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An Interview with Paul C. Hemmes, Director, and Brinke Stevens, Star of Maya

by Mike Haberfelner

March 2019

Films starring Brinke Stevens on (re)Search my Trash

Films directed by Paul C. Hemmes on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Maya - in a few words, what is it about?


Paul: Maya is a shape shifting soul collector who attempts to drag a group of unsuspecting non-believers into the afterlife through deceptive means, including manipulation of their darkest fears.


Brinke, what can you tell us about your character in Maya, and what did you draw upon to bring the character to life?


Brinke: The wardrobe helped a lot, I had this fabulous dress and kind of an old-fashioned jacket and shoes. So just wearing the outfit helped get me into character. Also, we shot in an actual tea house, so the atmosphere was perfect. As far as what did I draw upon to bring the character to life, I do good crazy, so it was fun to menace the leading lady in the film and the lighting also helped. There was very eerie lighting which helped me to get into my crazy place.


Brinke, how did you get involved with the project in the first place, and Paul, what made Brinke perfect for the job?


Brinke: Paul contacted me through my agent on IMDb. I loved the script, so he brought me out to Phoenix.


Paul: Hiring Brinke was a no brainer. We had a small role that required someone with presence who could play both warm and approachable as well as bat crap crazy. Brinke is by nature a genuinely nice person so that part comes through well enough, and as anyone familiar with Brinkeís resume can tell you, she can play bat crap crazy quite well. Throw in the fact that she is a horror legend and a seasoned professional. My goodness, what else can I ask for?  Iím a lucky guy really.


What can you tell us about the rest of Maya's cast, and why exactly these people?


Paul: Some of the cast are young veterans that have been in the business for a good while. Others are fresh talent or people that have been on my radar screen for a while. Mainly, I looked for a combination of experienced character actors and local talent with an unusually impressive work ethic. These guys come ready to play which makes my job easier. I think it will ultimately allow them all to shine because they are playing off of other actors who are also ďready for prime timeĒ.


Paul, what were your sources of inspiration when writing Maya?


Paul: For background, "Maya", in some schools of Hinduism, refers to illusion or deception in the abstract; but more specifically, as it relates to the material universe. They believe that by cultivating the quality of goodness in the soul, one may rise to transcendence and escape the clutches of Maya. Itís much more complicated and nuanced than that, and the film is not intended as a representation of the concept, but it is the underlying seed to the story.


Paul, do talk about your approach to horror, and Brinke, especially given your background in the genre, how could you identify with Maya's brand of horror?


Paul: Horror films have always been my favorite. There is much room to experiment stylistically in the horror genre because the world you create doesnít have to be grounded in reality. The parameters, or rules, just need to be established and followed by the filmmaker.


Brinke: I found the script very eerie and atmospheric. It seemed much more of a classic style horror film than is usually made today.


Paul, do talk about your directorial approach to your story at hand!


Paul: Iíve always been partial to the American New Wave films of the 70ís and early 80ís. I approach the actors and their interactions from this space. I like realism in the acting. A good actor can say more with a look than with all the arm waving or camera tricks in the world. Fortunately, I have very GOOD actors on Maya. HOWEVER, as I mentioned earlier, with horror you can always experiment, especially with low budget horror. These are the films you should be experimenting on. With the Maya action scenes, I try to go big on style like the expressionism movies that came out in the 20ís. Bend reality to suit your need. At least as big as our budget will allow.


What was the collaboration between the two of you actually like?


Brinke: Paul picked me up at the airport. We met again later that evening for dinner with the other actress in scene as well as some of the crew. We read through the script and talked about it which was very helpful. I was able to ask my questions early. I donít get that very often and was grateful for the opportunity to have a table read and rehearsal prior to shooting.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


Brinke: We shot at the Spicery, which was an old 1800ís house. It was wonderful to be there because it was so cute and kitschy, also Matthew the owner was amazing. He made sure that everybody had all the tea and cake that they wanted. It was a really comfortable and beautiful location which made it even creepier when we added the lighting and creepy dolls.


The $64-question of course, when and where might Maya be released, however tentatively?


Paul: Itís bad luck to discuss distribution while those deals are being discussed. We will have the film ready for preview screenings hopefully by October. Good time for new horror films. Beyond that, stay tuned.


Any future projects beyond Maya?


Brinke: I donít know, the year is still shaping up. I shot a lot of films last year. I hope itís good again for me this year.


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Your shop for all things Thai

Paul: It depends on whatever interests me at the appropriate time. My intention is to shoot something relatively soon after, but I have a number of possibilities as to what that is.


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


Paul: You can like us on Facebook - @MAYAhorrormovie. Website and trailers coming soon.


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


Paul: Weíve been very fortunate on this project. Working with some great people. One person that hasnít been mentioned yet is special make up effects artist Joe Castro [Joe Castro interview - click here]. He created some of our key effects for this film. First time I was able to work with him. It was a great thrill for me. He couldnít have been nicer.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
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
to the weirdly romantic,
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
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


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