Zosia Mackenzie: Designing Castle In The Ground

Production Designer Zosia Mackenzie on the design of Castle In The Ground, which premiered at TIFF and was set to play at SXSW.

DGC Ontario Production Designer Zosia Mackenzie has had a busy 2019, designing Director Nyla Innuksuk’s Slash/Back in Nunavut, the Daniel Beckerman produced Come To Daddy, The Silencing and Director Joey Klein’s Castle in the Ground which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was scheduled to make its U.S. debut at SXSW, along with The Silencing before the festival cancellation. We caught up with Zosiabefore the festival cancellation, to discuss SXSW and the design of Castle In The Ground:

How does it feel for Castle in the Ground to screen at SXSW?

It’s really exciting! Joey’s last film The Other Half also screened at SXSW and it’s always great for a director to go back to a festival with a new film. I also love Austin and think it’s a really fun city so I’m planning on traveling to the premiere myself as well.

Can you speak on your creative collaboration with Director Joey Klein and Picture Editor Jorge Weisz?

Joey is a great collaborator and we bonded over films, photography, and music really early on during location scouting. We were also on the same page with respect to the locations and sets we ended up selecting, which always makes a big difference. Most importantly, he trusted myself and the art team in the same way we all trusted his holistic vision for the film. Jorge’s an amazing editor and I loved what he did with all of the footage we were able to capture on set.

How would you describe the design of Castle in the Ground?

The overall design was naturalistic because the film itself was set in downtown Sudbury, circa 2012. We really pushed for sets and locations that felt lived in and full of character.

What was your favourite aspect of designing Castle in the Ground?

I loved creating the two main apartment sets for Neve Campbell and Imogen Poots’ characters. The locations themselves were almost identical but with paint, wallpaper and character driven set decoration, they ended up looking and feeling completely unique. It was also exciting to build a world that felt not only cinematic, but also photographic, as so many of our references were rooted in fine art photography.

Where do you turn for inspiration when you need to get the creative juices flowing?

It always depends on the project but I usually love referencing photography. We were all very much inspired by the photography of Nan Goldin, especially in light of the fact that she has survived opioid addiction and is now very much involved in spearheading the fight against pharmaceutical companies who promoted the use of these drugs.

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