Yours truly recently had a chance to talk with Canadian filmmaker Geoff Klein (pictured right) about his latest film "Pinup Dolls on Ice". This marks Klein's second film in the director's chair, as he co-directs this film with Mellisa Mira. "Pinup Dolls on Ice" is the sequel to the entertaining "Bikini Girls on Ice" which he directed back in 2012.
1. With the success of “Bikini Girls on Ice” How did the idea for the sequel “Pinup Dolls on Ice” come about and was this always the idea to make a sequel or did the success of “Bikini Girls on Ice” contribute to get this sequel made?
Geoff Klein: Well it all started back in 2008, when I was sitting in a hockey locker room with a bunch of my buddies; we were having a few beers, the mood was light, we just had just won the game, when all of a sudden one of my teammates decided it would be the perfect time to let us all know what his ultimate sexual fantasy was. Immediately, ears perked up! He starts telling us that he wants to invite a prostitute over to a hotel room, strip her down naked and leave her in a bathtub full of ice until she freezes to death… and then fuck her back to life!
While everyone in the locker room laughed out loud, I though to myself “That’s a great idea for a film!"
Before we even shot one frame of Bikini Girls on Ice, I knew that this wasn’t going to be a “one and done”. I wanted to begin creating a franchise with an iconic serial killer. The only problem was that I didn’t even know if I could make a feature. I just kinda winged it. the film that started out as a joke amongst friends was now on Netflix, iTunes and BluRay, being critiqued next to Rob Zombie’s Halloween; and although there are some people who really liked the film, the majority of the reviews were pretty bad.
So when I met Melissa, we decided to make Pinup Dolls on Ice, and use all of the negative reviews as fuel to make a much better film. So we handed over the press clippings to Michael Penning, the writer, and told him to deliver us a script that addressed all of these issues; people wanted more blood, more T&A and more Moe backstory. And well let’s just say he delivered! The reviews of Pinup Dolls on Ice have been really good and we’re really proud of what we were able to accomplish.
2. From seeing the teaser trailer, I can’t wait to check this film out. What is “Pinup Dolls on Ice” about to those who haven’t heard about the film?
GK: Pinup Dolls on Ice is about a Burlesque group who do a private show at a remote campground as a favour to one of their friends who happens to own the campground. Unfortunately for them, Moe happens to be lurking in the shadows and bad shit ensues. Real bad shit.
3. When this I looking the film’s IMDB page, I noticed that you’re only co-directing, producing and editing this film. What made you want to focus on those aspects instead of fully directing, producing and writing like you did in “Bikini Girls on Ice”?
GK: To begin with, I’m not a writer; I only wrote Bikini Girls on Ice out of necessity; I had no one else to do it! Anyone who has seen that film knows there are plenty of plot holes and some pretty cringe worthy dialogue (which to some adds to the experience). But generally speaking, there are lots of problems with the script, so this time around we hired Michael Penning; one of my best friends who happens to be a really talented writer. Michael wrote the exact film that we wanted to make. He nailed it. We didn’t want anything complicated, just a no holds barred, beat’em down slasher film, and that’s what he delivered.
4. I noticed that you directed this film along with Melissa Mira. What was it like co-directing this film with her?
GK: Co-Directing can be a challenge, and it was. The main problem in the beginning was understanding each others role. But after the first couple of days, it became clear as to how we were going to work. Melissa has a knack for detail, action and actors; while I focus more on the camera crew and getting the shots we need in order to tell a coherent story. It worked out great! The old saying “Two heads are better than one” rings true here. Actually, Melissa and I are open to anyone on set suggesting shot ideas. We’re very aware that we don’t have all the answers all the time, and at the end of the day, a good idea is a good idea. Whether it came from the caterer or the DP; it doesn’t matter. As a producer/director you gotta check your ego at the door and remind yourself that you’re here to make the best film possible, and sometimes that means keeping your ear to the ground. We also find that keeping the crew involved creatively makes everyone that much more invested in the film; making the experience that much more enjoyable for everyone.
5. The film features a cast of unknowns with the exception of William Jarand and Suzi Lorranie who appeared in your last film. What was casting process and the filming process like and was it a better process this time around or more challenging than the first film.
GK: Well we live in Montreal, Quebec, a mostly Francophone city, so the real challenge is finding good, non-union, English speaking actors, who are willing to take their tops off. :) I would say both films were just as difficult to cast; we had to go across the border to find actors for Bikini Girls on Ice, and out to Toronto and Edmonton for Pinup Dolls on Ice. We had put ads on Craigslist and several online casting sites, and we communicated through Skype to do the auditions. The bigger challenge though is finding 5 girls who look like they could be best friends on screen. Because if you don’t believe that these girls would actually hang out together in real life then the film isn’t going to work. In fact, to hit that point home, Melissa suggested that the scenes where all 5 girls are together, that they be completely ad libbed in order to make everything as natural as possible. As long as they talked about the key pieces of info, we didn’t care how it came out, as long as it sounded natural. It did however make for some challenging editing because they never said the same thing in each take, but it was worth it to get what we have.
6. The film is currently playing on the film festival circuit. How has the film been received at the festivals that it’s played at so far and has there been any release plans in U.S. at this time?
GK: We had our World Premiere at Fantasia in 2013, and then went on to play at the Spooky Movie International Film Festival, Telluride Horrorshow, Dedfest, Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival, Another Hole in the Head, New York City Horror Film Festival, Panic Fest, Shockfest Hollywood, Horrorants Fright Nights, Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, Nocturna Madrid International Fantastic Film Festival, Feratum Film Fest and the Tucson Terrorfest. Along the way we were also lucky enough to win awards for Best Director, Best Film, Best Editor, Best use of FX and Best Sound Design.
As for US release, you can expect something over the summer. No exact date yet, but the announcement will be coming soon! We’re psyched to finally make this film available to the general public!
7. Will we see a third “Girls on Ice” film or is this it for this series?
GK: The “On Ice” series is only just beginning! We’re currently working on the story for part 3, which is as of now still untitled. But Melissa and I are planning some pretty special things for the next one. We learned a lot of from Pinup Dolls on Ice, and we’re taking that knowledge into the next one. It’s going to be a beast and we can’t wait to share the details!
8. Finally, what other films and projects that you have coming up on the horizon?
GK: Once we get this whole “On Ice” thing out of our system, we want to change gears a little and make something a little more supernatural; maybe a haunting or a possession film. Something where we can really play with mood and atmosphere. I always tell people, making films in the “On Ice” series is like making action films! I think a haunting film would be a nice change of pace.
Thank you for your time and doing this interview and good luck with the success of "Pinup Dolls on Ice"
"Pinup Dolls on Ice" is currently playing the film festival circuit with no release plans at this time.
"Pinup Dolls on Ice": Official Trailer