Filmmaking | Interviews

Filmmaker Mark Battle talks about The Janitor

5 Sep , 2014  

Written by NewEnglandFilm.com | Posted by:

Mark Battle always knew he wanted to be a filmmaker. 'I just started doing it,' he said. 'I picked up a camera and just made a movie. Then I made another one, and another.' His latest short film The Janitor, about a lonely immigrant who is confronted with a moral dilemma when ordered to finish a botched assassination job, is currently screening at NewEnglandFilm.com as part of the 2014 Online New England Film Festival.

Mark Battle always knew he wanted to be a filmmaker. ‘I just started doing it,’ he said. ‘I picked up a camera and just made a movie. Then I made another one, and another. The hardest thing for me was developing the confidence to do what I was doing; to think of myself as a filmmaker. Once I found that, everything was easier.’ His latest short film The Janitor, about a lonely immigrant who is confronted with a moral dilemma when ordered to finish a botched assassination job, is currently screening at NewEnglandFilm.com as part of the 2014 Online New England Film Festival.

How has your experience for The Janitorbeen at film festivals?
The Janitor has screened in New Hampshire, Boston, Times Square NYC, and across the pond in England. I really love the local indie scene – the festivals we attend near home are always exciting and fun as you get to meet other film enthusiasts who just love what you’re doing and are genuinely interested in the process.

What inspired you to make your film?
There are many films about assassins and hitmen and the mafia, but very few about the peripheral characters in those movies. I became obsessed with a character I had been mulling on, a custodian of sorts who gets called in to erase evidence left behind after assassinations – he intrigued me. Who is this person? What does he look like, where does he live, what kind of person is he? Then the idea morphed into a character study / moral play, and I knew then where I wanted to take the film and how I wanted things to unfold.

How did you find your cast and crew for this film?
There are a lot of really terrific online tools available now to help you find like-minded individuals. I’ve used several outlets, from NewEnglandFilm.com, neactor.com, to craigslist. Once you find a good team, they introduce you to others and it sort of snowballs. I’ve had a lot of luck finding awesome people who thrive off this stuff like I do.

What film(s) are you working on now?
Currently I’m writing several films; I find that my process can be a bit fickle and frustrating, but it eventually works itself out. Sometimes I’ll write 5-6 scripts, sit on them for awhile, move them around, shuffle pages, until one screams out at me. I’m waiting for a script to sing to me, but they’re not quite there yet. Sometimes, patience is the best tool – and the most difficult one to master.

Any advice on making films you want to share?
Make the film that you want to make; not one others want you to make or one you think you should make. Make a film that obsessed you; keeps you awake at night and makes you jump out of bed early in the morning before shoot. Tell your story. No one can tell it better than you can.


Watch The Janitor at http://newenglandfilm.com/festival/2014/thejanitor