Passing Darkness

Passing Darkness
by
Kenneth Mader

Once again, Sel would like to sincerely thank Kenneth for answering our questions and allowing Sel to post pictures from the film, Passing Darkness. Sel would also like to thank Don Anderson for his permission to post parts of his storyboards that were utilized in the filming of Passing Darkness.

Ken Mader Bio

Kenneth Mader (Writer-Director-Editor of Passing Darkness), has been involved in the film industry for many years, having begun his career in his native Chicago on such notable films as The Blues Brothers, My Bodyguard, The Killing Floor and The Roomate. His award winning career has included cutting/directing numerous projects such as commercials, a sitcom pilot, music videos and a successful feature film.

Recent projects have included Father's Day, a short film which was chosen as an Official Selection for the Seattle Jewish Film Festival and the feature Carnivore. His current projects include Zali's Crush. He is also directing 'wraparound' segments of Dead Stop which stars Michael Shanks.

He has far too many credits to list, so if you're interested in learning more about Kenneth and his career, please click here.

Reminder: Pictures for this interview and for the screen cap page have been used with the permission of Kenneth Mader and Don Anderson. Duplication is prohibited.

 

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An Interview with Ken Mader


Q # 1. There's a rather interesting backstory on Passing Darkness. It originally started off as a demo reel scene for both actress Debra Hopkins and director Ken Mader and it evolved into a short film with a rather unique storyline, and then into a feature film in development. Can you tell us about the evolution of this project?


One of the many hats I wear as a director is helping actors create demo reels. Both Debra and husband Gerald Hopkins (Derek in the film) are clients I've worked with in the past, and Debra wanted to update her demo reel showcasing her martial arts abilities.
 

We began developing an action scene based on her Samurai Sword training, and in the process of creating a backstory for this character, ideas for a film began to emerge. At the time I was also looking for and developing material to shoot for my own demo reel, so, intrigued with what we were coming up with, I decided to pull the trigger on turning it into a short.

The decision to develop it further into a full feature came as a result of the writing process where frankly we ended up with far more story to tell than could fit into a short film.

Don poses for the continuity camera.

Q # 2. I've read your script, and Passing Darkness is very unique. If you had to describe it in ten words or less for our readers, how would you sum it up?

A character-driven supernatural thriller with some martial arts action.

There you go, exactly ten words ;)

Or - a kind of 'Alias' meets 'The Sixth Sense'.
 


Passing Darkness ~
a
character-driven supernatural thriller with some martial arts action

Q #3. Don portrays the character of Will in your film. He's described in your script as "50's, seen his share". Can you elaborate on that and tell us how you see the character of Will?

I envisioned Will as a guy who's been around the block, worked in government service his entire life, perhaps starting in the military and moving into the private sector or some government agency, on the verge of retirement... The interesting thing about the feature version is that it expands the Will and Jessica characters, introducing them as the key players in a government experiment about communicating with the dead. A kind of off-shoot of the old remote viewing projects.

[Sel's Note: Remote viewing (RV) is a procedure developed by parapsychologists at the Stanford Research Institute to allegedly perform clairvoyance under controlled conditions. Somewhat similar to astral projection, the phenomenon involves a belief in the projection of consciousness to remote locations.]

I had written and shot an extended end scene to this effect but again it became too convoluted for a short film so I cut it. But we're using it in pitches to give a sense of what the other elements of the feature will be, and it will be included on the upcoming DVD which will be released as soon as we complete our festival run.

Q #4. From your website, you said that Julie Caitlin Brown was instrumental in Don Davis being hired for the role of Will. Were you familiar with Don's work when you cast Will?

Yes, I've been a huge fan of Don's work for quite some time and wanted to work with him. I never expected in a million years he would actually say yes. But I figured 'what the hell' as he was perfect for the role, so I emailed my producer friend Julie and asked if she'd send him the script. She read it, liked it, and agreed to forward it to him. About a week later I found myself driving down the freeway in L.A. talking on my cell phone with Don Davis about the role. A truly great and surreal 'Hollywood Moment'.

Q #5. You said that you were familiar with Don's work and that you wanted to work with him. Which roles of his were you familiar with? I noticed that you have some well known Sci-Fi actors/actresses in many of your films (Julie Caitlin Brown, Michael Shanks, Armin Shimmerman, Robert Picardo, John Rhys-Davies,and Andrea Thompson) so I'm curious [if it was through his sci-fi work].

Boy, where do I begin? Loved him in Twin Peaks, X-Files, Stargate... Seen him in a lot of other roles and just always admired his work and amazing screen presence.

Julie Caitlin Brown is a friend whom I met through a networking group hosted by Marc Scott Zicree, a writer-producer from Babylon 5, Star Trek, Sliders, etc. So our circle of friends includes these Sci-Fi actors. And we like working with our friends.

 

More behind the scenes pictures are available at the movie's website. Please take a look and I'd recommend that you view the storyboards.


Continue with the Passing Darkness Interview