‘Grave Encounters’ Interview With Juan Riedinger
Posted by Bryan Hardbarger
Grave Encounters’ is a 2011 Canadian supernatural horror film. Shot in the “found footage” style where it is recorded by a video camera in a first person point of view, as made famous by ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and ‘Cloverfield’. Directed and written by The Vicious Brothers, the film premiered on April 22, 2011 at the Tribeca Film Festival to favorable reviews. The film was released on August 25, 2011 in select theaters using the Eventful Demand It and Video On Demand via Comcast. The film premiered internationally in Italy via distributor Eagle Pictures retitled “ESP Fenomeni Paranormali” on June 1, 2011.
In 2003, the television show ‘Grave Encounters’ decided to do an investigation of one of America’s most haunted buildings. Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital was said to be the home of over 80,000 of Maryland’s most mentally disturbed individuals. Collingwood became infamous for unusual experimental patient control techniques including shock therapy, lobotomies and sensory deprivation. By 1930 Collingwood had performed more lobotomies than any other facility in the country.
Ever since it’s closure in 1963, there have been reports of paranormal activities, and the sounds of maniacal laughter. A series of disappearances and unfortunate accidents are associated with the the building. Today Collingwood is empty and abandoned, with most locals scared to enter the 80 acre facility.
‘Grave Encounters’ went into an hour long lock-down at the disturbing Collingwood Hospital, using the most sophisticated paranormal research equipment available. Here’s the ‘Grave Encounters’ trailer so you can get a glimpse for yourself.
Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to the star of ‘Grave Encounters’, Juan Riedinger! We would like to thank Juan for taking the time to talk with us!
Bryan: So Juan, it’s obvious that you are no stranger to Science Fiction, with such films as Aliens VS Predator – Requiem, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and even television as well with Sanctuary, Fringe and Supernatural to name a few. You just starred in the new Tribeca Film’s, ‘Grave Encounters’ from the Vicious Brothers. Would you also consider yourself a Sci-Fi fan?
Juan Riedinger: It’s funny, when I first got into acting, I wasn’t particularly drawn to Sci-Fi, but it’s definitely grown on me. It seems to be the realm I’ve worked in most as an actor. I think part of this has to do with living in Vancouver, which is a hub for science fiction production in the industry. Sci-Fi has evolved a lot over the years, and it probably has the most passionate and loyal fans out there. With that, comes extremely high expectations. The bar needs to be constantly raised to meet these expectations, so I have a tremendous amount of respect for people working in the genre, both in front of and behind the camera.
Bryan: You’ve done a number of directing gigs, are there any in particular you are most proud of? Where do you see your directing going in the near future?
Juan Riedinger: I started directing about three years ago, and since then, I’ve directed about a dozen short films. It’s really hard to say which I’m most proud of. To this day, my very first film – Shark Out of Water – continues to get great feedback from most who see it. It deals with the game of poker, and we had some cameos from some of the world’s top poker pros, including Phil Hellmuth. We’ve actually had a lot of success selling DVDs of the film internationally from our website: www.sharkoutofwater.com. My most recent film – Float – was shot earlier this year, and we made it with a grant from Bravo!FACT. This allowed us to shoot it on 35mm film, and we had an amazing cast and crew involved. We just started submitting it to festivals, so hopefully I’ll have more news on it soon! I feel like I’ve learned a ton by directing shorts, so I’m currently searching for a feature-length screenplay to direct, and once I find that, it’s full steam ahead.
Bryan: You are the only two-time recipient of the A&E Short Filmmaker’s Award for your short films, ‘Shark Out of Water’ (Which was also nominated for four LEO awards!) and ‘Birth Day’ – What do you feel contributed to your success?
Juan Riedinger: I think getting to work with a solid group of the people – both cast and crew – has helped in elevating my work. For most of my films, we’ve usually had hardly any money or resources to make them. This has forced us to be resourceful and to think outside the box to achieve the highest level of production value possible. But again…it all really comes down to the people I’ve been blessed to work with.
Bryan: You are married to a lovely and talented actress, whom we have recently interviewed here. How did the two of you meet? And do you see any collaboration in the future?
Juan Riedinger: Thank you! I’m a very lucky man Agam and I met on the set of a short film which she wrote and produced and which I was acting in. We prefer to keep our personal lives and professional lives as separate as possible, but we have worked together on very small projects in the past. No plans for a major collaboration as of yet, but it could happen.
Bryan: We enjoy giving our fans exclusive content whenever possible, are you working on any projects you’d like to mention?
Juan Riedinger: Yes. I just wrapped on a western, which is essentially a prequel to Tombstone called Hannah’s Law. Right after that, I’ll be going to my home town of Banff, Alberta, to basically work on my dream gig. I’ll be acting in a feature film called Drawing Home, which tells the story of a famous Rocky Mountain artist I learned about growing up named Peter Whyte. I’ll be playing him from his 20s to his 50s, and his story is a fascinating one. This project will be shooting in many segments from now until the spring of next year, so it will definitely keep me busy. I also just guest starred in an episode of Hub Network’s The Haunting Hour called “Scarecrow”, which will air in the U.S. in early 2012.
ScienceFiction.com would like to thank Juan for taking time out of his very busy schedule to speak with us, be sure to check out ‘Grave Encounters’ and Juan’s other amazing projects! Until next time, do not go and investigate that weird noise in the dark, don’t get separated and keep fresh batteries in the flashlights!