Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2019 interview: Danishka Esterhazy discusses her female dystopian thriller Level 16

Sci-fi thriller Level 16 will probably be having its UK Premiere at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2019 this week.

Written and directed by film-maker Danishka Esterhazy, it’s a dystopian thriller set inside a really uncommon boarding faculty. Intense, gripping and stuffed with surprises, the movie is bound to be one of many greatest hits at this 12 months’s pageant.

I caught up with Danishka to debate the place the concept for Level 16 got here from, discuss two of the movie’s strongest performances, and discover out extra concerning the spectacular units used within the movie.

Hi Danishka. How are you in the present day and the place does this Q&A discover you?

I’m doing very nicely! I’m at the moment in Cape Town, South Africa. I’m capturing a brand new horror movie right here for Syfy and Warner Bros. It is a darkish (and humorous) reimagining of the basic tv present The Banana Splits. I’m spending my days soaked in faux blood. Fun!

Level 16 is receiving its UK premiere at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2019. What’s all of it about?

Level 16 is a narrative a few group of sixteen-year-old ladies who’re trapped in a prison-like boarding faculty. It is the one house they know they usually have by no means been exterior. Until two ladies, Vivien and Sophia, group as much as uncover the rationale for his or her imprisonment and to discover a solution to escape.

Level 16
Credit: Signature Entertainment

Where did the inspiration for the story come from?

I’ve all the time been a fan of dystopian tales. But there will not be many dystopian movies with a female solid. I needed to write down (and direct) an ideal sci-fi story with a solid of younger girls. I drew a few of my inspiration from the movie Logan’s Run and a few of my inspiration from the novel Jane Eyre. The result’s Level 16.

Katie Douglas is magnificent within the lead function as Vivien. How did you come to solid her and what did she carry to the desk throughout filming?

Yes, Katie is superb! She has a deep performing vary for such a younger actor. I wanted an actor who may carry vulnerability, hope, anger, bravery and desperation. Katie was in a position to hit all these notes. I predict that she could have an unimaginable profession forward of her.

The greatest revelation to me within the movie was Sara Canning’s efficiency. We’ve not seen her do something like this earlier than. Tell us somewhat bit about what she was prefer to work with.

Sara Canning is one in all my favorite actors. Level 16 is our second function collectively. And she’s going to seem in my new horror movie, too! I wrote the a part of Miss Brixil for Sara. I knew that Sara would be capable to construct layers of subtext into her scenes. Sara is an excellent actor who all the time brings nuance and complexity to her roles.

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Level 16 is intense and there are many twists and turns. What was your greatest problem by way of making the movie?

The normal obstacles have been there – restricted time and restricted funds. I solely had 20 shoot days with a single digicam group. So, I needed to be very ready. It was important to plan cautious and minimalist protection. Thankfully, I had nice actors and a beautiful producer. Together, we made the world of the Vestalis Academy come to life.

Level 16
Credit: Signature Entertainment

The units actually add to the environment of the movie and assist transport you into the world that Vivien and the ladies exist in. How did you carry these to life?

I spent a whole lot of time in pre-production planning the color palette and thematic symbols with my fantastic manufacturing designer Diana Magnus. I needed to make use of an actual location slightly than a studio set as a result of I needed the constructing to really feel genuinely repurposed and hidden. The metropolis of Toronto gave us use of a decommissioned police station constructed within the 1950s which had been vacant since 2011. It was the right canvas to create layers of historical past for the Vestalis Academy.

What’s your favorite horror movie of all-time and why?

I’m torn between Kubrick’s The Shining and Amenábar’s The Others. Both are haunting, character-driven and have beautiful cinematography. Goals that I aspire to. But for newer movies, and sheer terror, I’m a giant fan of It follows, The Babadook and Don’t Breathe.

What different initiatives are you engaged on in the intervening time?

I’ve a cabin thriller in growth known as Jagged Winter. I hope to shoot that movie on the finish of this 12 months! Hopefully, the funding gods will smile on me.

Why ought to folks take a look at Level 16 throughout Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow?

Level 16 operates on many ranges – pun supposed. If you want dystopian tales – come watch it! If you want female-driven tales – come watch it! Level 16 is a narrative about friendship, about our have to query and defy authority, concerning the terrors that may outcome from a world riddled by financial inequality. It will scare you and it’ll make you assume.

Level 16 receives its UK Premiere at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2019 at 1.15pm on Friday 1st March 2018.

Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2019 takes place from Thursday 28th February to Saturday 2nd March 2019. For extra data and tickets go to


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