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An Interview with Carl Medland, Director and Star of Paranormal Farm

by Mike Haberfelner

December 2017

Carl Medland on (re)Search my Trash


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


Paranormal Farm is a film where I play a paranormal investigator investigating paranormal activity in a farm for Lucy and Darren and trying to get close to the truth of whatís happening in the farm. I also discover their daughter Jessica went missing in the woods five years previously.


Paranormal Farm revolves around a paranormal investigation - so did you do any research into that field prior to making the film, and your personal thoughts on the subject?


I am hugely into the world of the paranormal and I used to go to spiritual church myself where I was developing my psychic sensibilities. For a little while I became quite in tune with other realities, as my study into these other realities progressed, such as reading Doris Stokes books and watching anything on TV which had paranormal investigators and psychics.

I experienced more and more spiritual for phenomena such as sensing people in the room seeing things in the corner of my eye. This got more progressive and I used to wake up experiencing night terrors and sleep paralysis which let me to writing and producing my previous  feature film The Spiritualist, which explores these phenomena.


(Other) sources of inspiration when writing Paranormal Farm?


My main inspiration when making this film was in fact Lucy and Darren, the farmers, and the farm itself. Coming from a farming background Iíve always had a strong interest for farmers and the community and the daily running of a farm, I find farms eerie in appearance and the isolation lends it self to the perfect filmset.


How rigidly did you stick to your script when shooting Paranormal Farm, and/or was there lots of improvisation involved?


I had no script for this film, it was important to me to work very much in the moment where I didnít feel disabled by a script or actors or a crew or a budget. The only true storyline I had was that I was going to attend the farm and investigate any paranormal activity that was happening, it had to be realistic, authentic and spontaneous. My producer Taz was often setting up scares and making things go bump in the night which I didnít want to have any prior knowledge of. I wanded  to capture all my findings on my phone, it was important using my phone because I feel in this day and age people are more connected to the mobile devices than ever before and I wanted to make an immersive film where viewers were transported to this isolated location themselves seeing what I was seeing, experiencing what I was experiencing and feeling what I was feeling.


Lucy and Darren the farmers didnít have any knowledge of what we were going to film other than the fact I was there to investigate. It was important for me as an investigator to ask them questions in the moment and capture authentic responses. Every now and then I will drip feed them small chunk size pieces of information which enabled them to always be in the moment and truthful and not having to perform in any way. It was important we established a good rapport and trust from the outset.


Do talk about Paranormal Farm's approach to horror, and is this a genre at all dear to you?


I wanted this film to be a found footage(ish) film which has nods to past films such as The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. But it had to have its own identity at the same time, so I wanted the documentary aspect of the film to be immersive and sincere and simple in its approach. I was also inspired by films such as The Wicker Man and The Hills Have Eyes, where there is the fear of the unknown of the occult and people with indifferences.


The titular farm plays a big part in Paranormal Farm - so do talk about the location for a bit, and how did you find it, what was it like filming there? And when writing the movie, did you have this exact location in mind already?


Mumtaz Yildirimlar the producer has previously shot a film on this farm and introduced me to both the farm and Lucy and Darren the farmers. We knew we would shoot another film here with no actors, budget, script or crew. We set ourselves the challenge of shooting the whole film on my mobile phone over the course of one weekend. We had to be resourceful and creative. I felt it was the most stimulating filmmaking days Iíve ever experienced when I had to think outside the box, it really forced my creativity. I thrive when creativity is born in the moment thatís when you have to have all your senses alert, your awareness open, and Iím very much into embracing the power of now.


Why did you choose the found footage approach for Paranormal Farm, and what are the advantages and challenges filming that way? And after this movie, could you ever be persuaded to shoot first-person style again?


We chose to shoot the film in a found footage approach because of the immersive benefits. We wanted to transport our audience to the farm as if they were experiencing my investigation first hand. Also this worked to our zero budget restraint. I would absolutely film this way again as it was satisfying and time-effective not having to conversed with the MPs, lighting technicians, actors, agents, assistant directors, the list goes on and on, every minute we spent that weekend on the farm was utilised effectively.


You also play the lead in Paranormal Farm - so have you written that part with yourself in mind from the get-go, and how much of yourself can you find in him?


M y character was the link from the audience perspective and I didnít want to act in the film, I wanted to simply be myself in the moment. So what you see of myself in the film is pretty much me for real. Obviously we had to stage a couple scenes for a fact that my knowledge of this was limited.


Do talk about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?


Working with Lucy and Darren was amazing, they are so interesting as farmers, asking them questions and documenting their life was to me interesting in its own right, they were both willing and able to be sincere and truthful to the moment once rapport was established, very quickly enabling us to trust one another throughout this weekend process.


What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


The weekend shoot was probably the best two days of my life because we had a blank canvas, the farm, and Iíve been wanting to go through a process like this for a few years now and my passion within the horror films Iíve seen over the years Iíve saved up like a sponge and then just threw it or on this blank canvas. Theyíre not salutes to many films that you may discover in this investigation.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of your movie yet?


The movie is released on Amazon today in both the USA and UK, we have had three reviews so far where we are delighted with their responses. The common theme discussed is that the film is creepy and authentic and unpredictable, so weíre happy reading those claims.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


My previous project is also coming out next week on Amazon in USA and other streaming platforms, this is another paranormal film about night terrors and sleep paralysis which I have personal experience in. The film is called The Spiritualist and it also explores the similarities between mental illness and spirituality.


What got you into making movies in the first place?


When I was younger are used to hire a video camera and make up films very much in the moment. We always had the camera for two days and had to create a short film. This was somehow me expressing myself from a young age, and I have the fondest memories so itís been a pleasure reconnecting to this method and making a film and reconnecting to that spontaneous passion.


Going through your filmography, you seem to have done it all, writing, producing, directing, acting and whatnot - why is that, and what do you enjoy the most, what could you do without?


I guess I see myself first and foremost as a filmmaker who's about storytelling via film. I make films that challenge people's common beliefs and complacency. I donít like to spoonfeed my audience I like them to have to guess whatís going to happen in the next scene and to play the role of investigator. I do throw myself into most roads as I feel sometimes itís the quickest route and unfiltered in its approach where you are not having to have many conversations with many creatives tearing your belief and vision into many pieces.


Filmmakers, writers, actors, whoever else who inspire you? And your favourite movies


I take inspirations from many different places in the world we inhabit, it could be a new story thatís very topical, it could be a feeling that I have brewing up for days and it evolves via storytelling, it can be a conversation I overhear in the pub, Iím very nosy and inquisitive in nature and it often gets me into much trouble.


I like Stephen Daldry for his sensitivity and stories he likes to tell, I like Mike Lee and his approach to filmmaking, and there are endless horror films that I adore and like the James Wan films, The Conjuring Parts One and Two, Insidious, Annabel, Saw, these were all groundbreaking films that Iíve taken new and fresh inspiration from.


Films you really deplore?


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I really donít like films that spoonfeed you, there are so many horror films of late that rely on cheap CGI, intrusive music, telling the audience where they should jump and weak storylines that have no relevance or purpose.


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Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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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