Russell Emanuel (EXCLUSIVE) Interview INDIE PRODUCER OF THE YEAR 2024

2024 June 24

Russell Emanuel (EXCLUSIVE) Interview INDIE PRODUCER OF THE YEAR 2024

-What has been the greatest difficulty you faced in producing your project?

When the late Emile Haris (who was my filmmaking partner for 20 years) and I began making the short concept film Routine (with the feature film sequel Staycation in mind), we had to begin to think how to raise the monies for such a feature film. We began with investing in a camera package, and then reaching out to investors who were receptive to our previous five feature films (P.J, Chasing the Green, The Legends of Nethiah, Occupants, American Wisper). We also devised an Indiegogo campaign to get additional monies and were fortunate to raise around 200% of our goal. But the main difficulty was we filmed Routine in April 2020 at the height of Covid and it was only one actress (the great Paige Laree Poucel), myself as producer/director, and the late Emile Haris (who was the cinematographer, editor and writer – he would go on to do the same for Staycation). Once we filmed and completed Routine (with the help of wonderful voice actors Bill Victor Arucan and Alan Courtright), around the Summer 2020, it convinced the investors to go onto doing the feature film Staycation, which we began filming in November 2020 with name actors such as Olivia d’Abo, Sean Kenney, Tracee Cocco, Laurene Landon, Kelli Maroney, Eileen Dietz, and because of the Covid restrictions, we had to film piecemeal until November 2022. We also brought back the original three wonderful Routine actors (Paige, Bill Victor, Alan), tying Routine closer to Staycation. Then Emile Haris passed away unexpectedly in July 2023, and it set the film back a couple more months as he was working on the visual effects and had the master files, as I then had to pick up the pieces and find a new visual effects artist and editor (Brian Barsuglia). Currently, it is in the final sound design stage with our sound mixer Sean Fahimian and is around 2 months away from completion. It’s taken 4 years and over 100 cast and crew members to make Staycation a reality and I will never forget each and everyone person who helped complete this lengthy journey.

-Do you think the film industry today has been damaged by political correctness?

I think in some ways yes because one element of storytelling is to tell your story but if you are politically correct, you cannot always say what you want. In other ways, I totally understand the need for balance.

-What was the greatest source of inspiration for creating your project?

I think it was the Covid pandemic and all the trials and tribulations that came with it. In fact, both Routine and Staycation are about a global pandemic and how the world deals with it, but in a more horror genre-based way.

-If you could ask a question to a great director from the past, who would you like to talk to and what would you ask them?

What was their own inspirations for making their wonderful pieces of art.

-What do you think of the Wild Filmmaker platform?

I love it and thank you for having me throughout the years.