Category Archives: Interviews

Counseling – The Webseries

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What’s this? The webseries I co-wrote is FINALLY here? It premiered TODAY?? Indeed it is and indeed it did!

COUNSELING tells the tale of Matt and Tom, who seek the assistance of counselor, Dr. Robbins, in order to become more upstanding members of society. Does it go well? Does it go poorly? Do they become the most upstanding of upstandingest people ever? Well…as I say in my interview:

I really wanted to write two really awful people and make people really like them.

Take that as you will. 😉

So head on over and check out my interview, then watch the premiere episode of COUNSELING below! (RATED R for language and crass humor – aka E., I think you will like)

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What’s This? Another Issue of Rogue Cinema? For Realsies??

We Love Rogue! (Because that's where Misty writes, hehe). ;)

We Love Rogue! (Because that’s where Misty writes, hehe). 😉

A saint with a serious problem.

A saint with a serious problem.

An interview with Kyle Hytonen - the genius behind "Massacre at Femur Creek"!

An interview with Kyle Hytonen – the genius behind “Massacre at Femur Creek”!

How does a 70 year old gay man find love?

How does a 70 year old gay man find love?

Interview with filmmaker Pascal Payant

Interview with filmmaker Pascal Payant

You NEED to watch this film. Malibu Action Girl to the rescue!!

You NEED to watch this film. Malibu Action Girl to the rescue!!

Can't lie. My absolute favorite of the bunch. We are ALL kickawesome.

Can’t lie. My absolute favorite of the bunch. We are ALL kickawesome.

Missing The Office? (That...that did end, right?) Then try this web series!

Missing The Office? (That…that did end, right?) Then try this web series!

Rogue Cinema’s November Issue is Here!

Hey guys! The latest issue of Rogue Cinema has just hit the web and there’s tons of good stuff in it – here’s a few of them. Enjoy!

Last Call

Painkiller

Reviled

The Gays

minions sarah interior 1

An Interview with Jeremiah Kipp

An Interview with Jeremiah Kipp

Coming Attractions:: Volumes of Blood

Volumes of Blood

So I got word of this very cool sounding project happening in KY right now and was able to snag one of the main guys (producer, co-writer and co-director), P.j., and convince him to do an interview with me. And by “convince”, I totes mean I tied him up in the basement till he answered my questions.  TOTES. So here it is, all the scoop on the upcoming horror anthology (yay for horror anthologies! I have a soft spot in my heart for them), Volumes of Blood.

ML: Volumes of Blood is an Unscripted Film School (UFS) project. Can you explain what exactly the Unscripted Film School is, what it does and how long it’s been around?

P.j.: The Unscripted Film School program is something I co-created with Jim Blanton at the Daviess County Public Library. It’s an opportunity for interested locals to come participate in a hands on filmmaking session with local and regional talent. They have a chance to see what it takes and the various facets associated with making an indie film from special FX to cinematography to acting and directing. We tried it out on a smaller scale in January 2015 and premiered both short films at the Unscripted 3 film series to a lot of praise. Lucky, the Audience Award winning short, has gone on to get some great reviews and screen across the country in film festivals. Because of its success we decided to ramp up the program and do something wholly different and more expansive.

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ML: This will be the second film for UFS. The first was a short called Lucky by Todd Martin. But this will be the first full length feature (although an anthology)? How is the process different from making a short to making a feature film?

P.j.: With the first film school program, the basic idea was like the 48 Hour Film Fest, only you’re shooting a short in 7.5 hours instead. Lucky gave us a chance to see the true potential of the program and Jim asked me to come up with some ideas on how to really expand the program. Rather than shoot one or two shorts, we’re now shooting 5 over the course of 4 months and instead of it being a competition, 5 different directors are working on what will be become a single project created from 5 different perspectives.

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ML: The screenplay for Volumes of Blood is written by yourself, Todd Martin and Nathan Thomas Milliner. How did the idea come about? Was it something you purposely set out to do or was it a lucky accident?

