Anthony Wise and Nabil Elouahabi in Marrakech
Dialogue scene in the Jemaa al Fna, with Anthony Wise and Nabil Elouahabi, deleted from final cut
Holly de Jong and Anthony Wise
Holly de Jong and Anthony Wise
Anthony Wise and Nabil Elouahabi
Anthony Wise and Nabil Elouahabi
Holly de Jong, Anthony Wise and Nabil Elouahabi
2007 Fire Island Film and Video Festival Awards
HUNTINGTON, NY September 20, 2007
Best Foreign Film - In the Place of the Dead
US Premiere
David in Panama (Hat)
The screenwriter channels Truman Capote
A brief encounter in Marrakech conjures up an ancient Arabian demon.
UK/Morocco, 2006. Pathétique Films/Ymer Films.
Produced by David McGillivray, Habib el Kilali, Tijani Chrigui.
Directed by Keith Claxton.
Written by David McGillivray.
ph: Sam Hardy. sd rec: Godfrey Kirby. ed: Chuck Cartmel. music: Dominic Glynn. make-up: Ian Brown. assoc prod: Naim Haris. asst dir: Gary White. location manager: Aziz Hamichi. sd design: Steve Rogers. on-line ed: Bryan Farrar. gaffer: Abderrahim Bissar. make-up asst: Karen O’Sullivan. Ms de Jong’s hair by: Fernando Hortiguela. prod assts: Haj Majid, Osman Aboulhab. cast: Nabil Elouahabi (Karim), Anthony Wise (Peter), Holly de Jong (Claire), David McGillivray (Englishman), Ali Drissizouakke (Boy in street), Chakir Denyaoui,  Badr al Moudan (Boys in square). Colour. 13 mins. Shot in Marrakech, Morocco,  December 8-12, 2005.
“I wanted to shoot something in Marrakech because at the time I had a couple of apartments there and I thought I could save on accommodation.  The story’s two ideas joined together. I looked up djinns on the Internet and got some information. The ‘black dog’ is part of Arabian mythology, but the rest is nonsense. I made it all up. The Peter/Karim encounter is inspired by a friend’s experience in London. He picked up a boy, who pulled a knife on him and robbed him blind. Scary.

I didn’t have any movie contacts in Morocco. So I looked up companies at the British Film Institute and then went to visit one. The woman was very helpful. Yes, she’d love to co-produce. I said it’s a horror film. She said, ‘No problem. We’ve just worked on The Hills Have Eyes.’ I said it’s got a gay theme. She went white. She said, ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea.’ There were no further communications between us. She palmed me off on to a guy called Habib el Kilali, who seemed to love making no-budget films that make no money. I was prepared to write two scripts, one with the gay relationship taken out, which we’d show to the authorities, the other the real one, which we’d shoot secretly. None of that was necessary. Habib didn’t think there would be problems because the film was ‘art.’ He got all the permissions and then some. At one point we had the Chief of Police holding back the crowds in the Jemaa al Fna (‘Place of the Dead.’) But I honestly think nobody ever read the script.

I’m pretty sure everybody had a great time in Marrakech and I’d love to work there again. But there’s not much chance. Habib got annoyed with me for my ‘nobody read the script’ joke and told me to take his name off the credits. He hasn’t replied to any of my e-mails for a long time. I love IPOD, as we call it, particularly the way it looks; but I don’t think it’s that much better than any of my other movies. And yet it’s been far and away the most successful. The premiere at Frightfest on 27th August, 2006, was low-key. Not enough entrails for a Frightfest  audience.  But then the film had a sold-out screening at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival on 29th March, 2007, and almost immediately requests started coming in from festivals all over the world. I’ve kind of lost track of everywhere it’s been, but I can remember Milan, Barcelona, Chicago, Cologne, Sydney, Connecticut, Miami, twice in Texas and twice in New York! In September, 2007, IPOD was voted Best Foreign Film at the Fire Island Film Festival. In January, 2008, it was announced at the Sundance Festival that IPOD  had won 2nd prize in the 9th Annual PlanetOut Short Movie Awards. That attracted the attention of MTV and IPOD  premiered on its Logo channel on 4th June, 2008.

As a result of all this excitement I thought I’d better make another gay horror movie. God, how I regretted that decision. See Abracadaver!