Slicing & Dicing with Austin Vesely

The Chicago-based director discuss his favorite slashers flicks, his new film Slice and Chicago’s finest pizza.

Chicago collective, SAVEMONEY, in-house director is branching off to producing motion-pictures for the big screen. Vesely who has been working on his upcoming film, Slice, which is a comedy-based horror flick that will star Chance The Rapper which depicts a skeptical pizza delivery guy who has been continuously hearing reports about delivery man-related deaths will officially be a project that we’ll be able to consume in 2016. The infamously comedic director sheds light on how Chicago has shaped his lens, his inspirations and his pizza of choice in Chicago. Austin Vesely by Nolis Anderson

When did you realize you wanted to study film?

It’s something I’ve been interested in my whole life. My grandma left her video camera at my house once when I was a kid and I just started making “TV shows” with my sister and whatnot. I didn’t get serious about it until high school, when I made my first short film. That was when I realized it was something I actually loved and wanted to pursue.

Favorite 90s cult film?

This is such a specific question. For some reason the Disney Channel original movie “Brink” came to mind right away. I feel like that movie made me think I was a good rollerblader for like a good month. Also it did the impossible: it made rollerblades seem cool.

Who inspires your latest work?

I’ve been all over the place with my viewing lately. I’ve been watching everything from “Night of the Hunter” to the new Fox show “Scream Queens” — I love it. I’m getting heavily into pre-production mode for “Slice” so I’m going anywhere and everywhere for inspiration. My short answer: Kubrick, always.

Favorite pizza in Chicago?

I love going to Boiler Room off the California Blue Line and having their PBJ special, which is a slice, a tall boy of Pabst, and a shot of Jameson for $8.50. It’s beautiful. There’s nothing in the world like a Lou Malnati’s deep dish sausage pizza though. It’s a thing of beauty.

Speaking of pizza, this new horror film starring Chance the Rapper, how long have you been working on Slice?

I’ve been working on Slice in some capacity for going on three years now. I first developed the script as a short film around Christmas of 2012. I spent much of the first half of 2014 turning it into a feature, and I’ve now been actively producing the thing with Brandon Riley for a little over a year now.

Whether they’re the music artists I’m collaborating with, or the artists on my side of the camera who I’m working with, they’ve all inspired me in different ways.

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When can we officially anticipate the film itself coming out?

It’ll likely be a late 2016 release.

Tell us the synopsis of the film?

The movie is about a town called Kingfisher where people and ghosts live side-by-side. Pizza delivery drivers start getting murdered on the job and the city is looking for someone to blame. Ghosts? A disgraced werewolf?

Why a horror film?

Horror is such a fun genre. You can play with so much. I’d almost say this movie is more of a comedy with horror conventions built in. But it just developed organically from the initial idea about pizza delivery drivers being serial murdered.

What are your favorite horror flicks?

The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby, Scream (RIP Wes Craven), A Nightmare on Elm Street (also RIP Wes Craven), Alien, Let the Right One In, Silence of the Lambs, Shaun of the Dead, Attack the Block, The Birds…there’s so many good ones.

As a music video director, directing the one-take clip ’Sunday Candy’; describe that experience.

That is my career highlight so far. It was a really big undertaking, but it was the most amazing assembly of people all working toward this common goal. We did about three weeks of pre-production and then spent three days on the stage at Resolution Studios in Chicago–one day to build, one day to rehearse, and one day to shoot. It went incredibly smooth, which was shocking because there were so many moving pieces (literally). I’m just really proud of it.

Aside from being behind-the-scenes, you’re quite the comedian as we can see via Twitter and most importantly in your short with Eryn Allen Kane for “Sex Tape Day”

I hate jokes.

Do you plan on being in front of the camera anytime soon?

I’ll probably step into some minuscule role in “Slice” just for kicks, but I’d love to do more acting in the future. It’s a blast.

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“‘Sunday Candy’ is my career highlight so far … it was the most amazing assembly of people all working towards this common goal; I’m really proud of it…”

How has being in Chicago shaped your creative lens?

I think the main thing is the people that I’ve been around since working here. Whether they’re the music artists I’m collaborating with, or the artists on my side of the camera who I’m working with, they’ve all inspired me in different ways. I also think there’s a certain thing about Chicago as a mentality and as a community that’s so distinct from say NYC or LA. We’re always building up our city as a world class arts city, and I think that really inspires all the creatives here.

How does it feel to literally document your friends’ successes as it comes to them?

It’s pretty amazing. There was no way to anticipate it happening, and being so close to it, you sometimes forget that it IS happening, because you’re just living your life. But it makes me incredibly proud to have been any small part of the amazing things my friends have done, and I hope to continue to be a part of it in the future.

Any new projects we can hope for?

SLIIIIIIIIIIIICE!

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Terrell