Chris Taylor and Tony Doupé Talk Winter Island

Promotional art for Winter Island. Adventus Films.

Winter Island will soon be showing at the 25th Annual Chicago Horror Film Festival. This award-winning tale of terror has already netted “Best Feature” at the Bleedingham Horror Film Festival and “Best of the Fest” at The Thing in the Basement Horror Film Festival. So, one can only expect that its May 3rd Chicago debut will keep the streak alive.

The film is about a family falling apart after losing a loved one. Supernatural phenomena abound, but more disturbing is the way these people disintegrate. Winter Island is a tale of grief turning people mad as they search for peace of mind. Every comfort opens a door to darker decisions, and woe to those who find the truth about this tragedy. It’s a spiraling descent that’s all too relatable at times which is what makes it an unnerving watch — there’s no doubt parts of it have happened for real.

I recently had the privilege of an online chat with some of the folks behind this interesting motion picture. Cinematographer-writer-producer Chris Taylor and director Tony Doupé were kind enough to give me a good chunk of their time. We discussed a variety of topics, mostly related to Winter Island, but also the process of putting together an indie horror flick.

Each filmmaker has an impressive resume behind them. Chris Taylor has worked on projects such as Marla, The Last Laugh, Stitched to Perfection, and wrote a thriller called Enmity Gauge. Tony Doupé has also been involved in a broad spectrum of creative endeavors. His resume includes 130 credits in television and film from Safety Not Guaranteed to “The Librarians”. Both have worn a variety of hats over the years. Tony is an accomplished actor and Chris has a sizeable number of cinematography credits. Together they bring an immense amount of experience to any project.

According to Sanatan Kadakia, at Hidden Ridge Productions, ““The script was written very well and with Chris’ dedication towards the project, I knew Chris would be able to execute and complete the project within budget and on-time.”

It doesn’t hurt that the two are already familiar with one another. Taylor and Doupé have worked on projects before. These include the short film Sadistic and the feature length flick Lemonheads. With Winter Island, they continue through genre territory telling an intense tale about a family disintegrating into insanity following tragedy.

In a way, the movie continues a theme that can be seen in a lot of Chris’ films. Over the years he’s been involved in shorts and full-length features which address poignant issues. Bloom, for instance, makes several subtle observations about mental health. As such, delving into similar territory with a horror film makes sense. Genre is a great way to explore uncomfortable topics, but I appreciated the candor when talking with Chris and Tony. Besides wanting to make something that catches an audience, they also understood that selling a horror flick to producers is easier than a straightforward drama about grief. It shows a pragmatism I think many artists need to learn to appreciate.

But I can’t tell their story better than they can. Below is a link to the video interview with both filmmakers. In addition, be sure to check out the Facebook page for Winter Island. It not only includes details about the film, but links to events such as Crypticon Seattle where it will also be showing May 3rd.

Written by Jay Rohr

J. Rohr is a Chicago native with a taste for history and wandering the city at odd hours. In order to deal with the more corrosive aspects of everyday life he writes the blog and makes music in the band Beerfinger. His Twitter babble can be found @JackBlankHSH.

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