P.j.: I knew I wanted there to be 5 short films. I already had been sitting on some ideas so I wrote the first three scripts, but I knew that I didn’t want to be the only writer for the anthology. I love to collaborate. Todd is a great writer and I contacted him to see if he wanted to come back for another stint with the Unscripted Film School 2. He accepted and the only stipulation I gave him was that one of the two stories he wrote had to be titled “Encyclopedia Satanica” because it’s such a badass title. I didn’t have a story, just a name. Todd got back to me with a couple scripts and I really dug what he wrote. Nathan has been a friend of mine for a while now and I asked him to come onto the project as a director. He chose “Encyclopedia” as his script and then did a pass on it. He added in a lot of cool literary elements and things that took the overall story to another level. Because of that he earned a writers credit as well.

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ML: The logline reads “Five tales of dread interwoven when a sociology student gathers several of his friends at the local library to help him create a new urban legend with deadly consequences”, which honestly intrigues me because it reminds me of: 1) the movie Urban Legend; 2) the amazing episode of Buffy -“Conversations with Dead People” and 3) the V/H/S films oh, and 4) one of my all-time favorites Trick’r’Treat. Was Volumes of Blood inspired by any of these (probably not the Buffy episode, eh)? And if not what WAS the inspiration?

P.j.: It’s been pretty incredible the various different films that have come to light since I started this. I’m huge on writing homages to other films because for one I’m a big old school horror fan, and two I think that writing nuances into your stories are these great little moments for fans to grasp hold of a long the ride. I’ve wanted to do an anthology for a few years now and it just seemed like the right time. There are several inspirations and nods in Volumes of Blood that range from Friday the 13th and Insidious to more forgotten horror fare like After Midnight and He Knows You’re Alone. I’ve always been a fan of October and Halloween so several stories revolve around that time of year so I guess you can say that Trick ‘R Treat had some influence as well.

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ML: Can you tell us what will be involved with these five tales? For example, will one be a ghost story and another full of zombies? Or is this a less supernatural film?

P.j.: I don’t want to give too much away but being a child of 80’s horror I can tell you that the film runs the horror sub-genre gamut. There will be ghosts, monsters, masked killers and possessed books so there’s a little something for every horror fan out there.

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ML: Who is starring in your film? Have you hired only locals or did you expand your search?

P.j.: I expanded my search, but did cast a lot of actors that I had worked with before like Todd Reynolds (Hallows Eve: Slaughter on Second Street) and Louisa Torres (Lucky). This go around I reached out to several actors I’ve either wanted to work with for a while or worked with on others projects like Jason Crowe (The Hospital), Roni Jonah (The Zombie Movie), Jim O’Rear (The Hospital), Kevin Roach (Three Tears on Bloodstained Flesh), Kristine Farley (Bloody Hooker Bang Bang) and a whole slew of others. I’m really excited about the cast.

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ML: Tell us a bit about the filming process. You’re filming one Saturday a month till it’s finished, correct? Has that streamlined the filming process? Do you think it would have been easier to shoot it over 5 consecutive days? Why draw it out?

P.j.: Because of the way the film school program is structured we need to have time between each film to give the community a chance to sign up to participate on each film. We’re allowing ten each, fifty in all once the project has completed shooting in November. This has streamlined things because it allows us a chance to regroup before the shoots since everyone is working with a different director each time and experiencing a completely different vision from the last. Plus, everyone on board this project is volunteering their time and it just makes sense to shoot it this way to make sure everyone is available to do their job. I myself had a full time job and a family so shooting 5 consecutive days is just not in the cards for me and I wouldn’t expect it to be for anyone else. Drawing out the process also gives me a chance to sit down and start editing the shorts to try and have one finished before the next begins. That way when the final night of production comes the movie will be nearly completed.

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ML: When will Volumes of Blood be released and where will people be able to view and purchase it?

