Free Range | An interview with Lindsei Barros
An interview by | Debopam Deb Roy
A woman visiting a town to look at a house that is up for sale learns a lot more about the place and its people than she thought she would.
RSTMP: Free Range can be identified as the work of an experienced filmmaker as it is extremely intimidating. What, according to you, is the most important quality of a filmmaker?
Lindsei: The ability of telling a story in a way you haven’t imagined before. Which is a hard task, because imagination is infinite and boundless. In Free Range for example, I wanted to tell the story in a way that people’s expectations were defied. (SPOILERS AHEAD) When she’s about to slaughter the victim I didn’t want to show any blood or typical spilling drops in the face type of action. I wanted it to be delicate and let the viewer imagine the scene however they wanted.
RSTMP: How do you manage a situation when an actor(s) is being unprofessional? Do you go for a more personal approach?
Lindsei: I believe having a personal connection, establishing mutual understanding with the actors makes the work and chemistry more palatable. But sometimes you can come across someone who’s not aligned and that’s fine. The job of a director is to learn how to motivate and help the actor to navigate their emotions. Most of their frustrations has to do with personal insecurities and trauma than it the scene.
RSTMP: We see in most cases a project goes terribly wrong when not scheduled properly. What are your methods to ensure that a production is always on schedule?
Lindsei: Being always on schedule at the time of shoot? I think this is a myth. You’ll go over. My suggestion is to keep the vision and the plan aligned with everyone always – so the whole team is pushing for it together. Everyone needs to be aware of it.
RSTMP: Each and every actor did a commendable job in their role play. Especially, Isabel, played by Andreina Carvo, whom we see as a woman who likes to keep fit and take care of her body. She seems to be quite cheerful and friendly in contrast to what she does professionally. How challenging was it to manage her role on screen?
Lindsei: Andreina Carvo is a delight to work with and she’s a very well-versed experienced actress from Venezuela. She knows what she’s doing. The objective with Isabel was to “play an innocent persona” to allure people in so she can do what she does best. We spoke for months in order to build the character, and Andreina takes direction and memorizes mannerisms like no other. The contrast of showcasing her taking care of her body, analysing her beauty to then showing up as a “grandma” was on purpose. It makes you think how many people we come across that look bland at first glance. We never know who they really are.
RSTMP: In a few scenes, the camera cuts before the action is complete. It is only through a layered sound track do we get to associate with what is happening beyond the frame. According to you, how important role does editing play while making a film?
Lindsei: Editing is basically rewriting the film all over again. The scenes were cut on purpose, to let space for the imagination and sound design to shine.
RSTMP: Free Range is a film on cannibalism. What inspired you to make a film on the mentioned theme or what was your motivation behind it?
Lindsei: It’s a film on cannibalism as much as it is a film on evolution. The premise was to make people think – what if there are folks like the ones from Albertsdale? Who believe eating human meat makes you stronger? The inspiration came from the hardcore and obscure cults we see ingrained in small towns across the country. The only difference the one in this film has a distinct diet.
RSTMP: Did you attend a film school or study film at any university?
Lindsei: I did not.
RSTMP: The film has some intriguing cinematography by Andrew Nguyen and Joao Cueto. Have you worked with them before?
Lindsei: First time working with them – amazingly talented people. Please go check their work, both Andrew and Joao also direct.
RSTMP: What is your favourite genre? Have you made any other film(s) that can be classified under the same?
Lindsei: I like everything to be honest but I am more inclined to thriller and drama. My first short was called “Home” – the story of a woman who’s trapped inside her own house. I am a strong believer that Thrillers/Horror has the power to not only make you scared – people love the scares – but they teach you a lesson. They make you think and because of the highly conceptual and often time gory scenes, they stick with you. Everyone remembers it even years later.
RSTMP: The soundscape used in the film is quite interesting. Tell us more about what drove you to introduce such dynamic soundtracks to heighten the aesthetics of the genre.
Lindsei: The sound design plays an enormous part in this short, mostly because we needed to allude to the fact that the city was packed with toads. The tricky part is – we don’t show any toads at all – again when you’re dealing with limited budget, (I only had 4k to shoot this film), you’re forced to be creative. And that’s the magic of filmmaking in my opinion.
RSTMP: The town of Albertsdale is portrayed as a gloomy and eerie landscape throughout, that further compliments the narrative. Is there any particular reason behind choosing the location for the film?
Lindsei: The city if fictitious – we shot the film upstate New York, in a city called Newburg. The eerie landscape is portrayed by sound design and color grading. In real life, the city is pretty cheerful itself!
RSTMP: Are you currently working on any project? If not, tell us something about your next film.
Lindsei: I am finishing another short (with Andreina) that portrays a woman living with anxiety, and how it lies to us the entire time. Currently on post production. Thanks for these amazing questions! I hope you all have a chance to watch Free Range.
Debopam Deb Roy, a post graduate with a degree in Film Studies, French Language (DELF A2) from Alliance Française du Bengale working as a Content Writer at Human Lab Corporation with an interest in writing and watching films.