Thursday, November 14, 2019

Interview with horror filmmaker, James Cullen Bressack: Appreciate the ones that like what you do, Ignore the ones that fight against it

Please tell us about yourself and what you do?

My name is James Cullen Bressack and I am a Writer/Director/Producer. I have made quite a bit of horror films! Film has always been a passion of mine, so essentially this is the only thing I ever could see myself doing.

Can you tell us a bit about any upcoming projects or events that you are working on?

I currently am working on Pre-Production on a few new films that I am not really allowed to talk about at the moment. I know, I know, that’s a lame answer. But please forgive me. In the meantime here is a trailer for my most recent film.

Blood Lake

Do you find the pressures of working in your industry significant with regard to feeling the need to have a “perfect” body?  If so, how do you navigate through that terrain?  How do you “not” judge yourself when others (critics, audience members, producers, etc.) “judge” you based on outward measures?

As a director, I don’t struggle with the outside pressures of having to look a certain way but my actors do. I see them obsess and spin about it. It’s a hard profession to be in and I try to be as supportive and understanding as possible. My older sister struggled with body image issues for many years and for a while it was very concerning and scary. Through therapy, she seems to have gotten much better.

I have struggled with my body image my entire life. After spending years as an overweight minor, I got into drugs in order to lose weight and also to help me eat less. I was borderline anorexic due to the drug consumption. I got very skinny, like scarily skinny. I eventually put all that weight back on. I don’t recommend anyone trying that method. I have battled with my fluctuating weight my entire life, I am now on a path to lose the weight in a healthy manner through proper diet and exercise. I know during that time, I didn’t see or understand why people were concerned, but it’s always important to realize that the people who care about you have no reason to lie to you when they are just trying to help. It’s important to recognize that these thoughts of people lying to you about your body is your mind convincing you of that, rather than actual fact. Your friends and family are there to help.

Also don’t feel that body image issues is only a female issue. Men, if you are experiencing this you are not alone. I remember I was ashamed to talk about these feelings due to feeling like it was a more feminine issue.

To follow up with that question, how do you deal with bullying or people talking negative about you? Can you give any examples of bullying in your personal life and how you handled it?

I remember growing up I was very thin, I use to train in martial arts and do a lot of sports. Then when my parents started to have conflict, and my dad fell ill, I started to stress eat. When I began stress eating I put on a lot of weight. When I became heavier I was picked on a lot. I realized quickly I had to be the funny guy and it changed people’s perception of me. Children can be very vicious. I experienced a lot of bullying from children due to my weight and also having a cleft chin.  “Ben and Jerry” “Chubby Stubby” and “Butt chin” or even “asschin” were frequent slurs about me. I even had a ton of people make fun of my last name, Bressack. I mean it was an easy one for kids to make fun of because of the popular ones for that were “Breast Sack” and “Ball Sack”. At first these insults use to really hurt me, but I started to realize they only defined me if I let them. Hurt people, hurt people. I started to analyze these vicious children and found that they themselves were insecure and scared. I got a small group of friends and ignored those who didn’t like me for me. I chose to march to the beat of my own drum.

Now a days I get a lot of insults for directing movies. People always have an opinion about film and the films I have done. Some love it, others hate it. But I ignore the insults because unlike them I am out there making things. I don’t allow harsh words to change what makes me happy. There are a lot of people in the world. Appreciate the ones that like what you do, Ignore the ones that fight against it. Jealousy breeds contention.

What made you want to get involved with Mental Fitness, Inc.?

I think it’s always important to give back. If you have experiences, share them. Show others they are not alone. Wear your heart on your sleeve.

Who were the role models in your life?

My parents and my grandma were my role models growing up. I also really looked up to Quentin Tarentino. I really wanted to be him. I think his films really solidified my need to be a filmmaker. Also interestingly enough, eventually I became my own role model. I have spent a lot of my life relying on myself to get me through things, and pushing forward. I’m not always right, but I always learn.

What do you define as beautiful?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think that perception is an interesting beast in that way. I believe if you look for it, you can find the beauty in everything. My job as a horror filmmaker is to make the horrible, beautiful.

How do you define inner beauty?

Inner beauty is defined by kindness. Judge someone by how they treat someone who can do nothing for them. One of the first things I was ever taught was the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

What is happiness?

I think happiness is the willingness to allow yourself to be yourself. It’s the willingness to relax within your own person and be happy.

Would you be willing to take the Real Deal pledge?  Thoughts about that? (http://wearetherealdeal.com/about/the-real-deal-pledge/)

I think so. Those are some great rules to live by.

How do you manage your stress levels in daily life?  Do you use music / art / dance, etc. as a coping tool?  Are there other things that you do to live mindfully?

I watch a lot of movies. Baths help me relax and thing also. I also love to write. I pour my emotions into my work. It makes me turn my stress into a positive. My films are sometimes a catharsis.

How do you find a work-life balance — as a man, relationships, a professional — what are keys to balance? Other thoughts / reflections?

I think it all blends together to be honest. I don’t know where one starts or one begins but it is all a part of me. And that synergy helps me do my work in the best way possible.

Thanks a million for taking the time to chat with me. If you are reading this please reach out anytime to me on twitter. I am very responsive to my fans.

 

James Twitter Link

BIO:

“Bursting upon the indie horror scene at the age of eighteen with his first feature My Pure Joy, James Cullen Bressack has been called “horror’s new hope” (StudioCity Patch – Mike Szymanski) and “a talent to watch out for.” (H.S.T.- Ben John Smith) as well as garnering rave reviews on almost every horror web site. Released by Media Blasters on their Fresh Meat Shriek Show label in 2012, the film quickly rose to the top of the best sellers list on Amazon.com in the horror category. His second feature, a real shocker, Hate Crime, was a festival favorite and garnered many awards. Bressack then made history with his next feature, To Jennifer, which was the first feature film shot entirely on an Iphone 5. The prolific filmmaker then made Pernicious, filmed in Thailand and due to be released later this year. His film, 13-13-13 followed and his most recent feature, Blood Lake, which aired on Animal Planet, was a top ratings getter. A winner of multiple Best Picture and Best director awards on the film festival circuit, James has become one of the few indie filmmakers Verified on twitter, where he has 70,000 + loyal fans.”

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