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An Interview with Anna Sanderson, Star of M is for Myctophobia

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2013

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Your new movie M is for Myctophobia - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?


It's a short horror film, directed by Jordan Morris of Waking Dream Studios. I play a woman who wakes up injured in an unfamiliar, dark room. The reasons for her being there unravel as the film goes on. I don't want to give too much away, but it's about revenge, fear and, in a twisted way, love.


To what extent can you identify with the titular "myctophobia", the fear of darkness, and what did you draw upon to bring your character to life?


I wouldn't say I have a fear of the dark in general but what I don't like are those walk through rides at theme parks where everything takes place in the dark and you don't know when somebody might jump out at you. My friend and I went on a ghost train in Blackpool a few years ago and, towards the end of the ride, everything went pitch black and someone came from nowhere and touched my shoulder. As silly as it sounds, that's what I was focussing on when we first started filming.


As the sole actor in M is for Myctophobia, you pretty much carry the films on your shoulders from beginning to end - so what kind of a challenge was that?


It was a completely new challenge for me as I'm used to having other cast members to bounce off whereas with this all I had to work with during the scenes were my own thoughts and emotions. The crew were all excellent though - extremely supportive - and it was a great experience.


How did you get involved with the project to begin with?


I've known about Waking Dream for a long time as both my partner and a good friend of mine have filmed with them in the past and I've always liked their work. I wanted to gain some more filming experience so I got in touch with them and when this came up they asked if I was interested.


What can you tell us about your director Jordan Morris, and what was your collaboration like?


Jordan's a great director. He knows what he wants and is really supportive and helpful, as are all the crew I worked with.


Do talk about the shoot as such for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere?


Well, we filmed in a garage and we were in the dark for most of the shoot with lots of theatrical smoke so it was all very eerie but great fun. It really fitted with how I'd imagined it would be when I first read the script. There were only four of us working on the film; myself and Jordan, the writer Richard Reynolds [Richard Reynolds interview - click here], and our lovely make-up lady, Carrie. We all got on really well, which was great. It meant we could have fun as well as work hard to make the film the best it could be. It was a great experience for me.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I'm currently working with Arletty Theatre and we've just started a rural tour with a play called Patchwork Lives, which is a storytelling piece about two characters who live in an old, run-down house filled with lost stories. We're touring around Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire throughout November. I'm also working on a play called Granny Must Die with a new Mansfield based company, Zodiac. Aside from that, I'm writing a book about Eva Peron, and how she's still fascinating and inspiring people so many years after her death. I did my degree in Creative Writing, so it's nice to be writing about something I'm passionate about.


How did you get into acting to begin with, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?


I've been acting since I was about four. I remember my first ever performance was at infant school and we had a T.I.E company visit and they wanted people to help them out. Anyway, they had a character called Anna and because that's my name they chose me to help them. They went through the story with me and told me what lines I had to say and when, and then we performed in front of the rest of the school.  I remember that I loved it and didn't really feel nervous at all even though I used to be quite shy. After that, I was involved in all the school plays but I didn't actually start training until I was in my early teens when I joined the Mansfield Palace Youth Theatre, where I now work. After that I went on to study Performing Arts at West Notts College and got National Diploma and Higher National Diploma.


As far as I know, you've so far mainly done theatre - so what can you tell us about your career as a stage actress, and how does performing on stage compare to acting in front of a camera, and which one do you prefer, actually?


I've always enjoyed everything about the theatre and I think that will always be my first love. There's nothing quite like performing to a live audience and the adrenaline you get from that. I've worked with quite a few local companies over the years and I'm thoroughly enjoying all the theatre work I do now. I particularly like original work and being able to help develop characters. I've been working on Patchwork Lives since the beginning (almost a year ago) when the piece was commissioned by Hatch and we performed at the Buxton Fringe over the summer. The show got a five-star review, which was really exciting.


Can you still remember your first time in front of a camera, and what was that experience like?


The first thing I ever really filmed was an advert for a college that a friend of mine shot. All I remember is being asked to jump around to this dance track and look happy. After that we went on a faux tour of the college and asked questions we thought might be helpful for students to know the answers to. It was all very random and lots of fun but a bit nerve wracking as I'd never done nothing like it before.


Do talk about your filmwork prior to M is for Myctophobia for a bit?


Prior to this I mainly worked with a good friend of mine who studied media at the same time I was doing my HND. I filmed several things for him, including a pilot for a detective comedy called Sleuths. My character Raquel was extremely sarcastic but good at her job. She was great fun to play.


You also run acting classes, right? Care to elaborate?


I work at the Palace Youth Theatre and I also run adult drama classes. I run a group at the theatre every Wednesday night called Open Doors, which is for anyone aged 18+ who's interested in theatre. We have a good mix of abilities and backgrounds, and it's so lovely to be able to teach and work with such a great group of people. They're willing to give anything a go and they make my job extremely rewarding. We run in blocks of ten week terms and look at everything from practitioners, such as Stanislavski and Brecht, to devising skills and script work. We also have a showcase every other term so the group can put their new skills to the test and show the public what they've been doing.


How would you describe yourself as an actress?


That's a difficult question! I guess I'd say versatile - I like to try different roles. I always used to say comedy was my main strength but I've been doing lots of different genres of late and I really enjoy the challenge of being out of my comfort zone.


Actresses (or indeed actors) who inspire you?


I absolutely love Julie Walters. She's such a great character actress and can be hilarious. I also get the impression she's a genuinely nice woman; the sort of person it would be good to go for a drink with. My favourite actor is probably Ryan Gosling at the moment.


Your favourite movies?


I love all kinds of movies but I watch independent or foreign films most often. My all time favourite though is Alan Parker's 1996 version of the musical, Evita. If I hadn't seen that film I'd never have joined the youth theatre so it will always hold a very special place in my heart.


... and of course, films you really deplored?


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I can't think of one film in particular but action's my least favourite genre. There are action films out there that I've enjoyed but as a rule they're not really my thing.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


Here's a link to the film: and the Waking Dream website: 

My Twitter accounts: annasanderson86 (me) and TheEvitaProject (my book)

And you can find Arletty Theatre and The Evita Project on Facebook too.


Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


There's nothing I can think of.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD