Reel Talker Podcast: Special Guest Deon Taylor

This is Traffik week here at Reel Talker. The superb thriller hits theaters on 4/20 and it’s one of those must-see movies. I had a chance to interview the writer and director of it, Deon Taylor. If you checked out the interview, you already know that Deon had so much good stuff to share that it was only fitting that he’d come back to do a podcast with me. Luckily enough Deon was gracious enough to give his time.

In this interview, we touch on all sort of stuff, including the film and we even make some NBA Playoff predictions. Make sure to check out the interview with Deon, it’s a lot of fun, and go see Traffik in theaters!




Interview: Filmmaker Jesper Ganslandt

Beast of Burden is a tension filled crime thriller starring Daniel Radcliffe. The film releases on Blu-ray and DVD on April 3, 2018. Prior to the release I had a chance to speak to the director of the film Jesper Ganslandt. Jesper discusses the making of the film and Radcliffe’s performance among other topics. Listen to the audio of the interview below:


I brought up Locke and Phone Booth as movies that seemed comparable to Beast of Burden. It was interesting to hear the comparison and analysis Jesper made about Locke and how he wanted to make his film more aggressive the way he shot it.

Jesper mentioned the incorporation of the European style of filmmaking that he comes from and incorporating it with the American one. My comment on how the film felt like two films split in half, with the first half being a lot more calm and subdued and the second half having a lot more action. American films tend to focus on the quick action and goes by the wayside of slower pace. The blend of styles really works for this film.

Jesper followed that up by commenting on the movie Buried, which he felt that looked over some of the details and didn’t slow down enough. I completely agree with that statement. Buried would have worked even better had it been more detailed and didn’t try to jump to the next twist.

Daniel Radcliffe is one of the most versatile actors out there. This is the second director now, first one being Greg McLean, who spoke glowingly of Daniel’s work. It’s safe to say that all the Harry Potter stuff is behind him at this point. Radcliffe went from a popular child actor to a really great all-around actor.

My favorite question to ask filmmakers and actors is what they do in their free time and the passions they enjoy. I really liked Jesper’s answer, so simple, yet so meaningful. It was his family. His children are his passion and that’s what he invests his time into outside of his work. That’s great.

Beast of Burden is a really slick and intriguing film and Radcliffe is indeed terrific in it.

BEAST OF BURDEN is out on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on April 3, 2018

Interview: Filmmaker Susan Walter

Writer and director an all-around filmmaker Susan Walter has had a long career in the entertainment industry, but she finally has a chance to develop her film. She wrote and directed the upcoming film All I Wish, starring the illustrious Sharon Stone. I had the privilege to speak to Susan about the film and a lot more.


I really enjoyed speaking to Susan. She was very engaging and present. My favorite part about talking to someone about a project is actually getting to talk to them and bouncing theories and ideas, and that’s what Susan and I were able to do during out conversation.

It was great to hear her share the story of the woman who came up to her after a screening to tell her how much she related to the movie and how she felt she could date at an older age also. I felt comfortable speaking to Susan, she’s one of those uniquely open and relatable individuals.

I really took away some valuable insight and perspective from the movie. I talked to Susan about my personal dating life and how the movie gave me a perspective on it.

It’s great to hear that Susan’s long road in the business finally came to a stop she had been working to achieve. I sure hope she writes and directs many more films. If they are as good as this one, she’s gonna be a household name real fast.

(Apologies for the static noises, was unable to edit them out)

ALL I WISH releases in theaters, VOD and Digital HD on March 30, 2018

Interview: Director Saul Dibb

Journey’s End releases in NYC and LA theaters on March 16 (March 30 in Chicago). It’s a raw and gritty war drama starring Sam Claflin, Asa Butterfield and Paul Bettany. Recently I had a chance to speak to the director of the film, Saul Dibb (The Duchess). Saul talks about the making of the film and his inspirations for it. He also reveals what music he listens to. Listen to the interview with Saul and find out all that and more.


