Your movie The
Girl Who Wasn't Missing - in a few words, what is it about?
There are many films about children who are kidnapped, or ones who run
away, those who die in accidents, from illnesses, and, of course, child
murders. I felt it was important to touch on a teenager who is
simply not wanted. By her parents, by the system, by society. Isolation
can be the scariest and loneliest place to be, especially for a teenager
since they already feel this way in general at this time of their lives,
and there are kids out there who have a story like this. So, I felt it
needed to be addressed.
Girl Who Wasn't Missing is actually a radical re-imagining or your
Pedophile Released [accompanying
interview - click here] - so what can you tell us about that film
and the controversy it caused to make you recut it in such a way?
are you really gonna get me started?! Well, my experience with that film,
was, damn, where do I even begin? With Warning!!!
Pedophile Released I wanted to make people
question right and wrong, love and rape, good and evil. At what point does
society and the system need to back the fuck off, and at what point should
they intervene? My life changed drastically when I was 5 years old because
of society and the system butting in, and again when I was 16, so I think,
even though the story in the film was made up, I was, and always am,
asking a lot of these questions myself. Never would I want my 12-year-old
daughter (if I had one) dating an 18-year-old guy. But then again, if this
guy honestly never would touch her beyond a simple kiss until she's of age
or mature enough to say yes and understand exactly what sex is, versus her
dating a 13 or 14-year-old boy who's just trying to score that very
instant and lose his virginity to her, and possibly getting her pregnant,
then who would she be better off with? The guy who loves her and respects
her, or the horny kid trying to score one time who doesn't give a fuck
about her? Well, obviously I'd pick the guy who loves her, but now we have
the age factor, so shit, it's a Catch-22. And that was the question, the
point of the movie. What would you have done, basically? Because in this
particular case, taking him away from her ruins both of their lives
forever, and the most vile and unthinkable things happen to both of them
because society butts in and tells them no, when they probably would have
lived great lives together if people had just let them be. So, in this
case, he was not a threat, even though in most cases somebody his age
would have been to somebody her age. And that was the point of the title,
to make it out like a propaganda thing, "oh, no, 'Warning!!!
Pedophile Released'." Only to find out that it's everyone else in
the film causing the girl incredible harm (and getting away with it), so
what hypocrites everybody but the so-called pedophile become.
But apparently that title, even though it says "Warning", not
say "A Pedophiles Guide Book", was so bloody offensive, that
practically everybody pussied-out and rejected the movie just because of
the title. Even though there's nothing pornographic about it, and nothing
in it promoting anything illegal. Like The Woodsman with Kevin
Bacon, it's simply showing a side to humanity we aren't comfortable
seeing. And the character in Warning!!!
Pedophile Released isn't even an actual molester like in The Woodsman. But big companies are hypocritical little
cock-sucking pussy lying bitches. Many places carrying my other films not
only rejected Warning!!!
Pedophile Released but then dropped all of my other films. And many of
these places were companies which actually sell hardcore and pretty
disgusting double anal-penetrating pornography. They have these porn
categories along with their mainstream Hollywood films and indie films.
Even Mr. Skin couldn't carry it because of some deal with their credit
card companies cracking down on them. Netflix rejected it for the title
even though they carry films with actual real sex, and carry other films
with vulgar titles like "Young People Fucking". I mean, come
one, fucking society, hypocrites, I tell you, much like the point of the
film. It's so disgusting how fucking retarded and hypocritical everybody
was being. So, a few months after that I thought, "well this is
goddamn mother fucking horseshit. I spent nearly a year on this film and
not only would hardly anybody carry it, it actually got all of my other
films I've ever done now banned by many places." And those films had
real sex in them and graphic rape scenes, but those were totally okay, by
the way (the Amateur
Porn Star Killer-trilogy). Fucking stupid hypocrites.
