Exciting news from Phillip G Carroll (FMA '14) -- his feature film, THE HONEYMOON PHASE is set to be released August 21st from Dark Sky Films! The sci-fi thriller (think Black Mirror type) has gotten huge write ups and looks to be a must for fans of Sci-fi horror. Check out the trailer:https://youtu.be/
We were lucky enough to get to connect with Carroll and ask him a few questions about his work, his time at Temple, and what he's up to next!
Tell us a little about your film THE HONEYMOON PHASE -- what was your inspiration for the project and what do you hope it will show audiences?
THE HONEYMOON PHASE is a sci-fi psychological thriller following Tom and Eve, two struggling young lovers who lie about their relationship in order to enter THE MILLENNIUM PROJECT, an experiment for married couples run by the mysterious Director and Handler. With the promise of $50,000, Tom and Eve must survive 30-days isolated together in a futuristic smart home, while the researchers attempt to determine why couples fall out of love. Over the course of their stay, Eve begins a violent decent into madness as she questions if her lover really is the man she thinks he is.
A paranoid sci-fi thriller about the nature of trust in relationships, THE HONEYMOON PHASE is as much classic Twilight Zone as contemporary Black Mirror, and an all-too-terrifying answer to the question, “How well can you ever really know someone?” Jim Schubin (Boardwalk Empire), Chloe Carroll, Tara Westwood (The Grudge) and Francois Chau (LOST, The Expanse) star.
My wife, Chloe Carroll, and I fell in love making short films together while I was still a film student here at Temple. When we decided it was time to create our first feature film, we wanted it to be a labor of love between the two of us. The marriage of my love of sci-fi/dramas and my wife’s love of horror films lead to the birth of our little psychological thriller, THE HONEYMOON PHASE. As newlyweds, we wanted to capture the ecstasy of being in the honeymoon phase while also exploring what can lead a relationship to fall apart. What slithered out of those ruminations was the idea of facade. For my wife and I, honesty and trust is at the heart of our relationship. THE HONEYMOON PHASE sows a lie into that fertile soil of Tom and Eve’s relationship… a thought so horrifying that once it took root, the relationship would deteriorate - memory by memory. I hope as people watch THE HONEYMOON PHASE in the comfort of their homes, the film plants that same seed of doubt in their mind… What if the person I love isn’t who they say they are?
• You also mentioned it was a Philadelphia story in some ways -- can you elaborate on that?
Sure! Our film is a Philly story on multiple levels. For one, the film takes place in and around Philadelphia. Tom and Eve start their journey in their tiny West Philly apartment and end up at the top of One Liberty Place. The film was also made with the help of Sharon Pinkenson and the Philadelphia Film Office, who mentored us on our application for the Pennsylvania Film Tax Credit, helped us find locations, and were our local cheerleaders on the project! I also believe it’s a Philly story because our production was the classic underdog tale of a scrappy group of people coming together to make something special against all odds. For so many of the cast and crew, it was our first feature so we wanted to make our mark. When I first met with the financier of the movie, the poster for Rocky was actually hanging above his conference table with the tagline, “His whole life was a million to one shot.” I think we as Philadelphians own that motto as we all strive to accomplish our dreams. Fittingly, the Eagle’s won the Super Bowl during our shoot in 2018! We had a big cast Super Bowl party and actually filmed in Philly the next day at the top of One Liberty. Our film will forever be tied to the great city of Philadelphia.
• What is your fondest Temple classroom memory?
There’s so many! One that will always stick with me is from my first Media Arts class. My TA, Oscar Molina, was extremely tough in the best possible way. He always pushed us to be better, to think outside the box. For one of our assignments, we had to film a 10 minute long take on mini DV tape without cutting, and then edit that raw footage into a short film. When I showed him my project, he accused me of cheating because there was no way I was able to cover as much ground as I did in 10 continuous minutes. I explained to him that I rehearsed and rehearsed over and over again before recording the long take and even brought in the raw footage tape to back up my claim. To this day I don’t think he believes me, but it was a moment I’ll never forget! It imbrued in me the desire to always push myself to the creative limit. Oscar was one of the many fantastic instructors that I had during my time at Temple.
