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An Interview with Skip Shea, Director of Seeds

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2020

Films directed by Skip Shea on (re)Search my Trash

 

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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.

 

With Seeds 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, Robin Redbreast, Night of the Demons and A Field in England.

 

I 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.

 

What 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 talented.

 

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 next.

 

Anything 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 the pandemic.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Feeling lucky ?
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Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

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There are so many on the burner, it's hard to say which will be next. It's never the one I expect.

 

Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

Seeds Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SeedsTheFolkHorrorMovie/

Seeds website: https://www.seedsfolkmovie.com

 

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

 

I think we are good. Thanks for the interview.

 

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
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

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