How do you get a ghost to stop haunting you? You bring it back to life.
This is the concept that started it all for Daniel Delpurgatorio and Anthony Williams. These Chicago-based filmmakers entered their idea into Clive Barker‘s “Real Fear” horror film challenge for Project Greenlight and Shudder amongst 1000 other pitches and were informed on Wednesday that they have been chosen to produce their film with Clive Barker’s help… and a $300,000 budget!
Delpurgatorio and Williams, who both happen to be fellow “World of Death” filmmakers, are also close friends of mine so I immediately called the boys up to chat a minute about the good news!
What was your reaction today when you heard word?
DANIEL DELPURGATORIO (DDP) – “All of the other films were extraordinary. It was completely humbling.”
ANTHONY WILLIAMS (AW) – “You have to strike out 67 times. That’s just part of the experience. You can’t just step up to bat for the first time and know everything you need to sell it. Each time you strike out it can feel very defeating, but it’s part of the process to learn more, pay more attention, grow more as an artist. So finally getting up to the plate and connecting and getting on base was the culmination of all the things I learned from the times it didn’t work out”
After Delpurgatorio and Williams’ concept Wither was accepted by the contest judges, the boys were invited to New York to attend the Shudder filmmaker lab where they met with some of the most successful and influential indie producers in the genre.
DDP – “Sam Zimmerman, who curates Shudder and runs the Shudder Lab is a really nice guy. Super humble and just likes finding people with good ideas and wants to help promote them and get their stuff out there. He has basically built a staff of people who don’t just upload movies to the site, they curate their content.”
What did you guys do while you were at boot camp?
DDP – “It was like a peek behind the curtain into what goes on with people who are making films we see everywhere, that we love. And it was pretty much a free at-bat allowing us to ask them anything and everything about our project.”
AW – “We spoke with so many really intelligent producers and film festival directors. Their feedback really challenged us in the best way possible. It was a turning point for me.”
What’s next now that you know you’ve won?
DDP – “We’ve got a kick off call next week and from there it sounds like we’ll be working a lot with Adaptive Studios and Shudder to really hone the script and prep it to be something truly unique that exploits our vision.”
How do you feel about collaborating with the Project Greenlight team on Wither?
AW – “The great thing about having partners is being able to hear the ideas these other people have and I’m really looking forward to working with Adaptive to get this outline locked down and dial in on the characters and the scares. Everyone had such tremendous thoughts and questions that we’re really excited to dig deeper with their help.”
DDP – “When we went to Shudder Labs we didn’t want to take a finished script with so that we could take the feedback from everyone who was there and bring it back home and build from that foundation.”
Some of the finalists were also invited to attend Fantasia Film Festival’s Frontiéres pitch meetings, which further motivated and educated Williams and Delpurgatorio.
DDP: “It taught us how to boil our ideas down to the basics and really sell it to an audience. I was able to see how the ‘rock stars’ of the industry do what they do well and it opened my eyes. Some of the producers we met at the Shudder Lab also set up multiple meetings at Fantasia so we could sit and discuss our ideas with the studios that have the capabilities to make these films a reality.”
And as if all the experience and networking isn’t badass enough, the guys get to work with a true genre legend, CLIVE F&*KING BARKER!
AW – “I remember pulling The Damnation Game off my mom’s bookshelf and as soon as I started it, I was hooked. His work has always stuck with me because of how he does life, death, monsters, what haunts people, sex, love, lust, immortality, infinity… The way he writes is so staggeringly deep and unique.”
DDP – “I’m still speechless. We’ve all grown up watching Clive Barker’s films and have been inspired by his work so I’m humbled to be collaborating with him.”
To give fans an idea of what they’re in store for with Wither, can you tell us a little bit more about what inspired this concept?
AW – “David Lynch, John Carpenter, David Cronenberg. Cronenberg’s The Fly has made me feel a dread that nothing else ever has. It bothers me. If you’re looking to affect people, you have to tap into what gets under your skin. That’s our goal with Wither.”
With references like that I know I’m damn excited to see Wither! I look forward to bringing all you Bloody Disgusting fans updates on Wither as the project comes to fruition and I cannot congratulate my friends Danny and Tony (Anthony) enough for their tremendous victory here. This is the shit indie filmmakers such as myself dream about and I cannot think of a more hard working yet humble duo to deserve such an honor and opportunity.
Shudder’s desire to filter money into producing original content is just another example of the vast potential out there for indie filmmakers such as Delpurgatorio and Williams to get a shot at taking their ideas to the next level. Let’s hope Wither is a raging success with horror fans so Shudder and Project Greenlight decide to go for round two!
Best of luck brothers, can’t wait to see what horrors you sick bastards bring to life.