I got a few minutes to talk on the phone with director Jeff Renfroe about his film The Colony. This new sci fi horror film was released in limited cities and on demand yesterday and so far the reviews seem somewhat positive. The Colony has a phenomenal cast including Laurence Fishburne, Bill Paxton and Kevin Zegers. I was able to ask Jeff how it was working in those conditions and with that type of talent. My official review for The Colony can be found at here. Also here is the official synopsis followed by my interview.
Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), Bill Paxton (Aliens) and Kevin Zegers (Mortal Instruments), headline an all-star cast in this savage and unrelenting thriller about mankind's greatest enemy: himself. As an endless winter engulfs Earth, humans struggle to survive in remote underground outposts. When Colony 7 receives a distress call from a nearby settlement, Sam (Zegers) and Briggs (Fishburne) race through the snow on a dangerous rescue mission. What they find at the desolate base could mean mankind’s salvation—or its total annihilation.
Jeff thanks for your time in conducting this interview!
How important do you feel it is to grab moviegoers attention in the first frame?
It’s funny as I was growing up I was a huge science fiction fan movie fan and I always thought the first shot of the movie will show how good it is. You want to create a crystallized image and be aware of that first scene scene. Absolutely you have to grab audiences attention. You need to.
Where was The Colony shot and how difficult was it working in those conditions?
We were heading in thinking that we were going to create this big snow movie. We are Canadian good hardy people and are able to shoot this type of film, but that didn't really happen. We ended up filming in an airport hanger and shoveled real snow in and used a green screen. There are rough conditions in North Bay Ontario. So mostly everything was computer generated. We had a small crew break away for some outside shots but most was done in post creation.
When creating another almost fantasy like existence like the one in The Colony are you taking that straight from the writer or is that coming from someplace else?
As a fan of the genre of films like “The Thing” you can say that after watching The Colony. Growing up as a part of this culture its part of your vernacular. The original script was small so we expanded on it and we wanted a bigger budget to make this huge movie. We wanted to create an experience for the audience to make them feel like they were there. We all don't get to travel to Antarctica.
There is an amazing cast The Colony with names like Fishburne, Paxton, and Zegers. How was it working with them?
They were all great. I feel like we were blessed to get that cast. Fishburne is a pro and added the sensibility to role of Briggs that it deserved. Bill Paxton was awesome. He really challenged me but he was great. He is a director too so I learned a lot from him and he respected my decisions. Kevin I had my eyes on for a while. It’s tough to find people that can hold out on all the hero stuff and let the role come to them. He was great to work with.
My final question is why do you think there is a current trend of cannibalism in horror where as in the past films like Cannibal Holocaust were banned?
I don’t really know. I think audiences and artists keep pushing the boundaries. Cannibals to me are both cool and frightening. Unlike supernatural monsters cannibal are simple clear cut. The scary thing is you can imagine being a cannibal more than any other monsters. Its inevitable that with any end of the world scenario we could all starve and resort to cannibalism. I think that’s why it works in films today.
I would like like to thank Jeff Renfroe once again for his time. The Colony is now available on demand and in select cities. I hope you get chance to see The Colony as its a great sci fi horror in the vein of films mentioned in this interview. For more information on The Colony visit their official website and Facebook pages here: