional actors like Bel and Andy. Steve, having never acted before, was the real surprise packet for all of us. 

Whose idea was the 135k Project?

The idea for 135K was born at a Korean restaurant in Glebe. Myself, Enzo and my fiancé Shan were sitting down chatting about Star wars frames and the idea of people buying cinema memorabilia when the light bulb moment happened. From there it was months of research and refining to turn that into the 135K Project. 

How many people think that "The Tunnel" is real? 

Even though we make no attempts to hide the fact it is a movie it seems quite a few people aren't sure if the story is real or not after seeing it. That's actually really satisfying because, while we didn't want to copy The Blair Witch Project and convince everybody it was all real, we did want the movie to feel 100% believable and blur the lines of reality and fiction. That is why we incorporated a lot of real locations and Sydneys' history into our story. So for people to watch it and be sucked that far into the world we created means we got that part right.

What was your greatest difficulty in filming The Tunnel?

As with any indy film it comes down to two simple things - time and money. You never have enough of either and that always creates loads of stress and problems. But that is what you sign up for when you take the gig.

Bel Deliá as news reporter Natasha in a faux interview

How long did it take to put this film together? 

We actually started the writing process way back in 2007 when we were throwing around ideas for a low budget movie. The whole project really ramped up in late 2009 when we started getting partners, like Zapruders other films and DLSHS, on board. The last 18 months have been non-stop.

BitTorrent is generally used by people wanting free illegal software and movies, what drove you to release the film on BitTorrent? 

We decided from the beginning that if we were asking people to help fund the movie then it wouldn't be fair exchange to then ask them to pay to watch it too - so we always wanted to do some kind of free online release. What a lot of people also seem to overlook is the size of the audience that use p2p networks - it's huge. As filmmakers that is one of the main reasons you make a film to get an audience to watch your story.

With Transmission/Paramount onboard for the commercial release of the DVD, have you been approached to make a sequel?

It's actually been our fans who have been asking about a sequel the most. It is something we have given a fair bit of thought to. Even when we were writing this one we always saw the potential for several other story lines coming out of the world of The Tunnel. But we'll see how the next couple of months pan out before we make that decision. 

For those that have never seen the film, what recommendation could you make about The Tunnel to them? 

If you like tense, claustrophobic horror/ thrillers then we feel this is worth investing 90 minutes in. We've had a lot of diehard horror fans saying they normally don't jump during movies anymore but there were a couple of points in The Tunnel that definitely got to them. 

Steve Davis as cameraman Steve

With more awards than you can poke a stick at, what was your favourite accolade?

It's always nice to pick up a 'best film' award - particularly at a horror film festival where you up against a bunch of other great genre films. The other accolade that sticks out in my mind is the AIMIA award we won earlier this year. We were up against some really big corporations with massive budget projects and we managed to sneak a win. It was a really nice to have all the hard work that DLSHS, Enzo and I put into that side get recognised. It's often a forgotten part of a project. 

Now that you have basically humbled Hollywood by your production, what is your next project? 

We are working on a few new things at the moment. There is one more traditional film our director, Carlo, has been writing that we are working on. We also found the experience of making The Tunnel amazing so we really would like to be able to do another project like this. But it is all about getting the right idea that will work for this style of production - we have a couple we are developing and excited by. We will just have to see which one of those comes out on top. 

Any advice to budding film makers? 

If you have done your planning and truly believe in your story just get out there and do it. It's really easy to listen to all the people who say "no." 



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