Peter Hengl talks Family Dinner ahead of Frightfest

Another feature announced for Arrow Video Frightfest 2022 is Peter Hengl’s Family Dinner.

We follow an overweight teenager who visits her aunt’s farm and gets more than she bargained for. We caught with Peter to spill the beans on Family Dinner.

What can you tell us about the plot of Family Dinner?

“Family Dinner” is the story of 15-year-old teenage girl Simi, who spends the Easter holidays at her aunt Claudia’s, an old farmhouse in the Austrian countryside. Simi is overweight and she hopes that Claudia, a nutritionist, can help her lose some weight – but of course as soon as she arrives there, she notices that something seems to be very off and that Claudia and her family are more than a little bit weird!

In terms of an isolated location, there aren’t many creepier than a farmhouse, right?

Right! Although our farmhouse isn’t exactly what you might think of first when you hear “farmhouse” – it’s rather stylish, as the family has remodeled into a weekend stay. But it’s not so much the house that is creepy, rather than the people that live inside it!

How did you find Pia Hierzegger for the role of Claudia, I’m guessing the casting was tough for this role?

Pia Hierzegger is a well-known actress in Austria, although usually for completely different roles than this one. She is absolutely fantastic and really made the role her own! I think her performance as Aunt Claudia is really something that people will remember from the film!

Do you prefer working with a small cast?

Not necessarily – but “Family Dinner” is essentially this explosive powder keg of Simi and the family and the danger that lurks within this small, confined, isolated world. So there simply was no need for more characters than that!

And it was certainly an advantage for my first feature film to keep things compact, not just in terms of size of cast but size of the project in general.

What was the atmosphere like on set?

Very professional! It was in the middle of the pandemic and also very stressful because of a very tight schooting schedule, but everybody gave their absolute best! Because of the remote location (and to better isolate from covid) all of us stayed in a hotel in the countryside that gave of strong “Shining” vibes – very appropriate for a horror shot!

How does Family Dinner compare to your previous work?

“Family Dinner” is my first feature film as a director, so it was a huge step up from the short films I did before! Luckily I was able to continue working with some of the same people – my brilliant editor Sebastian Schreiner, my wonderful DoP Gabriel Krajanek, and my perfect producer Lola Basara.

How excited are you to screen at Arrow Video Frightfest?

Very very excited! I hope to be able to go there and celebrate the joy of horror films with the fans!

Family Dinner screens as part of Arrow Video Frightfest 2022.

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