P.j.: I’m huge into gimmicks so the film will have an Owensboro, Kentucky premiere on Friday, March 13, 2015 at the Owensboro Convention Center. It will be hosted by 97X and The Boiler Room, who will also host an exclusive after party. The event itself will be a charity event where all proceeds will be donated to New Beginnings Sexual Assault Services. After that it’ll hopefully be coming to a film festival near you and the DVD release will be before December of next year.

ML: You funded this project via Kickstarter. Was that your first experience with crowd sourcing? Would you recommend it for up and coming directors? What advice would you give them on how to go about using this resource?

P.j.: This was the first time I ever truly begged for money, yes. Outside from family that is. Crowd funding is a weird and stressful thing. If it all works out in the end then the journey was well worth all the sweat and tears, but I can’t imagine spending sixty days struggling to reach our goal and not walking away with something because it wasn’t fulfilled. I mean potato salad got funded for like eighty gazillion dollars and we made our budget because of the support of nearly a hundred individuals and the skin of our teeth no less. It was an amazing feeling when we reached the goal and ultimately the project was 107% funded. I would recommend giving it a try, but prepare to work really hard to get what you want and don’t be afraid to get annoying.

ML: What’s next for UFS and Verite? 🙂

P.j.: Right now we’re reviewing submissions for Unscripted 4 that will start in January 2015 and go every Saturday until the last weekend in February. As far as Verite Cinema is concerned, I honestly can’t see anything beyond Volumes of Blood right now… except Volumes of Blood 2 of course.

A huge thanks to P.j. for sitting down to do this interview (as if he really had a choice, hehe. No, but seriously. I am sorry about the basement thing). If you want to become a fan of Volumes of Blood, like me, give ’em a “like” over on Facebook or follow them on Twitter for all the latest news!

Happy 10th Anniversary, Rogue Cinema!!!

It’s Rogue Cinema’s 10th Anniversary!  This issue is super awesome with amazing interviews, reviews of some epic films and SO much more!  So c’mon over and check it out! 🙂

Beyond the Dark

 

Hopscotch

 

Jehovahs Cobras

 

Lone

Interview with Director/Writer Daniel Benedict

Bunni

I recently got the opportunity to chat with director/writer Daniel Benedict whose latest film, Bunni, premieres today.  The premiere is being hosted by Verite Cinema and owner Pj Starks has this to say, “I’m stoked that Verite Cinema will be hosting the premiere of Daniels film. Since 2007 my goal was to showcase local talent and ultimately use my connections to help aspiring filmmakers reach the next level. By setting up the premiere of BUNNI, this definitely falls into line with what I want to accomplish. It should be a fun event and I look forward to seeing Daniel get his film out there. It’s a big and exciting step. I’m glad I can be apart of that journey.”  Learn more about Daniel, his love of horror and all about Bunni below!  Also be sure to visit the Red Serial Films website to watch the Bunni trailer (I’m super excited to see this one!!).

ML:   Bunni is your latest film.  You’ve been making films (8 shorts and 3 features to be exact) since 1994 and all in the genre of horror.  What draws you to horror?

DB:  I’ve always been obsessed with monsters, villains, and scary things of all kinds. The only books I used to check out of my elementary school’s library were ones on ghosts or the Universal movie monsters, etc. As I got older and was able to see R rated films, an entire new world opened up for me. A wonderful world of masked murderers and dream stalkers. So in 1994, a friend and I decided to get together and make our own Friday the 13th sequel. We had just seen Jason Goes to Hell at the drive-in the previous summer and thought we could continue the story. So I convinced my parents and grandparents to play the victims , which resulted in the most valuable (to me) VHS tape of all-time.

ML:  Bunni was produced by Red Serial Films – is this your company or did they simply call you in to direct this? If it is your company, can you tell us a little about Red Serial Films?

DB:  Red Serial Films was started by myself and long-time friend Steven Boling who served as producer for Bunni. He and I had been involved in making films since the late 90’s. So when the time came to start production on Bunni, we decided we needed to take the next step, gather together some highly creative talent, and create a brand striving to produce quality entertainment.

