Cold Like War

Mobster brothers Ilia and Alexei contemplate the American Dream, and what it is that makes a “bad” person.

Interview with Sean Ohlman Writer/Producer/Key Cast of Cold Like War

What is the story behind your film?
Oddly enough the story came to me while I was driving in my car past a Forest Preserve in the Suburbs of Chicago. Outside of the Preserve were these enormous ornate homes that looked like they could've been owned by Mobsters. I've also been a huge Mob Film fan all of my life and have only seen one Russian Mob film, "Eastern Promises" with Viggo Mortensen, so it seemed like a no brainer to me to make a Dark Comedy involving the Russian Mob.


What should people take away, gain, realize after watching your film?
The story is about two brothers who are trying to realize their own American Dream and what makes a person a bad person or not. Is it where you come from that makes you bad or is it much deeper? I think that this day in age its so much easier to label people good or bad instead of truly attempting to understand one another and what makes us tick.

Do you think that films can change people for the better or for the worse?
I think that there are plenty of opportunities in film to make people change for the better or for the worse, may it be from story telling, or character portrayal. I think if they are done properly they will definitely have some sort of impact to either of those degrees, possibly even a combination of both.

How was the creation of your project at the time of COVID-19?
By the time we started filming Chicago had been open and released of all COVID restrictions so it didn't affect Production in any way. We were quite fortunate for this.

What creation style did you use in the production of your project? What cameraman elements did you use?
We really tried to play on the title "Cold Like War". The film was set and shot in the suburbs of Chicago at the end of winter which is a very nasty time of year, its cold, grey, wet, and overall unpleasant. We played on this with the way we lit the shots, and the way we dressed our actors. From a Camera standpoint we really focused on making it feel as real and uncomfortable as possible with mostly handheld work.

How did you select the actors for your project?
I worked with both actors in prior jobs, they were good friends of mine as well as incredibly talented actors that I knew would give me the best performances possible.

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Why do you think your film should appeal to distributors?
I think it will appeal to Distributors because it's real, and it's funny. The humor comes from the realism of it all.

At which festival has your film been screened?
So far our film has been screened at Norway Fjord International Film Festival in Oslo Norway where Sean Ohlman won the award for Best Actor!

How did your acquaintances react when they first saw the film?
Most of them got a kick out of it, some didn't get the humor, but all were impressed by what we were able to do with one day of filming and a 1700 dollar budget.

If you could change something in your film, what would it be?
I wouldn't change a thing.

Which movies are your favorites and why?
I'm a sucker for psychological thrillers, I like to think. Things that are thought provoking for me that challenge my ability to rationalize as well as my sanity give me great joy hahaha.

What topics do you like to address in your stories?
To be honest my films have underlying morals however its much more important to me to focus on my characters, its their story not mine.

What is your motivation in making films?
My motivation is to get my name out there, I have a voice and plenty of things to say. Plenty of people I'd like to meet. I'm an Actor above all else and I crave connection. I feel creating is a way for me to relate and connect to all kinds of people from all walks of life.

Which contemporary filmmakers motivate you the most?
I'm a big fan of Tarantino, Scorcese, and Guy Ritchie.

What projects do you plan to shoot in the future?
I have several on the drawing board at the moment, my next is a Feature Film. A Crime Thriller with a Supernatural component set in the Northwoods.