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Stephen Vanderpool 

I want to tell stories that bring a fresh perspective to both their themes and cinematic style.

Stephen has curated a fun, funny and colourful piece of work which showed just how much the most creative of storytellers can do with very little. We, at PRIFF are super excited to see what he comes up with next!

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What advice would you like to give aspiring filmmakers?

The clichés are true. Make what you love. Practice makes perfect. It’s a marathon, not a race. If I had one piece of unique advice based on my own experiences, I would encourage people to dabble in every aspect of 

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Introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Stephen Vanderpool. I’m a writer, director and cinematographer based in Los Angeles. I love outlandish ideas and genre-mashing. My work is a blend of horror, sci-fi and dark comedy.

Outrun LA that was screened and won and awarded at our festival in 2022 - What is it about?

Outrun LA is a neo-noir comedy that satirizes the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s loaded with synth-wave-inspired visuals and plays heavily on technological nostalgia.

Why did you choose this topic, and what inspired you to work on this film?

I’m obsessed with the so-called “outrun” aesthetic. My film is an experiment in visual style. My goal was to create the cinematic embodiment of synth-wave music.

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What was most challenging about bringing this production to life?

I spent about $500 USD on the whole project. Everything was DIY. I relied heavily on the talents of friends and my fiancé.

Do you have any funny/interesting stories from the set to share with us?

We built the main set in my apartment. All of the outdoor scenes were shot in a tunnel under the 101 Freeway in my neighbourhood – guerilla style of course.

Why did you decide to become a filmmaker?

I got my first camera to film my friends performing Jackass-inspired stunts and backyard wrestling matches. Eventually, I discovered narrative was much less painful – physically, anyway.

What kind of stories do you wish to direct/work on?

I want to tell stories that bring a fresh perspective to both their themes and cinematic style. Whether it’s horror, sci-fi, comedy or some combination of the three, my goal is to show people something they haven’t seen before.

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What are your next projects?

I’m currently polishing my writing portfolio. I have 5 feature scripts I’m almost ready to start pitching.

Who are your filmmaking influences?

Panos Cosmatos, Ari Aster, Edgar Wright.

filmmaking. Learn how to use a camera. Do some acting. Write some scripts. Edit your own content. Understand how to tell a story through video from start to finish.

If you had a magic wand, what would you wish for?

People don’t really make wishes with wands, do they? My mind immediately goes to Harry Potter. If I’m using Rowling’s universe to dictate the rules of my magic wand, I would interpret this question to mean “what spell would you cast?” Petrificus Totalus would be cool. It’s a good one for thwarting enemies. Useful for any filmmaker.

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