ML:  So you also wrote Bunni?

DB:  I started writing the script in the fall of 2010. I bounced it around among Steve, our script supervisors, and special effects team for about a year. This enabled us to flesh out the plot and characters more, work out the kinks, fill in the holes, and gave us a really cohesive story.

ML:   Bunni, from the trailer, looks to be a slasher film. What’s the synopsis?

DB:  Bunni takes a classic slasher stance. Basically four people are walking home from a Halloween party and make the terrible mistake of breaking into an abandoned building where a killer waits to bludgeon them. Two of the group discover what appears to be living quarters and a disturbing home video that reveals a horrific truth.

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We’re by no means redefining the horror genre; our goal was to create an entertaining movie with originality at the same time paying homage to slasher films of the past. And I think we’ve accomplished that.

ML:  Can you tell us a little about the cast of Bunni and what they’ve done before this?

DB:  Mercedez Varble portrays Paige- the film’s protagonist. Mercedez is involved with the Theater Workshop of Owensboro and most recently starred in their production of Little Shop of Horrors.   Paige’s boyfriend, Chris, is played by Kent Blue who is a regular cast member on the October Road Youtube channel.

ML:  Is directing and filmmaking your full time gig or do you have a “day job”?

DB:  I currently produce tv commercials as a living, so I’m constantly writing/directing. I hope to be able to continue to do feature films and take it as far as I can.

ML:   Do you have any advice for future directors and filmmakers?

DB:  I would tell anyone interested in doing films to just make one regardless of your resource limitations. Use whatever equipment you have, collaborate with anyone willing to help you, and create something that you love. Everyone has to start somewhere. It doesn’t matter if you have a Red Epic or a Sony Handycam, or whether you use Final Cut Pro or edit with 2 VCR’s, a cassette player, and Mario Paint (which is what I started with.)

Also, be willing to compromise, selflessly help others as much as you can, and please don’t get an ego. That’s so annoying. 😉

Another New Issue of Rogue is Here! NOW With Video Interviews!!

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The new issue of Rogue just hit the web and it is hotter than ever!  Why is that exactly?  Because we’ve added video interviews!!  And one of them is with Brian Metcalf (Director of “Fading of the Cries”) and Thomas Ian Nichols (“American Pie”) and it’s pretty kickawesome.  I mean, they all are but still.  And my reviews for this month are below if you wanna check them out.  🙂

Coyote

 

 

Happiness

 

Veer

Interview with Pascal Payant

Hey guys!!  Dudes, I have been CRAZY busy!!  Like, busier than usual, it’s totes ridic.  I don’t remember what that sleep thing is at all.  And next month is going to be just as crazy, if not MORE so.  On top of all my 800 jobs deciding that I am really 3 people and giving me like 80 hours a month each, next month we’re supposed to finally re-start and finish filming the web series “When the Lights Go Out” (YAY!!!!!).  Soooo much excitement about that!!   Oh and one more thing – if you’re a filmmaker and you’d like me to check out your film/short film/whatever PLEASE contact me at cinemaschminema@gmail.com and please don’t leave a comment with a link to your work.  Thanks!
Anyway, a couple of months ago for Rogue Cinema, I did a review of a short film called On the Horizon that I absolutely adored.  I ended up emailing back and forth with the director for awhile and finally asked if I could interview him for Cinema Schminema and he said yes and that was wayyyyyy back in April and well, busy girl got even busier so I only have the interview NOW.  So without further ado – my interview with filmmaker Pascal Payant.  I’m including links to several of his films at the end of this, so be sure to check them out (especially because I want to know if anyone else saw some of the things I saw!  ;)).  Pascal’s pretty cool and the interview was a lot of fun so thank you Pascal!
Pascal