Some interesting factoids from Saul. The first one being that the he was inspired by documentary movies and Alien. Hard to imagine that Alien would inspire a war drama, but the more I thought about it and listened to Saul, it makes a lot of sense for this film to emulate it. The claustrophobia and tight spaces, just spacing in general used in both of those movies makes them a lot more similar than anyone could imagine.

Watching the movie I felt a a certain level of authenticity that you don’t get from many movies of this genre. The characters just felt raw and vulnerable and the performances matched that. Saul explains that he wanted to create the environment for the actors that would match the real life struggle the characters would face. You know he meant it when he describes the conditions the actors had to be in, including the cold temperatures and mud they had to deal with. I can only imagine how it felt for the actors to have to pick up an oil lamp in order to have light.

I loved hearing how he’s into hip-hop music and how he listens to late 80’s and 90’s hip-hop to clear his mind. That’s the kind of tidbit that no one would have know, unless they personally know Saul.

I found Saul to be an interesting guy who has an interesting perspective and approach, at least from what he said about this film. I’m interested to see his upcoming projects. I’d like to see another war themed movie from him.

‘JOURNEY’S END’ releases in NYC and LA theaters on March 16 (in Chicago on March 30)

Interview: Director Ben Steele

Murder mystery stories are some of the most popular shows on TV, there is a reason Dateline keeps many at home on Friday nights, it’s just so damn compelling. Investigation Discovery specializes on these crazy real life murder mystery stories. A fascinating one that’s currently airing is called Love & Hate Crime. I spoke to the director of it, Ben Steele. Listen to what Ben had to say about the access he had to the people involved in the story and how he approached telling it.


Lots of interesting take aways from what Ben said. His approach to telling the story and how he tried to keep it all up to the audience to interpret the facts presented and for them to decide how they feel about it. It’s such a liberty for a director to leave it to the audience for them to make their assumptions. There is no agenda, just great reporting and presentation of the findings.

I found it surprising that he mentioned the killer Josh being likable at times during his interactions with him. That’s hard to envision finding a killer likable, but when Ben presents the points about him being potentially a victim of his own surroundings.

This story has long lasting impact, not only on those involved or close to it, but to the LGBT community.

What struck me was that Ben is not even American and for him to be a British filmmaker and try to understand the cultural situations in small town America is telling of how detailed and skilled of a filmmaker he is.

ID’s ‘LOVE & HATE CRIME’ is currently airing on Investigation Discovery channel (check your local listings)

Video Interview: Filmmaker Laura Checkoway

Chicago based Kartemquin Films is represented well at the 80th Oscars. Steve James’ feature documentary Abacus: Small Enough to Jail and Laura Checkoway’s documentary short Edith+Eddie. I had an opportunity to sit down and chat with Laura about her film and what she took away from it.



Laura was so sweet and nice. She was shy and endearing. I really enjoyed talking to her. Such an accomplished person, yet so humble. She really seemed invested in the film and I could tell the passion she had for it as she spoke about it.

The film Edith+Eddie is an incredible story of an elderly couple who marry in their 90’s and sadly things don’t go well from there. It’s a sweet story of love, but it’s also heartbreaking. It’s really a must-see documentary. Such a powerful story told so well in just 30 minutes. Fingers crossed Laura comes away with a deserving Oscar.

Video Interview: Filmmaker Steve James

Steve James is one of the best documentary filmmakers around. He directed acclaimed docs such as Hoop Dreams and the Roger Ebert movie Life Itself among many other. His latest movie Abacus: Small Enough to Jail just was nominated for an Oscar. Recently I had a chance to sit down with Steve to talk about Abacus, his Oscar nomination and a lot more.




I’m grateful for a fantastic opportunity to talk to a filmmaking legend. Steve had a lot of interesting points that he made. It was great to pick his mind on what he looks for in a project and how it affects him. As you can tell Steve seems to be a humble guy who really has deep passion for his projects. He has affected many lives. I sure hope he ends up with the Oscar, but either way he’s a winner already.

Steve, hope you enjoyed that sandwich I was keeping you from eating.

Congrats to Chicago based Kartemquin Films for representing Abacus: Small Enough to Jail and the documentary short Edith + Eddie