Interview: Kevin Epperson Directs ‘The Courtship,’ Screening in Chicago on June 21, 2018

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CHICAGO – The dark, mysterious film genre of noir has been a hand-in-glove for most of the cinema’s epic history. Director Kevin Epperson’s latest short film, “The Courtship,” uses all the familiar tools within the noir theme… the use of black&white, plus the roles of the hapless mark and the mysterious dame… to showcase the story of online dating gone awry. Epperson will be screening “The Courtship” at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Chicago, on Thursday, June 21st, 2018, at 7pm (click link below for more details).

Chicago Screening on June 21st at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema
Photo credit: EZ’s Plan Productions/One Tear Productions reached out to director Epperson via email, and he answered some questions about the use of the classic genre form in “The Courtship.” Where do you best connect to the genre of noir as a filmmaker? What makes noir right for the story of ‘The Courtship’?

Kevin Epperson: One of my favorite parts of being a filmmaker, and a story teller, is in the control of the narrative… to take the audience for a ride, so to speak. Most of my films have been peppered with red herrings. I enjoy the ‘bait and switch’ aspect in my story telling, because it evokes thought from the audience.

I chose the genre of noir, because I felt like it lends itself to the subject matter we are dealing with, and aesthetically it allowed us to stretch out creatively in terms of how cinematographer Jason Deuchler designed the lighting, and how I made other decisions regarding the wardrobe, and the overall look of the piece. What direction did you want the characters to go into when approaching the material? Were there any specific assignments you gave them to get into the proper mode for their characters?

Epperson: Again, going back to the bait-and-switch element in the film, I wanted the characters to play out in one direction – to be portrayed in a very cut and dry manner, only to have true intentions and motivations to be revealed slowly throughout. Both lead actors, Kara Zediker and Guy Wicke, are well established, and I knew they had the range to pull off the roles that I cast them in. In preparation for the film, we worked together extensively to get all the beats right for their characters. I wanted them both to come to set extremely prepared, which they both were. When you were formulating this story, what type of mystery did you want to focus on, in order to get the reveal that you wanted?

Epperson: I really wanted to focus on the misdirection aspect of the story, to play into the ‘whodunnit’ tropes of classic noir films. That was a major reason why I wanted the look of the classic tone of black and white. It helps to get the audience immersed in the universe you are creating. Your filmography indicates you took a long hiatus after your feature film of 2011, ‘The Interrogation.’ What brought you back to filmmaking, and why was ‘The Courtship’ the natural type of genre and story you wanted to do in that return?

On Set: Director Kevin Epperson of ‘The Courtship’
Photo credit: EZ’s Plan Productions/One Tear Productions

Epperson: In reality, I haven’t been on a long hiatus from filmmaking. After I directed my feature film, I transitioned into the world of music videos, concerts and commercials, while still doing a few shorts here and there. In the time between ‘The Interrogation’ and ‘The Courtship’ I directed over a dozen music videos, for example.

With ‘The Courtship’ I wanted to construct a far reaching story that resonates with an audience. It is my commentary in essence, on the mistreatment of women in society. The ‘date rape’ culture has gone on for far too long. And until recently with the #metoo movement, it had been for the most part swept under the rug. I created this film as a sort of ‘what if’ scenario, as if women were able to enact revenge without consequences. I want the audience to leave this film questioning what is real and what isn’t, and also to question their own behavior in the real world, as well as what they witness in other people’s behavior. Finally, what would be your pitch to get the potential audience out to your screening on Thursday, June 21st?

Epperson: This a true Chicago event celebrating the creativity of Chicago filmmakers. ‘The Courtship’ is a high quality film with a compelling story, impeccable acting and a smack-in-the-face ending that will keep you questioning the story long after you’ve left the theater.

“The Courtship” will be screened on June 21st, 2018 (7pm), at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema, 2828 North Clark Street, Chicago. For tickets and more information, click here. Featuring Kara Zediker, Guy Wicke, Wendy Hayne, Arch Harmon and Kenny Thompson. Written and directed by Kevin Edward Epperson. Not Rated. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2018 Patrick McDonald,

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