An Interview with Kyle Hytonen (2014) – By Misty Layne

Last month, I reviewed “Massacre at Femur Creek” and today I got to sit down with it’s young director, Kyle Hytonen to talk about not only the movie but his production company’s former partnership with YouTube, his love of horror and how he HATES typing.

ML: In the October issue of Rogue Cinema, I reviewed your short film “Massacre at Femur Creek”, a campy horror-comedy-slasher flick about camping (ha! see what I did there?), which you wrote, directed and co-produced. The film was produced by A Henry Krinkle Production which, and correct me if I’m wrong, is your production company. Tell us – how much easier (or perhaps harder…) does it make it to be a filmmaker, having your own production company?

KH: Yes this is my production company. Having your own production company is nice to have because you can put your own stamp on your film. It is a bonus as well in regards to the financial side of it. All receipts and requisitions are listed with the company’s name which makes it easier to keep track if the Taxman comes knocking,

ML: According to A Henry Krinkle Production’s Facebook page, A Henry Krinkle Production was  partnered up with YouTube Canada to produce original content under an ad revenue share program for four years. How did that originally come about and what was that experience like? How do you think that partnership helped when you branched off into an independent film production company?

KH: Back in 2007, when YouTube was still a relatively small community of video-makers they started offering channels to join in on the revenue sharing partner program. When the Canadian branch opened up they invited me into the partner program. I had a small fan/subscriber base and had made a splash with a few videos on the site. Being in the program had it’s benefits, but as YouTube grew and grew it became harder to secure that fanbase. For a time I was producing a video weekly, and yes it was pretty cool to get a cheque with the Google logo on it every now and then! When I started making inide films exclusively there really wasn’t anything that being in the program benefited to me.

ML: Besides having written “Massacre at Femur Creek”, you’re also a writer here at Rogue Cinema, which makes one think that writing is where your biggest interests lay. Is that correct? What is the order when it comes to writing and filmmaking? What’s your personal preference?

KH: I do like writing, but I HATE typing, if that makes sense. I love creating an idea in my head and developing it, hashing out all the main plot points etc. When it comes time for me to sit in front of my laptop, fire up Final Draft and start turning that idea into a script that is where I seem to get stuck. I can’t really explain it. I understand how important that script can be so when I am in the script stages it may take a bit longer to get that first draft finished just because of my fear of typing.

ML: How did you come up with the idea for “Massacre at Femur Creek” and how long did it take for the idea to go from concept to completion?

KH: I was working as an extra on a TV show about 3 years ago. During the long down time in between shots I would bring out my trusty 180-page notebook and start writing. I would just write whatever ideas I had in my head at the time. At that time I wrote a short script about 3 stoner dudes going camping in the 1980’s, with one of the dudes going on a murderous rampage. The seed for the film was there and it always stuck with me. I started really poking away at the script for the film about a year ago and it progressed into what it is now.

ML: Is horror your favorite genre of literature and film? If so, why is that? And why do you think the horror genre tends to resonate so deeply with people?

KH: Yes it is my favorite genre, I’ve been in love with it since I was a kid. When I was 8 years old I was given a bootleg VHS tape from one of my friends. It had Friday The 13th Part 2, 3 and 4 on it (oh the glory days of EP VHS). I stayed up late one Saturday night and watched Part 2 and it terrified me like I have never been before. I did not sleep that night; I ended up staying awake in my bed until the sun came up. The next morning I wanted to do it all over again.
I think its the roller coaster effect that attracts people, especially if they experience it at a young age. There is a generally sentimental feeling when we think of how we discovered horror. We may not remember the first time we were happy, or sad, but we always remember being absolutely-scared-out-your-wits-terrfied!

