Wednesday, 27 May 2015 00:00

Jack Thomas Smith - writer and director

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Jack Thomas Smith is more than a writer, director, and a producer. He is a man attempting to shine a spotlight on the human condition – not to titillate – but to reveal and to understand. It was that desire that, in part, inspired his movie "Infliction."


"Infliction" tells the story of brothers who go on a killing spree in North Carolina. But rather than descending into the torture porn that is so prevalent in today's horror movies, Smith opted for a meaty and story-driven tale. As a matter-of-fact, while you'll find "Infliction" in the horror section of the Amazon store, Smith considers it a psychological thriller that's rooted in a horribly sad dysfunctional cycle.


"I once knew someone who came from a very abusive home, and I saw firsthand how it affected them and society as a hold.


"When you send people into the word who are battered and beaten, and often time it starts in the child zone of abuse and neglect ... unfortunately, some don't overcome the environment of what has happened to them."


And so his characters are men who have been sent into the word battered and beaten. Yet, Scott's empathy and compassion permeates the movie, and perhaps this is why his audience has been touched by the film.
'I've been to screenings all over the country and I do QA session with the audience. It's been amazing how people have been connecting with the film. One person shared a story about their abuse, and how the film hit home. Another woman shared she had been abused, and the point that you captured is the need for the abused to reclaim their lives and empower themselves."


Similarly, the response has on twitter has been crazy supportive. And while there have been some negative reaction, most of it seems to revolve around false expectations. "Infliction" isn't "Saw" or "Hostel." It's about people, not about stabbing.


Scott has been honing his craft long enough for the poor reviews not to bother him. "When I was eight and I saw "Star Wars," that was the moment that I realized that [movies] is what I wanted to do!" As a teenager, he would use his 8MM to do comedy and horror skits with his friends.


"Disorder" was his first feature film. Released in 2006, the movie also deals with murder and mayhem, with the protagonist suffering from schizophrenia.


What's next for Smith? He is currently working on financing – what he calls the most challenging part – for his new movie "In The Dark." The move, which Smith also wrote, is a set on small island in Michigan that becomes overrun by zombie-vampire like creatures. Smith promises a bigger budget and more start power in this one. And, as in all his movies, a message of substance.


When asked what advice he'd give to up and coming filmmakers, Scott says "Go to business school and hone your craft. Study the art of filmmaking and writing.


"What a lot don't grasp is that it's a business: how do you make a screen play a reality, budget, presentations, tax credit, foreign sales, federal presales .... the business end is very complicated.


And when asked how he'd like to be remembered as a director and producer he answers, "I want people to think that I made films that were intelligent and made people think and talk. They weren't mindless. I always want to make films that have some underlying them. As long as I can do that, that would be awesome.


Scott takes a pause and reflects. "I'm passionate about what I do." That passionate burns in all of Scott's movies.

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