SxSW 2020 Interview – Gholü by Oh Sees director Leo Nicholson

“It’s a stop-motion animation cannibal roller-coaster about a day in the life of a complicated cannibal.” Director Leo Nicholson on Gholü by Oh Sees, which screens in the music video section of SxSW 2020 Film. 

Editor’s Note: While SxSW was officially cancelled on March 6th, 2020, the below interview was one of many that already took place prior to the festival. To respect the creators, all already performed interviews are presented in their unedited entirety below. All of the below works WILL make their way out into the world in one way or another, and we will update this article with updated information when we have it. — JW

How did you first hear about the SxSW and wishing to send your project into the festival?

It’s a famous film and music festival, and my film is a combination of the 2 mediums.

Tell me about the idea behind your project and getting it made!

The idea for the video came from the song’s lyrics, which are about cannibalism. I had the freedom and cooperation from the band to take my ideas to any extreme I wanted, which was perfect.

I wanted to propel myself headlong into making this film and try not to shut down any ideas until I needed to. The successes in the pre-shoot build kept momentum going, this was only possible with support from Natasha, my puppet builder wife, as well as model-maker and electrician Alan Barr.

Who are some of your main creative inspirations?

Stuart Gordon, Rodger Corman, Jon Kricfalusi, Black Sabbath, Tom Savini and Ingmar Bergman are a few of the artists that inspire different areas of my work.

How did you put this together from a technical viewpoint? What sort of cameras/lenses did you use and/or did you have any creative challenges in making it?

I had a few basic lenses including one good close up lens. I shot on a Canon 5d in my attic space where there isn’t room even to stand up straight. It was very challenging manoeuvring and building and lighting in this very confined area, but at the same time the constraints were a good for focussing the work and the aesthetic.

After SxSW, where is it going next? Anywhere you would love to show it?

It’s playing in horror and animation festivals worldwide, including Oregon Scream Week, the same weekend that SXSW was planned for, I would like the film to screen as far and wide as possible, and reach as many people in varied cultures as possible. I sincerely wish it was playing at SXSW to a packed audience, maybe in a parallel universe.

What would you suggest to theatres or even film festivals as a way to show more short films theatrically or make them more accessible to audiences across the country?

I would be happy with my film as a pre-feature warm up for a solid splatter / monster movie feature screening. I would also love this as an audience member when I go to the cinema, to have a short pre-feature , as you often get still in kids’ movies. 

If you know of anyone around you wanting to become a filmmaker/creator, what would you suggest to get their start?

Write a character in a single scene, start creating from that and see how the story builds, while staying true to your original concept.

And finally, what is your favourite music video of all time?

Silly Symphonies – Skeleton Dance!

For more information on this film and to follow its progress into the festival world, point your browser to www.sxsw.com/film!

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