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My name is Demeter Lorant, I'm the writer, director and editor of Dreamland Awaits, a psychological indie horror, my first real feature film. 


What was the inspiration for the movie?

I always enjoyed horror movies that are somehow connected to a house like The Babadook, The Amityville Horror or The Tale of Two Sisters among many others. It gives the film a claustrophobic feeling and makes the house an actual character in the movie affecting the overall vibe.  The mood and lore is also heavily inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. The main story idea has been in my head for many years, but I just started to develop the screenplay last year. Since the movie was shot in my own house I could write the script exactly for that location which helped a lot in making things make sense in space and time.


How big was the budget and how long did it take to make?
Dreamland Awaits is a micro-budget feature film, meaning it cost around 20.000 dollars to make. We were trying to get as many things free as possible, I used my own house in the countryside as the main location and the crew was very minimal, 3 people including me. We bought all the equipment, nothing was rented - this gave us the opportunity to go back to the location any time to shoot some more, even months after principal photography was concluded. The limitations of the budget also meant that I had to compromise and basically adapt the story to what we had available for the shooting. This also heavily changed the story and atmosphere of the movie. We had to come up with creative solutions to solve the budget restraints, but in the end I feel that it added more to the movie than it took away from it. The main shooting with the actors took 11 days and we had around 6-8 days to shoot the establishing shots, closeups, mood shots, practical effects etc - basically anything that didn’t require the actors to be on set. The pre-production took around 4 months and it is going to be another 3-4 months to edit the movie and do all the necessary post-production work on it.


It’s a movie made in Hungary by Hungarians. How come it’s shot in English with international actors?
Our goal was to make an international movie which can be distributed and understood anywhere in the world - this meant two things: the subject and genre had to be international and horror films are well liked around the world and we chose the speaking language of the movie to be English, so we can reach a wider audience and not to worry about having a silly dubbing over the original language.

Who are the actors?
Nicolas Hackenberg, our lead, is a French actor living here in Hungary. He previously played parts in Fauda, FBI International and many other TV series and movies. It’s his first leading role. It was a special experience to work with him, in more than two thirds of the movie he is the only one on screen so it was a very demanding shoot for him, not much downtime, always on camera and always in character, he did an amazing job as Josh, the cop whose family has been kidnapped.

Rebecka Johnston (Midsommar, The Strangers - Chapter 1) plays the owner of the house where the majority of the movie is shot, she is a very talented Swedish actress living in Budapest, Hungary.
Jonathan C. Nelson, an American actor also had a minor role playing a detective.

How were the practical effects made?
We were trying to make everything work in camera, so all the special effects are practical. There are maybe 3 or 4 shots where we used VFX because we couldn’t do it any other way but hopefully it won’t be noticeable at all. We are not against VFX by the way, but we’ve felt the subject and mood of the film fits better with practical effects and we also didn’t want to have a several months to a year long post-production process because of the CGI and VFX. If it's on camera then it’s done after it’s shot, maybe a bit of color-correction here and there but that’s it, and that makes the post-production process that much faster and the effects that much more authentic.


How was the movie financed?

The movie was made 100% from our own pockets with Gábor Sz. Nagy, my co-producer. We’ve made several short films in the past few years and although they were successful at festivals we couldn’t reach a wider audience because of the limitations of short film distribution. We felt that we have a bigger chance to reach more people and get distribution if we make a feature length film. We were thinking of getting state funds but here in Hungary the genre filmmaking is almost non-existent and there is just no support for independent filmmakers. We realized that if we want to make this huge leap forward we will have to fund it ourselves.

How and when is the movie going to be released?
We are deep in post-production which will still take around 3 months to complete but our plan is to start sending it out to festivals as soon as September this year, this is the first round of release. We are actively looking for a distributor, our chances of finding one should go up once the movie hits the festival circuit, but we are also happy to self-distribute it through AVOD platforms worldwide, time will tell.

"The mood and lore is heavily inspired by H.P. Lovecraft."

"Our goal was to make an international movie which can be distributed and understood anywhere in the world"


I was born in Hungary, 1982, began my career in 1999 when I made my first amateur short horror film which was followed by a string of short films, documentaries and music videos. In 2003 I received the award for best editing at The New York Short Film Festival with my short Lag. In 2011 I founded my own animation studio and production company Full Screen Studio in Hungary and we’ve been producing corporate and personal projects.

Director’s filmography:

2023 SILEO (animated short, 8)

2021 Possessed by Aliens (short film, 13’)

2016 Lucky Girl (short film, 17’)

2012 Nothing (animated short, 10’)

2005 Urine (short film, 12’)

2004 Royal Flush (short film, 15’)

2003 LAG (short film, 7’)

Awards and nominations:
2024 Budapest Independent Film Festival  - Best Animated Short, SILEO
2024 ScorpiusFest, USA - Best Animated Short, SILEO
2023 El Grito Fantastic Film Festival, Best Sound, SILEO
2023 Montevideo Fantástico, Nominated for Best Animated Short, SILEO
2023 Brooklyn SciFi Film Festival, Nominated for Best Animated Short, SILEO
2023 Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival, Nominated for Best Animated Short, SILEO
2021 Assurdo Film Festival, Best Sci-fi / Fantasy / Action Short, PBA
2016 The Optical Theatre Film Festival, Best Short Nominee, Lucky Girl

2004 The New York Short Film Festival, Best Editing, Lag

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