FRANCIS HAN INTERVIEW, DIRECTOR OF '503'
3-TIME NOMINEE BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY, BEST HORROR, + BEST YOUNG FILMMAKER
We couldn't be more thrilled and fascinated to render this written interview with one of the most prolific and exciting emerging film directors in the independent circuit in this moment in time, Francis Han; Zhejiang China-born, now graduating from the prestigious Ringling College of Art & Design in the States. 503 exhibits psychological hysteria in a disturbing and pulsating game of cat and mouse, and through this exquisite canvas a subconscious thematic exploration into trans-generational trauma and tensions. An independent film that embellishes the Aronofskian strokes of onscreen interiority and mental subjectivity of Black Swan (2010) as well as the expressionist cinematographic strokes that have marked a genre, but more so, iconic texts such as Nosferatu (1922) and The Shining (1980). Without further ado...
... Francis, tell us, why do you make films?
When I was a high school student, I wrote and directed my first short film Broken Again which was a two-minute black and white silent film. Then I fell in love with filmmaking and film became a part of my life. I love to record motion pictures to tell a story. That is why I went to film school and made films.
Could you discuss the themes or messages that you hope to convey through your film?
Yes. 503 is about the elder seller’s revenge. Sam‘s negative attitude and absurd lifestyle lead him into a state of fear and force him to suffer the consequences. On the other hand, 503 is a realistic movie, which explains how fear comes from oneself, and how the devil always targets those people who have done terrible things like increasing the rent for no reason.
What was your favorite moment or scene to shoot in the film?
My favorite one is the flea market scene when Sam negotiated with the elder seller and stole the 503 disc. This is the beginning of the story, it presents many details to push the story forward. And there are many great moments, like Sam pointing to the sky, Sam stealing the disc, and the elder seller smiling. Thanks to my actors Patrick Burkard and George Ross Bridgman, their excellent performance uplifted this fancy scene.
How did you come up with the concept for your film?
I was an older game lover, and I always wanted to integrate film and video games visually. Then, a withdrawn, self-destructive young male character Sam was born in my brain. With Sam as the main character, I completed a Noir style script 503.
Could you discuss the process of writing the script and any challenges you faced in the process?
I spent almost one year completing and modifying my script. There were two scenes I spent a lot of time to consider. First is the ending. What kind of an ending does Sam come to? Will he succeed in escaping or be swallowed up? Finally, I decided to put an open end, which is more suitable for horror movies. Another part is the video game. What is the game 503 about? I asked my game designer friend