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An Interview with Michaela Longden, Writer and Star of Gaslight

by Mike Haberfelner

July 2019

Films starring Michaela Longden on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your upcoming film Gaslight - in a few words, what's it going to be about?

 

Gas lighting is a form of emotional abuse and psychological manipulation where the victim starts to question their own sense of reality. Be that memory, perception, or sanity, this unfortunately often leads to deeper and potentially more dangerous mental health problems.

 

Could you explain "gas lighting" in a little more detail, and without wanting to be too personal, have you ever experienced something like this yourself?

 

Gas lighting is a term that not many people are aware of and often they don’t understand it. I was a victim of gas lighting myself and this film was written whilst trying to deal with the PTSD I encountered afterwards. At the time I had no idea what was happening to me, I only realised what had happened a few months after. I felt like a spectator watching my life pass me by and the lines between reality and fiction became blurred as I was convinced I was acting inappropriately and things were all in my head. I didn’t understand the power of emotional manipulation. I didn’t understand that physical abuse is more than a ‘hit’ or a ‘punch’. All I knew was that I was exhausted and I was losing myself.

 

As far as I know, Gaslight's your first stab at screenwriting - so what prompted that move, and why did you choose to tell exactly this story?

 

The film was never set out to be a film. It came from a time where I started to write my feelings and thoughts down as a coping mechanism. As a way to make sense of what had happened. I was suffering from insomnia and major anxiety, and writing enabled me to explore what happened rather then bury it. It was quite a while down the line I looked at all my scatty notes and thought… I think I can use this as a basis to tell a story and to raise awareness of a subject very close to my heart. And here we are. I feel extremely exposed but I have to remember why I wrote this story and why it must be told.

 

How would you describe yourself as a writer, and writers (for whatever medium) who inspire you?

 

Stories about people, current anxieties and real contemporary issues that push boundaries inspire me. Writing that is written with the aim of change that evokes thought. Obviously I am a hug fan of Black Mirror.

 

What can you tell us about Gaslight's director Nicole Pott, and what's your collaboration with her like so far?

 

Nicole is the most hard working person I have ever met. I met her on set of the short film Choice which she was a producer on some years ago. I always remembered  her passion and hard working nature. We stayed in touch via social media and I kept an eye out on the work she was producing and then directing. She has a beautiful artistic approach and sincerity to her work which is definitely needed in this project. It was weird, I knew straight away she was my director and I was keen to get her involved before she became too big and would say no, haha! She is going places! Since collaborating it has been confirmed that we have a very synched aesthetic vision for the film which is incredibly important.

 

You also play the lead in Gaslight - so do talk about your character, what will you draw upon to bring her to life, and did you write her with yourself in mind from the get-go?

 

She was written from my experiences and I debated for a while if I should play her or not, mainly due to fear. I was scared - scared of what people would think, of judgement and of being vulnerable. However, this is all part of the journey I guess. What is the point in half-exposing a story? For me, there was no other option. I needed to tell this story myself, so that it remains sincere, honest and above all else it is the last hurdle I will need to jump through in moving forward from this experience. In showing that victims will not be silenced and we are not ashamed.

 

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

 

Anthony Quinlan is the last cast member - he is a well known soap actor and an absolute gent. I was introduced to him by writer Paul Butler from Book of Monsters who actually became a bit of a script writing mentor for me throughout Gaslight. As soon as I saw Anthony I knew that he was perfect. He has this beautiful sincerity but can play something a little rough around the edges and darker. I really hoped that he liked the script. Luckily he did and so we were able to move forward.

 

As far as I know, as we speak Gaslight is still in its fundraising stages - so what can you tell us about your campaign?

 

We have just launched our IndieGoGo campaign.

In order to make the film, we are looking to raise £5250. This budget, while tight, will allow us to cover the basics – feeding them (very important), sleeping arrangements and transporting our cast and crew as well as paying for locations and covering insurances.

indiegogo.com/projects/gaslight-film

 

Once the budget's in place, what's the schedule? And any idea when and where the film might be released yet?

 

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We aim to film the last weekend of August. As of yet, we are hoping it hits some of the bigger festivals. We are aiming high! Cannes, Tribeca and Sundance would be phenomenal.

 

Any future projects beyond Gaslight?

 

At the moment a few potential projects coming up which I cannot yet discuss but I am very excited to be a part of.

 

Your/your movie's website, Facebook, IndieGoGo?

 

indiegogo.com/projects/gaslight-film

Twitter: @filmgaslight

Instagram: gaslight short

 

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
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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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD