While The Forest has been taking some crap recently, horror fans can take heart in that it’s not the only scary story set in the woods this year. Enter A Floresta das Almas Perdidas, translated into English as The Forest of Lost Souls. I recently had the opportunity to ask the films director José Pedro Lopes and lead actress Daniela Love about the film, and it sounds intriguing to say the least.
The Blood Shed: So, tell me a little about your film.
José Pedro Lopes: The film is set in a fictional forest in Northern Portugal, famous by the practice of suicide – much like the Aokigahara Forest in Japan. In a summer morning two strangers accidently bump into each other there. One is a family man who went there to kill himself because it was the same place his daughter died. The other is a young eccentric girl who loves dark and obscure themes and art, so she goes there because it’s kind of a trendy place. They become friends, but wait, it’s a horror movie so there’s more to it that I can’t tell. It was shot in black&white in Portugal and Spain, and it’s very visual film on one side, but a very talkative one too. It’s a Portuguese thing, we love to talk. It goes from being a heartfelt drama to a slasher film, and it mixes a lot of elements and the story shifts tone and changes protagonist more than once.
What is some of the cinema that has influenced you as a director and this film in particular?
Growing up, asian horror films were at its peak. Takashi Miike’s “Ôdishon” (Audition) was a big inspiration for this film, and I’m fascinated by all the art house horror films that are making their way into festival as Cannes, Sundance and South by Southwest. But my all time favourite director is John Carpenter – and this film becomes a bit “Halloween”-nish at some point.
How did the project come about?
I presented this film in 2012 at an event called FEST Pitching Forum, a co-production event that takes place in Espinho, Portugal. I kind of wrote it to be a part of it – but it was a very different story back then. Over the years I pitched it and rewrote for other supports and funds. The film itself came to life with the team that I work with in my production company, Anexo 82. Fortunately, our team got bigger with some partner studios as Studio 2203, Creatura and Agente a Norte, and other smaller endorsements and support. It was a bit like “if you build it, they will come”. A lot of people helped – and it was a lot of work.
What is some of your past work?
I’ve worked mostly as a production manager and line producer, in all kinds of film and media projects. In fiction, I’ve produced over ten short films, and I’ve directed two. They played the usual life of a short film – festivals, TV, online. My favorite one was «Video Store» by Ana Almeida, distributed by Mailuki Films. It was a coming of age romantic film set in my hometown back in the nineties, before Oporto was tourism epicenter as it is today. The team behind it is mostly the same as the one in this feature.
Where can people see your film, and possibly get involved/fund your future projects?
The Forest of the Lost Souls will have its market début at the European Film Market in Berlin, next month. Hopefully it will be in festivals in the summer or in the fall. Portugal hasn’t much of a tradition of crowdfunding so I haven’t bet much on it. But anyone who wants to be involved is more than welcome. In 2016 we’re involved in our first foreign feature film, so where working with more and more people, and in a more open environment.
Anything else you would like to say, people you would like to acknowledge?
Thank you for reading and hope my film crosses your path in the future again.You can follow its tour in English at https://www.facebook.com/theforestofthelostsouls and http://theforestofthelostsouls.blogspot.pt , but I’ve stuff around in all social networks and I’m a big nerd of it too.
And Now With Lead Actress Daniela Love
The Blood Shed: Tell us about your character Carolina.
Daniela Love: Carolina is an eccentric and unbalanced young woman with a very comfortable life, so she gets bored to death. There is definitely something wrong with her.
How did you prepare for this role?
Prior to the rehearsals I wrote countless pages of her back story because I was having a hard time understanding the character’s motivations. José Pedro gave me a list of films I should watch to get inspired and we talked a lot about who Carolina was and what the film was about. I made a thorough research to try to find the character’s physicality in me and tried to have the same references she had, so I read the books she had read, I heard the same music she listened to and got to know the stories she told. I also took driving lessons.
How did you come to be involved with the project?
I had already worked with Anexo 82 (my first contact with them was in 2012) – I was in a short film called “Videostore” and some promotional videos made by them. I was familiar with almost the entire crew of the film because they were people I had already worked with in previous projects.
What other work have you done in the horror genre?
In 2013 I was “japanese inspired” ghost in a short film called “M Is For Mail”, for the “ABC’s Of Death” competition (also produced by Anexo 82), which was a kind of dream come true (as a black-haired girl it was always inevitable to play Samara at parties). I was always into horror and I would love to work again in movies of this genre.
The Forest of Lost Souls certainly sounds intriguing, and the crew obviously has a real passion for horror. When it’s released be sure, to check back on The Blood Shed for a review. Interesting indie horror is always up our alley, especially if we can use it as a pallet cleaner for The Forest (seriously, that movie stunk.)
Jeff is a writer for The Blood Shed and Eats, Drinks, and Bleeds Horror. You can find him on Instagram @thatjeffreyguy
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