Restoration: An interview with Christian Ackerman
I have quite the treat for you. As you know, my Midnight Society pals and I ingest horror in a multitude of different ways. We read it, we write it, we play it, listen to it, draw it, design it, and we watch it. We watch a lot of it.
Which is why I’m so, SO excited that Christian Ackerman is joining us on the blog today. You may know him from his newest release, RESTORATION, which he acted as both associate producer AND a medic.
I could spend the next few paragraphs telling you all about Christian, or I could let the interview below tell you the tale….
- What inspired you to get into the film industry? Is it somewhere you always wanted to end up?
I grew up loving films and eventually fell into a love affair with horror after watching Dream Warriors. I don’t know the turning point for me, but I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker sometime in my early teens. Since I didn’t grow up in LA and only had VHS, my film school before college was studying everything there was about Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I had the film, soundtrack, script, original book and the behind the scenes book. I learned a lot from that and it strengthened my passion for filmmaking.
- In your newest release, RESTORATION, you have a small cameo as a medic and you’re also the associate producer. You’re also a director, editor, writer, etc. Out of all the hats you wear, which is your favorite and why?
I don’t consider myself an actor in any way, but I decided to say yes when Zack asked because it was about time I overcame my distaste for being in front of a camera. Off-screen, I love directing the most. I’d say that basically all directors are control freaks, so being the main decision maker on all things creative is exhilarating. Then seeing how your decisions affect an audience is even better. I’m also loving producing the more I do it.
- For those of us unfamiliar with the daily life of a producer, could you walk us through your average day while in production?
Well, a film producer can span many duties. While shooting, most of your work has been done beforehand, so you’re mainly dealing with the day to day issues that arise, whether they be catering to the needs of your cast and crew, dealing with vendors, stroking egos to keep peace, doing last minute contract negotiations, and keeping the budget in order. The main job of the producer is to get the film made on time, under budget and in the vision of the director hired, to make your investors happy with a successful product.
- What’s your favorite scene in RESTORATION?
My scene! Ha! Only kidding. I really enjoyed the scenes between our leads Emily Roya O’Brien and Adrian Gaeta. Zack and James wrote some fantastic domestic scenes for them to really shine in.
- One of your next films, DEATH HOUSE, is jam-packed with some of my favorite horror actors. Were you star struck when you met any of them? If not, who would you cause you to freak out upon meeting?
I was totally excited about everyone! Every day, it was exciting to figure out who would be in and which dressing room we’d put them in. I’m a horror guy, but believe it or not, the person I was most excited about meeting was Lindsay Hartley, who had never been in a horror film before. In the early 2000’s, I used to work at NBC and every day at lunch I’d watch her in this insane supernatural soap called Passions. I’ve seen the horror stars in person on set or at conventions, so seeing Lindsay involved was a nice surprise. On her last day, we were chatting during lunch with my partner Felissa Rose and then Vernon Wells and Sid Haig sat at our table. Those two proceeded to tell crazy stories about shooting 70’s exploitation films in the Phillipines. We all just sat there and quietly listened. It was so cool!
- Aside from the films you worked on, which is your favorite horror movie of all time?
The original Carnival of Souls. I love movies about lost women and lost souls struggling to find their place on Earth.
- From the looks of your twitter profile, you always have something on the go. What holds your attention outside of the film industry?
Wait, there is a world outside the film industry?! I enjoy concert going, camping, traveling, photography, random adventures with friends. This sounds like my old dating profile!
I plan on recording an album with my friend Richard Trejo this summer since I haven’t made music in a long time. I’m spinning vinyl at a bar for the first time soon. I’m starting an event this summer that I hope can be ongoing, but I don’t wanna say what it is till it’s set. I’ll be sure to let you know when it does. I also like chasing girls, but they can get you into trouble, so I’ve been steering clear this year, ha ha! As for hobbies, I always feel like I don’t have very many of them. At this very moment, I finally have an answer. Doing so many different things on projects, I’m always learning something new to apply in my home life, especially when I’m art directing. Maybe that’s just an excuse for me not trying surfing. That, and I would die.
- I was so impressed with the 2JENNIFER trailer and the fact that is was shot entirely with an iPhone 6. What made you guys decide to take that route?
The original film, To Jennifer, was shot on the iPhone by James Cullen Bressack. It was the natural route to take, along with the cost effectiveness and speed that director Hunter Johnson needed to get his first feature done. We shot it in 8 days and the edit was done within weeks. It was a fast film because most of the scenes were shot in whole takes.
- What’s your go-to soundtrack to spark your creativity?
It depends on the scene I’m writing. If it’s a comedic or party scene, I put on some old school funk. If it’s a dark scene, I throw on some metal or horror soundtracks, especially Goblin. If it’s something really fucked up, then I play a Swedish band called Brainbombs. Their music is like entering the mind of a sadistic serial killer. Puts me in my happy place! Ha!! If it’s a romantic scene-fuck that, who wants to see that crap! Ha ha!
- What upcoming horror films are you excited about (that you’re not involved in).
Shit, I’ve barely watched any new trailers! I’m still trying to catch up with what’s already come out this year! You should be the one recommending to me! Over the past two years, I judged the FilmQuest film festival and many of those films haven’t come out yet. So at least I’m seeing something new! Oh, my friend Ricky Bates has a new film coming out sometime this year called Trash Fire. His films are very unique to his voice, which makes him a glorious weirdo.
- When is your next film coming out?
2 Jennifer comes out in the late summer and Bethany should follow it in the early fall.
You can find Christian at:
Twitter & Instagram: ackronomicon
You can check out his shorts at:
To see my shorts:
Thank you so much, Christian!! It’s been a true pleasure.