Exclusive Interview: Director Chad L. Scheifele Talks New Film NATURAL SELECTION

NATURAL SELECTION is the feature film debut of writer-director Chad L. Scheifele. The movie follows Tyler, a young man who is desperately seeking direction from a world that seems to have abandoned him. I had the opportunity to ask the director some questions about Natural Selection, where he talks about his experience being a first time director, his amazing cast, and the serious subject matter in the movie. ITN Distribution will the release the psycho teen thriller in theaters, On Demand and iTunes on August 26th and it’s definitely worth checking out.

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Alien Bee – The story for Natural Selection felt like something that came straight out of today’s headlines. Was that some of your inspiration in writing such a gripping story like this?

Chad L. Scheifele – This story, to me, is about the underlying struggles that some people face when making the transition from childhood to adulthood. It’s a critical time in all of our lives and it can be extremely challenging for some people emotionally and psychologically. I was also interested in what made people tick a certain way or why they made certain decisions. There is no single answer to this problem but I wanted to focus on an aspect of it that is part of the overall issue. I would like to get people talking and hopefully bring more awareness to the issues facing young adults today.

Alien Bee – Natural Selection is definitely a dark character study that deals with tragedy, forgiveness, redemption and even faith. How would you describe the movie?

Chad L. Scheifele – The film touches on a lot of areas including the ones you stated in your question. I believe all of these things play a huge part in the process of someone finding their place in the world and also their identity. I would describe my film as a story about someone who searches for answers but unfortunately at times is looking in all the wrong places. It’s about a kid trying to discover who he is and during desperate times gets wrapped up in the wrong way of thinking which could lead to devastating consequences. But I would like the main take away to be how negative influences can corrode an idle, troubled mind while also expressing a universal truth that the influence of love and compassion can eradicate the destructive damage of hate.

Alien Bee – What made you decide to direct the movie yourself?

Chad L. Scheifele – I’ve always considered myself a director and I love the whole process of it. This story and the characters meant a lot to me so it felt right to be the one to take on the job as the director so I could tell the story the way I needed to.

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Alien Bee – The young cast was amazing but you also have Anthony Michael Hall who appears in the film. How was it working with a veteran like him?

Chad L. Scheifele – It was great working with Anthony Michael Hall since he was such an awesome person to be around and a very polished actor. It was a little intimidating at first since he’s a veteran of the business and this being my first feature film, but we quickly became good friends and he’s been super supportive of the project ever since. He’s a great person overall and I’m very thankful to have had an opportunity to work with him.

Alien Bee – There’s a lot going on with Mason Dye’s lead character Tyler, who is dealing with so much in his life. How would you describe this character?

Chad L. Scheifele – Tyler is a kid who doesn’t have a very positive outlook on the world to begin with. His life experiences up until now and the shaky relationship with his mother have left a bitter taste in his mouth. So coming into this new town and getting wrapped up with someone like Indrid isn’t going to lead to a positive outcome since his mental state is extremely vulnerable and it’s easy for him to see things the way Indrid does. He doesn’t have an opposing opinion to weigh it against so it makes it that much easier for Indrid to prey on his mind. Tyler also comes off as a realist but deep down inside he has a buried hope that maybe one day things will change for the better. He’s a fighter and is not willing to give up easy without a struggle.

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Alien Bee – There’s also Katherine McNamara who is now starring in Freeform’s hit supernatural drama Shadowhunters and the fandom for this series is crazy. How was it working with her?

Chad L. Scheifele – Kat was amazing. She was really fun to work with on set and on top of that she’s an extremely talented actress. She brought a lot of positive energy to set and she was a pleasure to be around. I’m super excited to see where she goes in her promising future and I hope to be working with her again soon.

Alien Bee – In my opinion, Ryan Munzert kind of stole the show with his character Indrid who also has a lot going on. Did you have to help him get into this character or did he come up this himself. I’m trying not to spoil anything here for our readers.

Chad L. Scheifele – Ryan was fantastic and I think he really surprised all of us when he showed up. We all knew he was a talented actor but when he embodied the character of Indrid a part of Ryan that he’s never tapped into before came out on screen. His character is extremely complex and convoluted so Ryan had a lot to take in and process. The best way to describe how Ryan brought the character to life is that I drew the outlines for him and he colored in the picture. Ryan brought a whole different side to the character that wasn’t totally there from the start. Indrid was always viewed as just a pessimistic dude that the audience overall didn’t like. Ryan, on the other hand, made Indrid funny, outgoing and likeable while also having him equally cold-hearted, dark and callus. This was extremely important to me because I wanted the audience to like him at times and not just paint him into a corner of always being the bad guy. Ryan brought the perfect balance of the character to the screen and he nailed it.

Alien Bee – What kind of advice can you give first time filmmakers?

Chad L. Scheifele – Stay passionate, motivated and persistent with what you want to achieve as a filmmaker and great things will follow. Surround yourself with people who support you and keep at it. The first time doing a feature is always the longest and hardest but just stick to it and it will pay off.

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