ML:  Your films (Something in the Way, White Blossoms and On the Horizon) evoke a sense of lyricism and poetry and are for the majority told without a lot of actor interaction (i.e. more in the form of voiceovers or one person speaking to the camera).  Would you consider this your signature style and how did this become your signature?
PP:  I love intimacy. I love when it’s simple, delicate but there’s dark layers, rich underground of meanings. It can look simple from the exterior but if you start analyzing the film you will see that every aspect of the film is there for a reason. every color , framing, sound, music, action etc. Everything is there for a reason. It’s my signature for sure. That’s the more crucial part for a director it’s to find your voice. When they click play they need to say yes it’s “THAT” person film. I never wanted to be a generic director. I want to have a voice, I want my films to have communal themes that connects all my works. Short films are there to experiment and find that voice. Once you are at the stage that you have your voice and you master your style. then go for the feature film. That’s where I’m at now. after 35 films,music videos etc. Now I’m ready for my feature film. It’s called “Stolen Season” It’s a road movie about a woman’s journey of self discovery.
Behind the Scenes - On the Horizon © 2013 Daniel Scherl

Behind the Scenes – On the Horizon © 2013 Daniel Scherl

ML:  Parts of On the Horizon in particular were very reminiscent to me of aspects of the band The Doors – partly due to the meter of the dialogue and partly due to the location.  Are you familiar with The Doors and if so were they in any way influential to your work?  Or is this purely coincidental (or perhaps on my part, just a huge Doors fan making connections)?
PP:  I think you are just a huge Doors fan 🙂 but I love the Doors. The beauty about art is that there’s meaning for everything. Every person will see something different. That was your case with this film. I didn’t have that in mind but I can see the connection.
Shooting a music video in Dijon, France

