shivaan Makker also goes by Sullivan McGuffin. Originally hailing from New Jersey, he now resides in Los Angeles, California, graduating from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts in 2015. His films are largely influenced by cinematic catalysts including; Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, David Cronenberg, and Fritz Lang. Shivaan, or Sullivan, loves to write thrillers and create anything with suspense. Specializing in shorts, he has worked as an art director, writer, producer, and film director on various films including 'Room 203' (2014), 2 Brothers (2016), Inside (2016), and now Pastiche (2020). Boasting a total of 160 wins, and 50 nominations thus far.
Shivaan, when did you discover this was your career path?
S- After watching films like Psycho, I always wanted to amaze, shock, or scare people and watch for audience reactions. It’s a certain feeling of joy I get when the reactions are filled with emotions.
Pastiche is about notoriety and infamy. It’s about how people can get so inspired by the things they see on screen. It's obvious that Kubrick inspired Pastiche, what fascinates you about his work? And are there any other filmmakers that inspire you?
S- For Kubrick, definitely his attention for meticulous detail! I am also absolutely inspired by Alfred Hitchcock. His attention to his own phobias and integrating them into his work is what I aspire to do as an artist.
Your short fascinated us, how did you come up with it?
S- There were a lot of violent crimes happening that I couldn’t make sense of until I dove deep into the rabbit hole. Most crimes involved some sort of infamy and notoriety quality. Some were copycat crimes. I took these and turned them into themes for the film.
This short has an excellent cast how was your casting process?
S- I saw some natural qualities that matched the characters and their respective actors and decided to play with the qualities they shared. I wanted to create something very special, violent, and dark. Something that would be very realistic, relatable, and relative to today.
We noticed an incredible cinematography and the short's look is impeccable. What was the process behind it?
S- Istvan Lettang is a very talented cinematographer. Sometimes we shared the same instinct in regard to the story, but when I found myself stuck or overthinking, Istvan would come in with his few recommendations and we made it work.
What was the biggest challenge for you?
S- The stunts were the biggest challenge because there was a lot of violence. I did not want to cut anything short. We had to fire the first stunt coordinator because him and I were not seeing eye to eye. However, the next one was very clever and talented. We managed to shoot everything safely because of him.
A fun fact about your short.
S- I have a few:
We shot it in 7 days.
My dad was going through chemotherapy at the time.
Makeup artists said it was the most blood they had ever used.
We had no rehearsals.
These are great fun facts, also I'm so sorry to hear about your dad,
You said that Pastiche is a limited series and this is the first part, what should we expect next?
S- Each part of the series would be a different movie that the killers reenact.
What fascinates you about true crime?
S- Everything! But most importantly the nature and the events that lead up to the crime. Sometimes they are more interesting than the motive.
What's your take on true crimes' copycats?
S- They are going to keep happening. To prevent them, you have to look for red flags.
During the development of your short, we learn about your main character's past, do you want to state that your formation and the way you are raised can create these copycats/ disturbed individuals?
S- It’s definitely been argued before whether a person is born or bred to be a killer. I like to think that one is bred to kill based on certain circumstances.
You live and work in LA but you come from the east coast, New Jersey, which differences would you recognize in the industry between these two sides of the states? S- The east coast is great because you can do things very cheap. LA is great because you have a 30 mile radius of every terrain. You can shoot any type of film in LA.
What's the best part of your job, what's your favorite step in the process? S- Directing or editing as they are more hands-on for me.
What would you say to someone that wants to start this path as you did? S-Watch a lot of movies before you start to make them.
What do you regret and what would you have wanted to know earlier? S- Try to rehearse whenever you can.
What's your dream project? S- A film about the North Hollywood shootout but in real-time.
Who would you suggest this short to, and why? S- Anyone who loves a good thriller film!
What do you expect from the future? What do you hope it will bring you on a professional level? S-Hard to say, however, I do expect a lot out of myself if anything.
Your short won different awards with us, we truly enjoyed this work, how is it going with festivals so far? S- It’s been going great! Can’t wait to release the film.
Any upcoming projects? S- Currently making a movie that is similar to The Silence of the Lambs and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This one is a feature.
Thank you for your time, we wish you the best for your career and your future projects and we can't wait to see what's next for you!
S- Thank you so much! My feature should be in production soon!
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