• Tell us a little about your trajectory post graduation? What led you to create Aspire?
My first professional job after Temple was as a wedding video editor. To be honest, it was not the job I would have chosen to start my career, but I was getting married and needed to start making money because my wife Chloe was from the UK and could not work until her green card went through. The owner of the videography company could not have been kinder to me and was extremely flexible with me going back and forth from the UK to help my wife through her immigration process. I saved as much money as I could while I edited wedding videos in order to keep myself and my wife afloat while we developed our first feature film. Around the same time I began meeting with my Dad’s cousin, John Carroll, on a weekly basis for mentorship. John became an instrumental part of our film when he decided to come on as an Executive Producer of THE HONEYMOON PHASE as well as a business partner in our production company, Aspire Motion Pictures.
Aspire's mission is to make people feel emotion. Whether that be through laughing until your sides hurt, screaming until you wake the neighbors, crying as you place yourself in someone elses' shoes, or sitting on the edge of your seat as the hero faces off against the villain - we at Aspire Motion Pictures believe that the greatest gift you can give someone is to make them feel alive and connected to one another. Whether your life is like a drama, comedy, horror, or some genre bending mashup in between - you are never alone, because everyone has a story to tell.
• What advice would you give to incoming or current Temple students?
Don’t be a number. There’s so many wonderful, talented, diverse people who call Temple home. Find your inner voice and own it. For film especially, whether you want to be the next Michael Bay or an art house filmmaker, do it. Don’t let anyone tell you your art isn’t worth pursing. There’s room for everyone’s voice. Use your time at Temple to develop that voice by utilizing the school’s amazing array of liberal arts courses to learn more about the world so you can then have something to say in your work. Make the most of your time here. Work hard, have fun, and make long lasting relationships with your fellow students.
Also, go to Eddie’s Pizza and tell him Phil Carroll said hi. He’ll hook you up :)
• What are you (and Aspire) hoping to accomplish next?
I just finished my next feature script, Stuck in Our Heads. My story follows Evera, an 18-year-old anxiety-ridden high school senior. When a freak panic attack causes her anxiety to personify itself as an invisible friend, Evera teams up with a panic-ridden homeless man to find the solution to their disorders and create the ultimate senior project.
Stuck in Our Heads is a script I originally began writing in my Master Screenwriting Class around the time I had my first panic attack. Unfortunately, that panic attack grew into a full blown anxiety disorder. Thankfully, over the years I’ve been able to learn to stop fighting my anxiety and instead walk beside it hand in hand. When I was at my darkest moments, I searched for movies that positively explored anxiety. Instead, most of the films that I found treated anxiety as a plot device for psychological thrillers and horror movies. Over 40 million people have an anxiety disorder in the U.S. with 80 percent of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder not getting treatment. And nearly 1 in 3 of all adolescents ages 13 to 18 will experience an anxiety disorder. Stuck in Our Heads was born out of my desire to watch a film that depicted what I was going through in a hopeful way. Ever since my first panic attack, my dream has been to create that film. I hope through Aspire, to raise the necessary financing to make that dream a reality.
• Anything else you want to add?
Lastly, I just want to thank everyone at Temple University who helped build the foundation for my career. I’m still at the very start, and have so much more to learn, but Temple instilled in me values, curiosity, and a belief in always challenging the status quo - that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I’m forever grateful to the teachers, students, and staff who gave me the opportunity to find my voice. I know that today, more than ever, it is important to foster young, diverse voices. Temple University did that for me, as I know it will continue to do so into the future.
If you have any filmmaking questions, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @PhilCarrollJr Thank you!
We wish all the best to Carroll and his very exciting looking film -- THE HONEYMOON PHASE!