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Mathieu Ratthe Talks w/411 About New Film The Gracefield Incident

July 13, 2017 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The B-Movie Interview: Mathieu Ratthe

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Mathieu Ratthe is an independent filmmaker who has been making movies since he was ten years old. Since 2008, he’s made several short films, including the Stephen King/Peter Straub adaptation The Talisman. Ratthe’s latest effort, a sci-fi horror flick called The Gracefield Incident, is his first feature length film and is set to hit select theaters and Video On Demand on July 21st. In this interview, Ratthe talks with this writer about what it took to get his vision up on the screen.

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Bryan Kristopowitz: Where did the idea for The Gracefield Incident come from?

Mathieu Ratthe: First of all, thank you for your interest in our film. I wanted to create a suspenseful story that scared the crap out of the audience but also that made them emotionally involved, which is really tough to do in this kind of movie, but I think we achieved it pretty well in our film.

The conceptual idea (or I like to call it the “technique”) came after I realized how many days I was given to shoot the film with the budget that I had. I didn’t want it to be a typical “found footage technique” movie, so this is how I came up with the cellphone camera integrated into a prosthetic eye. I thought it would be really interesting for the audience to follow a subjective POV and be able to live this suspenseful story in the eye of the main character.

BK: Did you always intend to star and direct The Gracefield Incident?

MR: I shot this film in 13 days and the only possible way to be able to do so, with all the set up required for our story, was to operate my own camera as I was acting at the same time in it. It was the only way to make this film in such a short period of time.

BK: Was The Gracefield Incident always intended to be a first person/”found footage” type movie, or is that something you sort of decided later on?

MR: I think the answer is above.

BK: Was the PG-13 rating something you shot for when making The Gracefield Incident or is it something that basically happened?

MR: I did, actually. I even thought about it when I was writing the film. I think it’s important to know who you’re making your movie for, who’s your audience that you’re trying to reach and, in this case, the majority of the target audience of this genre is teens.

BK: How did you achieve the “missing eye” effect at the beginning of the movie?

MR: Rodeo FX and Oblique FX in Montreal made all of the visual effects for the film. They are the best in the business. I could not have made this film without them.

BK: People always seem to say that it’s best to never show the monster when making a monster movie. You seem to ignore that in The Gracefield Incident. Is that because you don’t really believe in that idea or was it simply the best way to tell your story?

MR: I didn’t show the “monsters” fully before ¾ of the movie. I think it’s important to catch a glimpse of it to build up your suspense as the audience goes through the adventure you’re bringing them on.

BK: Where did the monster design come from? How long did it take to design the monster?

MR: I worked with such a talented concept designer based in Vancouver named Brian Cunningham. Brian and I took a few weeks to come up with the concept of the aliens.

BK: How long did it take to make The Gracefield Incident, from writing the script and getting your money to finishing the movie?

MR: Five years from the first letter on paper to the screen.

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BK: How long have you been waiting for an official release for The Gracefield Incident?

MR: I’ve been working around the clock for five years. I produced, directed, wrote, edited, and put the financing together, so I’ve been doing a lot on my own with not a lot of money to be able to make this film. I think that’s what independent filmmaking is all about.

BK: What are the challenges of making a first person/found footage movie that moviegoers don’t quite understand? And what was the difference between making your short films and making your first feature film, The Gracefield Incident?

MR: I think because of the subjective technique we used to tell The Gracefield Incident, my thinking had to be completely different, more linear I would say. I shot the movie 100% with a camera on my shoulder at the same time I was acting. Only from one POV. It was a real challenge for me, because since I started making films at 10 years old, I’m used to setting up different camera angles to build up suspense and emotion, and edit the film through different perspectives depending on how I want to have the audience emote, which in this case was impossible because of the one subjective POV, but very effective for this film.

BK: Who are your moviemaking heroes?

MR: Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg.

BK: Any new projects you can tell us about?

MR: I won’t reveal anything on my next project at the moment, as I like to keep the suspense, but I would suggest you like my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MathieuRatthe and more news will come soon.

BK: Are aliens real?

MR: Of course.

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I want to thank Mathieu Ratthe for agreeing to participate in this interview and for Tatum Wan for helping set it up.

You can check out the Facebook page for The Gracefield Incident here.

You can check out the Twitter page for The Gracefield Incident here.

You can check out Mathieu Ratthe’s Facebook page here.

You can check out Mathieu Ratthe’s YouTube page here

All images courtesy of The Gracefield Incident Facebook page.

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