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An Interview with Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, Star of Valley of the Sasquatch

by Mike Haberfelner

March 2015

Films starring Miles Joris-Peyrafitte on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Valley of the Sasquatch - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?


I think it's about family. Obviously it's about a terrifying monster… but also family. I think that Michael is trying desperately to connect with his father in some way. And Roger as well is trying to connect to Michael. The problem is they really don't have enough in common to meet anywhere in the middle. In a way, their shared endeavor to not be murdered by Bigfoot is what gives them that common ground to move forward in their relationship.


What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much of Miles Joris-Peyrafitte can we find in Michael?


I think there is a lot of me in Michael. Firstly, I'd probably react similarly to the situation. That is to say, I'd run and cry a lot. But also I think that that feeling of being truly alone is one that most people can relate to. I for sure could. Although I have not suffered the kind of loss Michael had, there were certainly instances in my life where felt like no one understood me.


How did you get involved with the project in the first place, and to what extent could you relate to Valley of the Sasquatch's horror theme?


I first heard about the project from Elias [Elias interview - click here], the director of Gut. He told me about this movie out of Seattle that was looking for its lead. He also really talked everyone involved up in a good way. So from there I just went on tape and a couple weeks later I heard back that I had gotten the part. Obviously I was stoked. At first I really responded to the arc of the character. I thought it was really powerful how Michael has to overcome his inherent fear to deal with the situation. I think that the horror genre in particular is interesting for character development because it highlights their weakness.


What can you tell us about your director John Portanova [John Portanova interview - click here], and what was your collaboration with him like?


John is an encyclopedia of genre films. He's seen everything, read everything, listened to all the soundtracks. He brings all that to the table when you work with him. It's funny though, we didn't talk too much about the actual Sasquatch or anything like that, mostly we discussed the characters. I think that's something really unique about John's style. Although the story takes place in this insane scary world, what's most important is the emotional truth of what's going on with the characters.


Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!


The on set atmosphere was amazing. Everyone was really excited to be working on the film. Which is always a big plus.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I'm really excited to be in development right now for my feature length directorial debut As a Friend with Votiv. Which wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't done Valley of the Sasquatch because I wouldn't have met Brent or Sean (my producers). That's really occupying most of my time right now.

Also, I'm really excited about Elias' new film A. that The October People are developing right now. I'm really excited to be a part of that. The script is amazing and Elias is one of those guys, like John, who just knows everything about his genre and brings a certain intelligence to his films that's really refreshing.


What got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I got into acting because when I was 7 my brother was already in film school. Obviously I looked up to him immensely and decided to make my own films with my best friend Madison. The trouble was, no one wanted to be in them so we would act in each others films.

After that I studied it in boarding school and a little more at Bard college.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Valley of the Sasquatch?


Mostly my prior film work has been in other horror or genre films. As well as a substantial amount of short films and whatnot.


Over the years, you have also done quite a bit of stagework, right? So what can you tell us about Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, the stage actor, and how does performing on stage compare to acting in a movie?


Stage acting is just a different group of muscles. It's a different way of channeling the character. The work beforehand is ultimately the same, but that way you put that character into your body changes. I really like doing theater because it's an experience that forces you to create something outside of yourself. You project, if you will. Film is more internal. I like doing both. It helps me stay a balanced person. I think.


Besides being an actor, you're also (or at least have been) a director, writer and musician - so what can you tell us about those aspects of your career, and how do they complement one another? And any other talents of yours you'd like to share?


As I mentioned before the directing thing is kind of what I am focusing on right now. I have been given this unbelievable opportunity to make a very personal film that I also wrote. I think I'm really lucky to have been able to do both acting and directing. They obviously inform each other to a severe degree. And I hope the more I do one the better I become at the other.

I also play in rock band called Skinnybones. We are about to record our third album. So that takes up some time too!


How would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?


That's a hard question. For me it's really scene by scene. Sometimes something comes effortlessly. Other times I need to take a walk or something to get into the right mindset. I'm not method or anything. My "techniques" are pretty boring. I make a lot of playlists I guess. Stuff that either the character might listen to, or stuff I think resembles a similar tone I'm trying to hit in the performance. But really I just try and listen to the other actor.


Actors (and indeed actresses) who inspire you?


I actually rarely feel inspired by "actors". Much more I'll feel inspired by a character or a moment or something. I remember on set D'Angelo Midili (who played Will) was carrying this book about Brando under his arm and like studying it really closely. I wish I could do that. That's probably why he's so good.


Your favourite movies?


I really like French new wave films. That's kind of what I grew up on. So like Breathless, Masculine Feminine, all that stuff.

I also got lucky enough to study film with one of my favorite filmmakers, Kelly Reichardt. Her movie Wendy and Lucy was pretty seminal for me.

Then of course there are the classics, but I'm sure you can guess those.

Also I love Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders. Jeremy (cinematographer) and I talked a lot about  that one on set.


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


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Ha, I tend to forget films I don't like so I'm not really sure. But also, making movies (even bad ones) is super goddamn hard so I'd hate to belittle anyones work just because I don't like it.


Your website, Facebook, whatever else?


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


Nope, thanks!


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
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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
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