If you’re in the Ohio Film Scene then odds are you’ve heard of this man, Mr. Conrad Faraj. He started Conrad Studios from the town of Avon. Since then he has ventured out to LA and is still continuing his work. What follows is a great Interview with a great guy. Thank you Conrad for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with me.
HMF: As always, our first question is, what is your favorite Horror movie?
CF: My favorite horror film is The Shining, which is also my favorite movie of all time. This is Stanley Kubrick at his best. Controlling all aspects of the story and atmosphere, and perfectly balancing psychological suspense and horror. I can never look at hotels the same way again.
HMF: For as long as I’ve known you, you’ve been in film. What was it that first attracted you to the wonderful world of film making, and how did you get your start?
CF: Since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to tell stories. I was fascinated by cinema from a very early age but it wasn’t until my teenage years that I decided to pick up a camera and make my own movies. It was the excitement of showing my work to people that kept me going. It drove me. Almost like showing a piece of art to someone. Of course, back then I was merely learning and teaching myself how everything worked. It’ll always be a learning process for me.
HMF: How long have you been making movies?
CF: I’ve been making movies for 14 years.
HMF: What do you draw inspiration from when its time for you to sit down and write a new film?
CF: Every film is different, and inspiration can kick in from all different sources. Sometimes its been music, art, fashion, or random bizarre ideas that pop into my head. Although lately, I’ve been drawing a lot of inspiration from films of the old masters of cinema. Auteurs like Ingmar Bergman, John Cassavetes, David Lynch, and Michelangelo Antonioni. Every time I watch one of their films it feels as if I’m entering into a dream.
HMF: Aside from Horror films, what other genres fall under the Conrad Studios banner?
CF: Conrad Studios is known for a diverse range of genre films. Science Fiction, Drama, and Noir have been genres that we’ve been exploring lately, although we will be going back to horror in 2018 with a new series of slasher films.
HMF: What has been your favorite project to work on so far and why?
CF: I don’t know if I have a favorite project that I’ve worked on. They’ve all been different, and special to me. I suppose the one that felt like the most “fun” was The Brave Souls Who Fought Against the Slave Vampire Women because we improvised the whole script, we shot it in a week, and everyone involved just had a blast. It felt like raw independent filmmaking, without rules or expectations.
HMF: As a director and actor, who are your biggest influences?
CF: As a director my biggest influence will forever be Stanley Kubrick. The man was a genius storyteller, and a technical master. He understood character, story, and craft. As an actor, I’ve always had a fondness for Sir Laurence Olivier, because he was a true thespian who shined on film.
HMF: Not only are you a filmmaker, but you own your own studio named Conrad Studios. What led up to this happening?
CF: Conrad Studios has been a part of me from my very first attempts at filmmaking. I wanted to make my films look legitimate, so in my early teens, I decided to create Conrad Studios. For a few months I changed it to Conrad Films Ltd., then went back to Conrad Studios. My dream is to be able to produce films for people, and present opportunities for filmmakers that they normally would never get on an indie film level.
HMF: Under Conrad Studios, you’ve released several great shorts and even feature length films. What’s the next step?
CF: The next step for Conrad Studios is to generate a much larger buzz for our films. It’s almost as if our films have been lurking in the shadows, and those few who have managed to see our films, truly enjoy them. We want to branch out and hopefully within the year have a few films on Netflix and Hulu. Getting the right exposure has been the most difficult part for the studio, and that’s something that we hope to rectify within the next year.
HMF: Around the time you were getting the film Young Harvest, directed by Matthew Ward, on the festival circuit, I spoke to Mr. Ward and he mentioned a movement called New Hollywood. Is that movement still going and what is its goal?
CF: New Hollywood is “technically” still alive and kicking, although the practices of the movement are not as relevant as they were from 2010-2014. New Hollywood was basically a campaign for independent filmmakers to unite and help each other whether it’d be during the making of a film, or in the marketing/promoting of a film. The movement also called out for cheaper ticket sales during showings of our films, and quality content. It was a movement for filmmakers by filmmakers to try to revive the cinema-going experience, which has been slowly descending due to video streaming services.
HMF: Where do you see yourself and Conrad Studios 10 Years from now?
CF: 10 years from now, I’ll be somewhere over the rainbow with my fellow studio mates enjoying a cold shandy on a beach, while shining some fancy filmmaking award that may or may not be named Oscar. That’s the dream anyway! God, I hope I don’t sound too conceited!
HMF: What can we expect next from Conrad Faraj and Conrad Studios?
CF: Conrad Studios is now producing its very own Slasher Cinematic Universe, following the latest Hollywood trend to unite characters and story-lines together in multiple films. The key difference is that our content won’t have any source material. They will be 100% original films with original characters, all in the slasher genre, and with inter-connecting plots and characters. Our first one starts filming this fall in Lexington, KY titled “The Rave” directed by Matthew Ward. It’ll center around a psychotic clown-woman known as Lola. We plan to produce 6 original slasher films all the way to 2020, with one massive horror film connecting all the villains in one story. It’s a very big commitment, but I have enough faith in the stories and the filmmakers, that I think will make it all worthwhile.
If you ever have the chance to catch a film under the Conrad Studios banner, don’t pass it up. With that in mind, I know we here at HMF will be looking forward to any and everything that is released.