A Chat with Johnny Kevorkian, Director of AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS
At this years’ Grimmfest I had the chance to sit down with director Johnny Kevorkian and actor Grant Masters. The three of us had the chance to discuss Kevorkian and Masters’ new movie Await Further Instructions, audience reactions to the film, and Brexit.
How is the festival for you so far?
Johnny Kevorkian: It’s good! We got in about 9pm last night and I am leaving today. But it’s a really nice festival –– the people are great and it is lots of fun.
Were you in the audience when the film was being shown?
Kevorkian: Yes, I came in just at the end and then stayed for the Q&A. It’s a really nice cinema too.
Everyone in there seemed to enjoy the film and be having a really good time.
Kevorkian: Yeah, it is a nice crowd and there was a good response at the end. They are a proper genre crowd which is good, as that’s what we want.
The film is based around the toxic relationships of a family at Christmas. How did you come up with the conflicting dynamics of the characters, or is it more of a social commentary?
Kevorkian: I think it is more down to the actors than anything. Obviously you have it down on the page, and the key really is that it has to feel like a real family, and that is down to the actors.
Grant Masters: You get that when the son first arrives. You can sense the bond between the mother and the son.
Kevorkian: It’s the moments of not saying anything that really say a lot in the film.
So it’s not just the dynamics of the family, but the fact that they are trapped by something unknown. How difficult was it to recreate the claustrophobic energy of being trapped?
Masters: I think it was something that we were aware of from the beginning. Johnny said that he wanted it to feel like a pressure cooker with you all trapped in here. We kind of got that from the script anyway, but because they were nice and small sets, it did feel abit like that anyway. So you are constantly aware as an actor there is this sense of closure.
Many people have said the film is a narrative on post-brexit Britain, but obviously it was filmed before the vote…
Kevorkian: Yeah I was going to say, it never started as that. It'’s more of a commentary on families and also race, as these things do happen, but Brexit was the future. So it was going to come up, but nobody thought Brexit was going to happen. But timing wise it has helped us –– in a way, if it hadn’t happened maybe people wouldn’t have liked it so much, or maybe they would. But the timing of these things is something you definitely can't account for. When we were shooting ,Cameron was talking about immigrants, but that was there but the script was written before. It one of those things which is a foreshadowing of an event.
Did you draw any experience from your own experiences with family for the film or was it purely artistic licence?
Kevorkian: For me I think, as I am from an immigrant family, even though I didn't write the script there is some connection with race there. So it was good to be able to put myself in the shoes of the outsider coming in but like in the film, you cant choose your relatives.
How does it feel to be receiving all the plaudits for the film
Kevorkian: It’s really good, touch wood, we haven’t had any bad reviews yet. Yesterday the New York Times gave us a fantastic review and put it on the critics list and that is phenomenal. That was the cherry on the cake for us, because in North America it’s doing really well because of the whole Trumpism — like Brexit here.
Masters: In America when the film is being shown they are whooping and cheering.
Kevorkian: I think if Grant was there they would have ended up lynching him, and it's great that people have found something personal to identify with. Whether it is the Trump thing or the Brexit thing, for me that is success as people are responding. The trouble with many films now is you walk away and don't think about it, where with this film they are thinking about it.
Have you got any other projects coming up?
Kevorkian: I have but nothing I can talk about, as when I do they don't happen. [Laughs] There are a fair few projects — it's great to get back into something as there was quite a big gap between this and my last film.
Await Further Instructions is released in Cinemas and on Premium Video on Demand from 7th December 2018 and you can follow them on social media here Social Media: