The Movie Waffler Interview - THE FOREST OF THE LOST SOULS Director José Pedro Lopes | The Movie Waffler

Interview - THE FOREST OF THE LOST SOULS Director José Pedro Lopes

José Pedro Lopes
The Portuguese filmmaker discusses his creepy new film.

José Pedro Lopes, director of The Forest of the Lost Souls (opening this week in the US via Wild Eye Releasing), attributes Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers, among others, for pushing him to pursue his dream of making horror movies.


Jose, where does your love of filmmaking stem from?

I grew up in Oporto (Portugal) in the '90s. As a teen I would go all the way around town, taking the bus with my brother, to rent out some VHS nasty horror film, or a Friday the 13th sequel we hand't seen. So I grew up loving cinema and video, as something that was a place and was physical. Also in my town there was only one film festival, called Fantasporto. It was very big in genre cinema, and the only way I could watch Asian cinema. For that, I grew up very into extreme Asian films. As a teen I started making movies in S-VHS, and then moved onto better formats.

Did you study?

I actually studied Management in Oporto, then did a minor in Film Production in Spain. I'm very into film producing and project organisation - directing came naturally in this case as it was a very personal project.

When did you first pick up a camera?

I was 10 probably, and it was my dad's family camera. I loved filming beautiful frames of my family just in vacation.

And what was your first professional project?

My first movies were all produced by me - only two years ago I started acting as producer and line producer on other people's projects.

What film, would you say, cemented your career as a filmmaker?

In 2007, me and my team did a horror slasher short called A Noiva (The Bride). It was a spooky ghost bride short. It was in a time when short films were not as many. It played festivals for five years - and it never let us go. It obliged us to do more.

You obviously gravitate towards horror. Where’s the love of the spooky flicks come from?

It came from growing up watching Takeshi Miike's movies, and also all of John Carpenter's movies back to back. I grew up in video stores, and Asian and genre films were a big thing for me. They were the kind of movies nobody else liked.

What do you consider your most accomplished film?

You learn a lot from doing stuff wrong, from the mistakes. Every new short was better, and now I really feel a new feature would definitely have improved stuff over The Forest of the Lost Souls. In a way, I guess I wouldn't make a movie as complicated and hard to put in a box as The Forest - maybe that's actually a bad thing. The world needs original stuff.

Have you gotten even better as a filmmaker from directing shorts? If so, how?

I think that if you have a script and a team, directing a feature is easier than directing a short. The story is longer, and characters more clear. There's room to add stuff up, even to improvise in the narrative. As feature films have various storylines, you can stretch out a bit of something you like, or cut something that while shooting you figured you didn't. In a short you have less room to change stuff.

My favourite film as a writer and producer is Video Store by Ana Almeida, a 17 minute romantic drama. It is a very personal, biographical story. I would love to make a longer version of it, or something as inspired as that. It is a movie that really tells something about me.

How excited are you for the film to be playing in theatres in America?

For a Portuguese indie filmmaker, opening theatrically in the USA is more than a dream come true. It makes a world of a difference saying that what we did meant something and was worth it. We were very happy to be playing theatrically in Portugal, but this is a bit like the MainStage in a music festival. This is America.