Even Joanna Angel's publicist refused to say one word about her appearance
in the film because she was terrified of the title. I mean, this is a
famous adult star who's known for especially being able to do tons of
hardcore anal on-camera sex. But her appearance (with no sexual content)
in a new non-adult arthouse film coming out with a strong social
commentary and even a 4-Star Los Angeles Times review? No way, soooo
taboo. Which is even more funny, last night I'm watching Paul Schrader's The Canyons with Lindsay Lohan. Her leading man is Joanna's
many-times costar and former boyfriend, adult star (of over 1,000 films)
James Deen. We see Deen go down on Lohan while another guy jerks off
(who's junk we actually see right beforehand), Deen walks around fully
nude with his junk also hanging out and forever (along with another guy
and another girl), all of them participating in gangbangs, guys sucking
guys off, Lohan girl-on-girl action, etc., and Deen even murders one of
the girls he's banging by cutting her to death. All this totally okay and
acceptable for even a soft R-Rating (versus NC-17) and all of these same
stores have it on the front shelf, website, etc. Wow, wow, wow.
Anyway, I was pissed, obviously, and thought there's got to be another way
of getting this movie out there. And I never in the first place even
wanted to make films with titles like Amateur
Porn Star Killer or Warning!!!
Pedophile Released. Those titles all came as a
joke because nobody ever paid attention when I used blunt (i.e. Isolation/Numb/The Cleansing) or more
poetic titles (The Snake's Kiss Good-Bye). But then
soooo many people suddenly took notice with the Amateur
Porn Star Killer films simply because of their titles, so I thought I had to do
it again with Warning!!!
Pedophile Released. But then it backfired on me with Warning!!!
Pedophile Released. So, I figured out
how to re-cut it, make it a totally different story by eliminating many of
the characters, including the pedophile character. Then I was able to
think of a new title, and use the kinds of titles I actually like.
Unfortunately, as I've proven, a title like The
Girl Who Wasn't Missing
is grabbing hardly anybody's attention (when you have no
big festival acceptances or money to even enter festivals, and no money
for advertising, and it's a no budget film with no actors who have really
done anything before, then your little underground film is fucked unless
it has an exploitative title) and the big indie arthouse type of reviewers
and magazines which is what I truly aim for (versus horror/exploitation
outlets - though nothing against them) never take notice (probably due to
Porn Star Killer titles) and if they only would that would really help put it on
the map, but since they won't I can't get anyone to pay attention to this
film. But hey, it's got a title I like, and eventually it might get
another chance to be seen by people. I mean, you've already took notice,
so there we go. And I think the story is important, to show that there are
teenagers who go through this stuff. I feel I get my message across in
this version without having to be exploitative in any way - not with the
content, the story, or even the title.
easy or hard was it to re-cut Warning!!!
Pedophile Released? And what prompted you to put your focus on
exactly the story you're telling in the new version?
was a while back when I re-cut it but I think I remember it being insanely
easy once I decided to do it. I just figured out what I needed to cut out
(which was a ton), and then add a new opening/ending credit sequence and
do some new titles (which I tried to do in an old-fashioned stylized but
very simple-silent film-type of way). So, I just added a little new touch
to it. You know me, I like those silent films homages, which I guess makes
sense since most of the movie is now dialogue-free. As far as putting the
focus on the story, I'm not really sure. I know what I'm trying to say
with the story, as explained earlier about putting focus on the forgotten
and never-wanted kid, but not sure what exactly got me to think that way,
or realize I could edit it that way and tell a new story out of the same
footage. I edit all of the time so it might have simply been me fooling
around with footage and then realizing, "oh, this works."
far as I know, some of the story of The
Girl Who Wasn't Missing was based on your lead actress Kai
Lanette's [Kai Lanette interview -
click here] actual experiences. So how big was her influence on
the script, and did you do research beyond that for The
Girl Who Wasn't Missing?
Again, been so long since
we filmed this first version, hard to remember exactly, but she had ideas
of real things and showed me real places she had been while homeless, and
things that she'd do. And Sean Cain [Sean
Cain interview - click here] had told me some real stories about
things for the original version which I'm sure helped mold the rest of the
film, so we all had real experiences we had been through and/or people we
had known who had been through things, which all came together in making
this, ultimately fictional, story. We were the only 3 people working on
this the whole time, and we shot this like a documentary, with no script,
so it all came together organically based on real stories. And I'm all
about moods, feelings, emotions, so it was also whatever I was feeling and
then I'd say let's shoot that, then Kai would be in the scene and she'd
work from there and do what she was feeling. And in many cases real
feelings became involved, especially because of the way we were shooting.
