Peter Mostert’s Feature Debut Addresses Domestic Violence
“Prince Harming” Makes World Premiere at Big Apple Women’s Film Festival
Hooligan editor Peter Mostert recently wrapped up work on “Prince Harming,” a feature-length dark comedy from director Marianne Hettinger. The film marks Peter’s first foray into feature film work. “Prince Harming” will make its World Premiere at the Big Apple Women’s Film Festival on Friday, January 18th. Based on a true story, “Prince Harming” deals with the escalation of domestic abuse, and one women’s journey of overcoming it. We sat down with Peter to talk about the making of the film and why he got involved.
What’s your history with filmmaker Marianne Hettinger? How did you two connect on making this film?
I’m in the database of Film Fatales, which is a great organization that connects women filmmakers with artists like myself to help them realize big film projects. It’s a fantastic organization and I had been waiting for the right project – and time, of course – to contribute to their platform. Upon meeting, Marianne and I immediately clicked, personally, and shared a lot of sensibilities in regards to the film’s subject matter and, overall, as filmmakers.
The collaboration was a true delight. Marianne was respectful of my craft, which as any editor knows goes a long way in telling a great story. She did her homework as a director and was exceptionally organized with her deliverables. She talked through which takes she liked best and why, yet she was open to my opinions on takes and performances as well. It was about a three-month process getting “Prince Harming” locked to picture before we moved on to coloring. Our colorist did a fantastic job making the lighting look natural.
What drew you to the story of “Prince Harming?”
I thoroughly enjoyed the script. Not only does it tackle important subject matter around women and domestic violence, but also it has a great arc that immediately draws you in, with a quirky tone and humor that felt original. Reading the script for the first time, I found myself laughing out loud in certain scenes, before being lulled into the more serious and harsh situations of the plot; and this is exactly the experience of domestic abuse victims. They’re charmed and fall in love with someone who isn’t who they thought they were, and then it gets violent. It’s hard to see when you’re in that situation. Everyone notices but you, and they’re confused why you become more entangled with it. Hopefully this film will help potential victims see or sense the early signs of an abuser before they’re in too deep.
You’ve got decades of experience editing commercials and short-form docs and scripted content. What inspired you dive into feature film?
Most of my clients in the commercial world know me primarily as a visual storytelling editor, and this film was both an opportunity and a challenge to showcase another dimension of my narrative capabilities. While the film tackles some very serious subject matter, it is a dark comedy, so taking on this project was also a chance to showcase my comedy chops as an editor. Timing in comedy is everything. This film is a dialogue-driven feature, so I enjoyed the process of dialing in the comedic moments while striking the right balance with the more dramatic and somber moments of the film to serve the overall tone and vision Marianne had in mind. Overall, it was quite a departure from the critical time-sensitive process of editing commercials. With a movie, you have the luxury of time. Changing gears from my day-to-day commercial mode, I had to keep reminding myself to let the moments breathe, and once you’re in that mode of cutting, it began to flow.
Where do you find the time?
Of course, it’s a challenge balancing client work in the process of making a feature – oftentimes spending nights and weekends to finish the job – but passion projects like this are worth it, and Hooligan was very accommodating to me in the process, providing their space and resources whenever we needed them.
What’s next for you in the realm of scripted or long-from content?
I am open to any type of work as an editor – no particular subject or style – because a story is a story, and you have to tell it in the most effective way. I enjoy that process no matter what genre I’m working in. But I’d love to do another scripted feature film or a documentary as this project inspired me, personally; and as a creative storyteller, it’s always nice to apply your craft to make an impact on the greater good.