ML: “Massacre at Femur Creek” is quite the fun and funny little film! However, I noted in my review that “for a film set in the 80s, there was way too much reference to current generational fads in the form of a philosophical stoner. Had the joke only been about how the stoner guy liked taking selfies (though that term is, of course, never used), it would have been fine but alas, there were more.” Can you walk us through your decision to use these “NOW” references for a “THEN” film? What was the concept you were aiming for?

KH: My main objective was to inject humor into the film and this seemed like a fun thing to do with that. Ultimately what I wanted to say was that people even back in 1984 operated the same way we did in their daily lives. I’d like to think back then folks wanted to find directions on a map easier, or have all their music in their pocket. People probably took tons of selfies in 1984, they just had to wait a week to get the pictures back from the developers. I think if anything is said about this concept is that we really haven’t evolved much, even from 30 years ago. The technology might be there, but we are still the same silly humans.

ML:  Why “Femur Creek”? For some reason, that name just makes me giggle so I need to know – real place? Inside joke? Random naming?

KH: Yes, Femur Creek is a real place here in Ontario. I was hiking a few years ago with a friend of mine, and along the trail was this sign. It was a crude, weathered wooden man-made sign nailed onto a tree, it just said “Femur Creek”. There was a small creek nearby so I assume that was  Femur Creek. It is not listed on a map, so it was obviously tagged by the locals who lived in the area. I took some pics of the sign, and it stuck with me as a great location for a horror movie. Matter of fact, one of the scenes of the film was actually shot not too far from the real Femur Creek.

ML: According to your Facebook page, you and A Henry Krinkle Production have been making films since 1998. What have you learned over the past 16 years when it comes to filmmaking?

KH: I can’t even begin to explain that one. So much. The best thing I think I can say is that every film is a huge learning experience. Every film I make I learn more than the last, what to do and what not to do. Even if I were to make ‘Femur Creek’ tomorrow the exact same way I know that I would have an entire new outlook on how to make a film. The best way to learn how to make a film is to just go out and make a film. Watch films, read, listen to music and discover as much as you can about yourself and this strange beautiful world.

ML: Where did the name “Henry Krinkle” come from?

Henry Krinkle is the alias that Robert DeNiro’s character Travis Bickle gives to a suspicious Secret Service agent in ‘Taxi Driver’, one of my all-time favorite films. I love that scene, it is so awkward funny and creepy, which is how I try to make my films. Send your information to Henry Krinkle, Hopper Ave. in Fairlawn, New Jersey!

ML: Does A Henry Krinkle Production put out only films from yourself or do you also produce others’ films?

KH: a henry krinkle production (written in small case on purpose) only produces and releases films that I have directed. I’d like to keep it like that. My favorite film-maker is Paul Thomas Anderson, and if you notice all of his films are produced under his Ghoulardi Film Company banner, his production company. I would love to model my company after his.

ML: “Massacre at Femur Creek” is currently running the festival circuit and has made it’s Toronto premiere. How has the festival circuit experience been? Is this your first time on the circuit or are you old hand? 🙂

KH: This is my second film to make the festival run. My found footage horror film ‘Follow’ played at 10 festivals in the US and Canada last year. The experience was great, I have met a lot of awesome film-makers and done some great networking. I was at a film fest in New York last winter and I just so happened to meet Tom Sullivan there, the guy who did all the special effects on the original Evil Dead. He was even so nice to give me his blood recipe that he used in the film, which of course, I used in ‘Massacre at Femur Creek’!  I hope that MAFC can double that amount and I can meet more awesome people. The more exposure that film can get the better.

ML: What’s up next? What should we be looking forward to in the future from yourself and your production company?

KH: For now, I am going to tour MAFC as much as possible on the festival circuit. Come see me and the film if it is playing in your town! I have a short that has been submitted for funding with a few Government grant programs and I am awaiting to hear back about those, if approved I will be making my next short, ‘The Patch’ a horror thriller about a family who is attacked by a Coven of witches. I am also in the very early stages of building ‘Massacre at Femur Creek’ into a feature length film, which will also be on the horizon in the near future.