Helen Warner is a writer/director based in Belfast Northern Ireland. Warner’s previous short STIGMA won the CORK festival Grand Prix Irish Film Short award and was long listed for an Academy Award. Screenings include St Louis, London Short film Festival, Aesthetica, Underwire, Cork, Galway and more.
Q & A
Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
I have lots of bad ideas in my head, and I’m hoping the right one comes along soon.
Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
I’m sure I’m inspired by many things, but when I have the script the visual world is already there as well.
Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Neither, Both, practical, Pre
How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
The look of the film is so important to me, from costume, to props etc, in my short films I’ve been pretty hands on. A friend of mine, Sam Higbee designed the mirror for Arena, we wanted a large mirror that would sit centre in a big warehouse space. It has to have an impact. I found the biggest second hand mirror and old fashioned bulbs and Sam built it. I do think that, especially in shorts, you have to keep paying attention to props, costume etc, it can have a big impact on the film. It is easy to forget about the details when a budget is very tight. I source stuff online, for arena I got dresses that I was going to return afterwards, a few got lost but I got some money back. I like to keep it super simple and have a palette that I don’t deviate too far from. In ARENA, it was muted tones throughout with red. If you come up with a palette whilst writing it makes things cleaner and working within a limitation is quite beneficial in my opinion.
What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
Madness scares me, death, always, but I’m trying to work on that. And just creepy stuff like being alone in the dark. I’m actually thinking of relocating to a more rural setting to get a bit scared and get some writing happening.
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’