Shooting a music video in Dijon, France

ML:  You seem to be a fan of shooting in wide open spaces such as the desert or snow covered fields. Is this representative of a deeper layer of your works in the sense that they represent what seems to be common themes of isolation and loneliness in your films?  Or is this merely because you shoot with no budget and/or team and this creates both a less expensive and beautiful
backdrop?
PP:  It’s both. When you have no budget you chose location that can be stunning and filmic. An ocean, a field, snow or desert cost nothing and you can create the most stunning piece using these locations. A film is a visual medium. You need to have something to dream about when you watch a film otherwise what’s the point? I love wide space. I love the fact that you can escape and be totally free in nature. I’m a bit claustrophobic so if you stuck me in a forest I will feel weird but if you let me go in a huge empty desert, I feel at home. I’m calm and at peace. Even if there’s darkness around me at that moment, wide open space can be very therapeutic. It can be isolation or it can be an healing process. depend on the film, depend on how you receives it 🙂
ML:  As well as short films, you’ve also done a number of music videos (I watched two done for Automatik Eden, one for Zeraphine and one for Philip Aelis).  The bands all seemed to have a similar style and flavor – do you seek bands out to shoot their videos and come up with their concepts or do they seek you out?  Or are these groups friends of yours?  I know in a few of your videos you featured music written and performed by friends.
PP:  Music video wise, I’m kinda of a groupie. I don’t care about the money or fame. I just want to create cool concept, videos with bands that I love. Zeraphine for example, I contacted them cause I love their music for years. They checked my stuff and the singer said yes, let’s shoot. So I flew to them for free to shoot with them. It was so fun. I will never do music video if I hate the band, just for money. I won’t. I won’t have any fun doing it. Same from Philip in France or Automatik Eden. I did 2 videos for them and they look different but similar. We experienced and tried stuff. It’s so fun. The goal is to bring your style in everything you do. It can be challenging. I create all concept then I pitch it to them. I love supporting new bands or just collaborating with amazing talents around the world. I have so many bands I want to work with.
ML:  The Philip Aelis video seemed very unlike the other music videos I viewed in that it featured color instead of muted black and whites.  What was the difference there that made you move away from what you’d done with other bands?
PP:  We wanted to create something that the woman was in her own world, isolated from anybody. He had a connection to a night club and I said what about having this girl to be all alone and dancing with the lights and lasers, that she can be free of anything. Something very simple but elegant, classy and dreamy. There it was. In everything that I do, the colours need to pop out of the screen. I love when everything is natural, organic. I hate special effects , I don’t want to do them. My challenge is always to create beauty just from the lenses and the person. Nothing fake. It’s hard sometimes but at the end it works.
ML:  You mentioned to me in our conversations over the past couple of months that your films are about the strength of women in cinema.  Does this include your music videos? I noticed in Automatik Eden’s The Agency that there were themes of BDSM with a woman being in chains amongst other images.  If your work is about the strength of women in cinema, was your message here about power play in the BDSM community and were you trying to say that subs have the most power over doms instead of vice versa?  Or was this video simply one you directed as being opposed to one you also came up with the concept for?
PP:  It’s funny what you can see in my films 🙂 I love it. I love sensuality, beauty, fashion and in cinema, mostly it’s always about men point of view and the woman are object or secondary. I never liked that. I always wanted to give the woman a voice in so many ways. When you check my work it’s never about the body it’s about the face. Anybody can have a perfect body but no one has the same story in their face. Everyone is different, unique. I love facial expression and the beauty of the face. I’m really pushing hard to give woman a place in cinema with my style. My 3 next feature films are all about woman again. Men are there but they are used in a totally different way. For the music video, the song was about being trapped by the system so I had an idea to have her chained with the spotlight on her with her clothing all ripped off. They really liked it and on camera it look bad ass I think 🙂 I wanted her to have control of the chain and be strong, fierce when she was looking at us and it worked.
ML:  Your works that I viewed all feature very stunningly beautiful women.  Do you believe that women’s strength lies in their beauty?
PP:  Beauty can be a sadness and a strength  it can be a prison for some and courage for others. It all depends. That’s what I love about woman, about man, about visual. It’s so complex. It’s never just one layer. Beauty is everything and nothing at the same time. Depend on your personality at the end. It’s to creates a balance. Like I said in White Blossoms: Beauty is nothing if you don’t have the energy , the vibe, the personality to bring it to life in the most unique way. It’s all about what you do with the tool you have. You can be visually ordinary but if you have the most amazing personality. you will be the most gorgeous woman on earth.
ML:  On that same note, your film White Blossoms once again features very beautiful women and on the surface at least seems to be about body image.  But it also could be viewed as a take on the sexualization of women in society and also as the sexual journey a woman takes throughout her lifetime.  Is this up to the viewer to decide or is the meaning supposed to be very clear?
PP:  I think in the film it’s very clear where I stand. Like I said, if you don’t know what to do with that beauty that you have, you will be an empty shell, woman or man. It’s the same, you can be perfect from the outside but so empty inside. Every one needs to stop running and being stuck in that circle of life or society and just focus on themselves. they need to connect with the inner beauty to really create that balance of pure power and strength to be able to functioned.
ML:   I only watched the links you sent me (the music videos, Something in the Way, White Blossoms and of course On the Horizon) and with the exception of the music videos, there really aren’t any men featured in your works.  Are there men in your other works or is it really all about the women?
PP:  In my short it’s mostly about woman. My feature film will also be about women but, yes, men will be there too but it will be used in a different form. They will never be the center of my story. I prefer to give the voice to the women and make them shine with my style. People will love it or hate it but at least they will have a voice. I don’t know, all my life I’ve been connected way more with womean then men. It was just naturally for me. I always talked, listen and interacted with women. They said write about what you know, well that’s what I know 🙂 All my films, characters are me. They are women through my eyes. I love to create dreamy, moody films to showcase them in that world, just to recreate reality for me is boring. I want to dream and be in a different world. If I want reality I’ll open my door and see where I live 🙂 Nothing is accurate cause it’s an opinion. Like the film On The Horizon – that subject I’ve been there. I’ve been both parts: the broken hearted and the heart crusher. I’m far from being perfect but everything relation wise I know I’m pretty good at talking and expressing that subject in film or feature film.