I don't believe I researched anything in particular when re-cutting the
film, though, other than that I had been doing tons of research on teenage
victims, runaways, etc., for another project, and I learned during that
process that some teenagers end up where they do because nobody, including
society, wants them. I know I read lots of stuff like that so I'm
guessing that might have helped give me the idea for the new version as
As far as I know, you
shot your movie pretty much guerrilla-style - so you obviously have to
talk about the actual shoot for a bit!
different from Warning!!!
Pedophile Released since it's the same shoot! But trying to remember what
I said back then. Hmm, I just remember we had to shoot everything in like
two clumps of 3-4 days. The entire crew was Sean and me, that's it, and a
couple of brief times we needed an additional actor aside from Kai, but it
was as bare-bones as you can get. We would run from place to place and
sometimes shoot only 5 minutes. Like at school when Kai's walking, we'd
have to plan that for when school actually got out and have her run across
the street and walk with the kids cause I didn't have the time or
resources to get 15+ extras scheduled and standing there, so we had to
wing everything, get out of people's way, or in people's way, depending.
At the time Kai and I were dating and that was a headache. Working with
your significant other is sometimes good, sometimes bad. I can't even
remember the damn fights but they would hold us up or get in the way of
shooting, making things really tense and awkward, especially for Sean
since he was getting caught in the middle. Sean's always easy to work
with, but since Kai and I became a couple, working together wasn't exactly
easy once we started dating. And she wasn't, never intended on being, in
the film business, so it was different for her than for me. She was doing
it as a hobby or out of boredom, I was doing it because it was my life, it
was all I had. So, throw that in the mix of everything else, shooting can
become interesting. Though it always is.
What can you tell
us about the audience and critical reception of The
Girl Who Wasn't Missing so far?
Not a whole lot of
people have seen it. I had a screening at Pollygrind in Vegas back in
2011. My friend Chad, the festival director, actually liked this version
much better. I do, too, because I didn't really like my performance in
Pedophile Released. Because I was so focused on directing, it was really hard trying to
shoot, direct, improvise, act, etc. But some people don't like this
version because they actually liked my performance, and/or because they
thought there was more to the original film, that it had more story. But
my films aren't really about story anyways, they're about capturing a
problem in society, and/or a character, and then organically following
this tragic being and seeing what comes of it. And while I feel that
happened in Warning!!!
Pedophile Released, I feel it's much more real, I guess, in this new version.
And while Warning!!!
Pedophile Released is open-ended, this version really is open-ended, which I
think helps raise the question even more, what do you do? In this
situation, where do you go? How can somebody looking in on this problem
help? Can they even help? So, we'll see what other people have to say but
not many have seen it yet, and again, it's hard to get people interested
in reviewing it because even though people give me goddamn hella amounts
of shit for exploitative labels on my films, nobody's even turning their
fucking eyes my way when I try to announce this movie. So, point proven.
Anything you can
tell us about a potential release yet?
I might try and get
this released by a distributor but still not totally sure. I might just
release it myself on Vimeo, haven't decided. But I'd love to see this on
DVD professionally, before DVDs are totally gone.
projects you'd like to share?
It will be a while, but I'm
still working on The Owl in Echo Park [The
Owl in Echo Park interview - click here]. And My Name is
'A' by anonymous will be hitting DVD early next year from Wild Eye
Releasing. I still don't know what happened to the theatrical release it
was supposed to receive over a year ago, nor the VOD release, so I keep
telling people if I hear anything on the film I will let them know. It's
been the roughest journey of any movie yet. Plus keep an eye out for Sean
Cain's Jurassic Block which I have a tiny part in [Sean
Cain interview - click here], also American Girls, which is a film I co-produced, and the short
film anthologies I have segments in, Treasure Chest of Horrors
3 (also hitting DVD from Wild Eye) and Theatre of the Deranged
2 (which includes the full cut of my Japanese film Tag).
And, as always, trying to get more stuff going, but my hands are so full.
I need a motherfucking assistant or something. A free one since I have no
money. Any takers?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Your/your movie's website,
Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Jean-Claude Van Damme's Volvo commercial was insane. Now do a Shane Ryan