On May 20, 2022, the Canadian thriller “See for Me” will be released for german home theaters. We have already reviewed the film, in which a blind cat-sitter gets surprised by burglars and is helped by an American war veteran via an app. In addition, we had the opportunity for a short interview with lead actress Skyler Davenport and director Randall Okita.
Skyler Davenport about “See for Me”
We start with Skyler Davenport. Born on May 22, 1992, the actress, who is actually visually impaired, plays the blind Sophie in “See for Me.”
A little research revealed that you have been in the entertainment industry for a long time as a voice talent and series actress. With “See for Me” you are now making your feature film debut. Did you have great respect for this new challenge and what appealed to you most about it?
Skyler Davenport: For me it was not so much a challenge as it was a very welcome change. I had no intention of staying in voice over and this film just happened to be the wonderful first feature that came along. I loved the idea of a visually impaired person being at the core of an action thriller, which I don’t think people think about often. Especially because Sophie is rather erratic and difficult to predict!
Were you able to incorporate your own experiences as a visually impaired person into the script – because I think the film seems very realistic, especially in these moments?
Skyler Davenport: Yes, we had many, many moments on set where I chatted with both the director as well as the writers on the physicality of what was happening and if something was or wasn’t realistic. For example, even the “simple” act of running down a hallway with stairs is going to be very different for someone with visual impairment. We had to make sure all of the action read as realistic and not “superhuman” while keeping the film at a fast pace.
I’m not a big fan of smartphones, but thanks to the film, I get the impression that smartphones can make life a lot easier for blind people. Are smartphones really such a – let’s call it – game changer as portrayed in the film?
Skyler Davenport: For me, personally, I would say no. While I appreciate technology and everything it does for us, I find it quite difficult to use a phone. I think this could vary greatly from person to person, but I, too, find smartphones an equal mix of pros and cons.
How did you become part of the „See for Me“-project?
Skyler Davenport: I was initially requested by production to audition via tape, followed by a number of callbacks.
Why should everyone see your movie „See for Me“?
Skyler Davenport: Not only does the plot have some wonderful twists and turns, but I was surrounded by a seriously talented cast! The film’s shooting style a-la Radall Okita makes such beautiful use of the landscape both in and outside of the house I feel that even if someone is not particularly drawn to the genre, the artistic nature of the shots alone make the film worth enjoying!
Director Randall Okita on finding the perfect house for “See for Me”
Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers and above all outline how you got into the movie business?
Randall Okita: My name is Randall Okita, I’m a Japanese Canadian writer Director and visual artist. Growing up I was always a writer and I always liked to build, but it never occurred to me that making movies was something that people could do until as a teenager I saw shelves labelled by director names in a video store. Then a lightbulb went off. I started asking everybody I could, reading everything I could find, and eventually started volunteering on short film and music video shoots. I worked my way up and have done most jobs on a film set. I would work for other people during the day and then I would make my own work in the evenings and weekends until little by little I had enough work to keep myself busy.
How did you become part of the “See for Me” project and what particularly appealed to you about it?
Randall Okita: I was sent the script and I was immediately impressed with how tight and inventive IT was, and how much fun it brought to the genre. The incredible thrill ride that is presented by the script, on top of the layers of representation and how it expands the conversation about what a protagonist can look like in a genre film is really what got me excited.
You worked in a very limited setting with few actors. Actually ideal conditions in times of Corona. Nevertheless, I read that your production came to a standstill because of Corona. How much do you think the virus has changed filmmaking?
Randall Okita: Well I think things are always changing, whether that be the way that we design shots, distribute scripts, or how we keep each other safe while we work. I think the benefit of having to rethink safety because of the virus was that it allowed us to highlight the fact that we were there to do what we love, but to keep people safe while doing it. All the unions, all the guilds, everybody had to come up with a plan for the first time and there was a lot of collaboration. I think it was also a good reminder that this is always the first time, there’s a lot of modesty in that, the idea that none of us have ever been up against this particular set of obstacles before, and I think that’s up that’s how we should think about making projects, being humble and finding ways to collaborate and keep everybody safe while making great work.
The house in “See for Me” almost feels like its own character. How difficult was it to find the right house and what made the current house the perfect setting for your movie?
Randall Okita: We had to search high and low to find that house. It was a real challenge and we were worried that we weren’t going to be able to find the right location for the film. Finally the house we found was so wonderful because it had these floor-to-ceiling windows through which you could see the snow and desolate landscape, it was also this wonderful combination of warm wood details and cold steel and glass, and the design was this incredibly unique long design that provided this ideal space for a cat and mouse chase that is the film.
Why should everyone watch “See for Me”?
Randall Okita: To have fun! To be taken on a thrilling dynamic ride and see something you’ve never seen before.
Thanks a lot you two!