​Director Brian Sepanzyk Discusses Collaborating with the Vancouver Band Baptists for His New Horror Short 'Compulsion'

Sepanzyk will perform a live score for the film with Baptists' Nick Yacyshyn next month

BY Josiah HughesPublished Oct 28, 2019

When he's not fronting the Vancouver metal band Waingro, Brian Sepanzyk is quickly establishing himself as a filmmaker to watch. After over a decade in the film industry, he's just released his debut film Compulsion. Of course, considering his background, aggressive music certainly plays a significant role in the subversive slasher short.

In addition to Sepanzyk's contributions, the film shares plenty of DNA with the beloved hardcore band Baptists. The group's drummer Nick Yacyshyn completed the film's score with Sepanzyk before the film itself had been conceived, and Baptists frontman Andrew Roy Drury also stars in the film alongside Beyond the Black Rainbow's Eva Bourne.

Compulsion was released earlier this month, and can be streamed below. You might want to hold off, however, for a rare chance to see it live. On November 30, Yacyshyn and Sepanzyk will perform the film's score live as its broadcast at the Ellis Building in Vancouver. More information on that event is available here.

Until then, we caught up with Sepanzyk about Compulsion's creation. Read our interview below.

Where did the idea for this film come from?

Nick [Yacyshyn] and I wanted to start a dark synthwave/John Carpenter style band and he came with all these great ideas. I thought it would be fun to film some scenes that we could score live that then blossomed into a short film. So it was a really cool experience writing a film from the music that inspired it.

At what point did you know you needed to make it a reality?

Having the music and the visuals planned out from those first rehearsals with Nick, it really felt like we were onto something. After that its just convincing yourself to commit to going into debt and incredible loads of stress. But we had a blast.

Was it hard to finance the project? What were some other obstacles in making the film?

Financing was a lot of borrowing that I'm still paying off [laughs]. We were fortunate to get hired on for a spec commercial for a local company, so we were able to piggy back with some expenses and equipment, but that meant shooting two spots for them and then diving right into Compulsion. I'm sure I shaved off 10 years of my life but would do it again in a heartbeat. 

How did you arrive at your cast?

Andrew [Drury] was my first choice from the get go. After watching Baptists live it was clear that he would be able to showcase a menacing character. But it also required some humanity to it, so its a very nuanced part to play but Andrew absolutely nailed it. Eva [Bourne] was a wish that I had ever since I saw Beyond The Black Rainbow and found out she was local. And once she was on board we were absolutely set. The rest of the actors are just really talented friends that I have that I'm very lucky to hang out with. 

How has the Vancouver music scene played a role in making this film?

Playing music here for the last ten years has been a great experience and its where I've met a lot of the people who helped out on this film. We're very lucky to have the scene here with so many talented people, it makes you want to push yourself when you're making something so it's great motivation. 

Tell us about the live score. What can we expect?

It's going to be a really unique and immersive live show so we're really excited to showcase this. The live score is how it was always intended to be viewed. We're also going to have some exclusive merch such as VHS copies of the film, as well as some great auction items for fundraising for our next short film. Hoping to go to camera next year so its also a great way to support local independent film as well as having a great night to experience it all. 

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