Your new movie Seeds - in
a few words, what is it about?
It's mostly about grieving and how it can change your perception on
everything. Including one's faith. I wanted to use the subgenre of folk
horror as the vehicle.
digging deep into themes like Pagan religions and conspiracies of the
Catholic Church - did you do any in-depth research on these subjects, and
your personal thoughts on them?
I initially wanted to use the mandrake root because it's very creepy
looking. I was discussing the project with Colin and Laura Graham, and
they immediately pitched the idea of the apple. Laura was very
knowledgeable on the subject. Everything said in Seeds about the
sacredness of the apple is historically factual. Druids held these
beliefs about the mystical properties of the apple. Maybe it's true, who
knows? The Beatles record label was called Apple. Steve Jobs named his
company Apple. It didn't work out too bad for them.
As for the Catholic Church, the reason Pope Francis took over for Pope
Benedict was because he had to clean up the Vatican Bank that had been
laundering money for the Mafia. This was discovered after 9/11 and all
banks were being watched closely to track money that funded terrorists.
And they needed to clean it up fast because the bank is valued at 5.6
billion. It's big business. And they do invest in big pharma.
(Other) sources of
inspiration when writing Seeds?
Two things, my life as a grieving parent and my love for folk horror. In
particular The Wicker Man,
Night of the Demons and A Field in England.
couldn't fail to notice the porcelain faced women in Seeds
as a motive are reminiscent of some of your past shorts, like Microcinema
and Ave Maria - care
to talk about this recurrent motive and the story behind it for a bit?
I used it in my first feature Trinity
too. My first artistic venture was
in painting or drawing. Figurative work and often I would make the
subjects faceless. That way the viewer had the freedom to assign the
identity as they saw it. I use blank mask the same way. Is the character
wearing it a protagonist? An antagonist? I leave that up to the viewer.
It also ties all of my work together. There were even some characters in
Trinity who make an appearance in
Seeds. I pretty much work for myself,
so as long as I'm working at this level, everything may as well be a
part of the same universe.
can you tell us about Seeds'
approach to horror?
My approach was to take the classic structure of folk horror with the
pagans versus the Catholic Church, but take it a step further with the
patriarchy versus the matriarchy to the point where even the Holy
Trinity can be reimagined differently.
Do talk about your overall
directorial approach to your story at hand!
My approach is basically the same for every production. A lot of
pre-production. I work with a very small crew. Basically me, the DP and
sound recordist. I have shotlists and storyboards done so we can move
quickly. With the actors we have a few long conversations beforehand so
they know what I'm looking for and then for the most part I leave them
to it. I'm lucky to work with the actors I do. They are immensely
What can you
tell us about Seeds' key
cast, and why exactly these people?
Speaking of immensely talented, I was beyond lucky to have Emma
MacKenzie as our lead. I'd seen some of her work and she lives a town
away from me. Her Irish accent adds to the authenticity of a folk horror
tale. But her ability to follow Macha's character arch as we worked on
an on again/off again schedule was incredible. Patrick Bracken, who is a
local theater actor who helps out a lot at our Shawna Shea Film Festival,
plays her husband Andrew. So he was easy to cast. Kip Weeks came on as a
producer and to play the pivotal role of Cardinal Sinibaldi. We had
written a couple of scripts together so we took this opportunity to work
together on this project. Obviously it was very cool to work with
Barbara Magnolfi. She helped tremendously tie together the Italian with
the Irish pagan cultures that suffered at the hands of the Catholic
Church. Other actors like Aurora Grabill, Rick Johnston, Nicole Watson,
Maria Mogavero, Gregory Velez are people I've worked with before and
hope to work with again. Even my granddaughter Bella Mederios is in it.
She's also in Trinity.
You just need to
talk about Seeds' main
locations for a bit, and what was it like filming there? And how did you
find them even?
Most of the locations are in the Blackstone Valley. It follows the
Blackstone River that links Worcester, Massachusetts to Providence, Rhode
Island. In the early days of the American Industrial Revolution it made
all of the towns along the river port towns because the river ends up in
the Atlantic in Providence. Legend has it when HP Lovecraft ran out of
ideas he would travel up the Blackstone River to find ideas. That's
where we were. It's also where I live.
One other location of note is the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry in Chester,
Connecticut. It's the same ferry that was used in Let's Scare
Jessica to Death. I love that movie, which in its own way is also a New
England folk horror movie.
A few words about the shoot as such, and
the on-set atmosphere?
With the small crew we work fast, but I do my best to make it fun as
well. I'm not sure I always succeed...
The $64-question of course, where
can Seeds be seen?
It's still on the festival circuit. So we'll have to see what happens
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Seeds?
So far so good. The reviews have been good including yours! We had a good
live screening at Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival, and the Q&A
after went really well. And we came away with the Outstanding Horror
Feature Award. There was a good screening at the Philadelphia Unnamed
Film Festival and then an exceptional virtual screening at the Italian
Horror Fest. Of course it's all a little different and difficult with
future projects you'd like to share?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
There are so many on the burner, it's hard to say which will be next.
It's never the one I expect.
website, social media, whatever else?
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I think we are good. Thanks for the interview.
for the interview!