I know we have talked about this before [click
here], but bring us up to speed: Your movie Hell
Town - in a few words, what is it about?
It’s a killer serial. It’s a soap opera slasher TV series
that is presented as a feature film.
Town being a fake TV soap opera - what do you find so interesting
about that genre as such, and any soaps your movie is specifically based
Not specifically, although, while growing up, Elizabeth
(the co-director and co-writer) was obsessed with Passions and I was
obsessed with Dynasty and anything involving cliffhangers and melodramatic
How much fun was it to dream up all of the movie's
soapy over-the-top storylines, actually?
Oh my god, it was
hysterically fun. In a soap opera there are no rules to planet
Earth. Literally anything goes, and makes sense. There’s a
freedom in writing that kind of thing that is liberating.
After all that
talk about soaps, you just have to talk about Hell
Town's horror content for a bit as well!
was equally as fun to imagine wild ways to kill people. We really
had a blast thinking of the most insane ways somebody could die, and then
weaving those kills into the storyline. I mean, donuts… Right!?
can you tell us about your co-writers, and what did each of them bring to
As one would imagine a real soap opera being
written and directed by different people, we wanted to have that feeling
in the movie. So we jobbed out certain scenes to different people
and let them have a field day – doing whatever they wanted to do. Then,
Elizabeth and I would edit or rewrite it.
You have to talk about your co-director
Elizabeth Spear for a bit, and what was your collaboration like, along
which lines did you split responsibilities, and the like?
and I were on such the same page while writing and making this movie that
it was a blast. We split up duties on the set so instead of the
typical 10 things a director might be in charge of, she took five and I
can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at
We wanted the actors to play it real, and really
commit to the insanity. On one hand, our actors were playing actors
who were playing characters on a TV show. So it’s a bit one-step
removed from a regular performance. And they nailed it. It’s
actually very challenging to be aware of acting over-the-top and saying
ridiculous lines of dialogue while still remaining true to the overall
After the first "episode" of Hell
Town, actress BeckiJo Neill is replaced by Jennifer Grace - was
this a move necessitated by availability, or was this planned all along to
be more in tune with the soaps the movie imitates?
was planned all along and part of the joke.
can you tell us about Hell
Town's cast, and what was it like working with them?
all fantastic, solid professionals. Some of the actors I’d worked
with before on other films, but most were new to me, and it was a total
pleasure. No divas at all. Well, except you-know-who. (Laughs)
talk about the shoot as such for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere!
I’m scheduling a movie, I try and make it really light. So each
day is a joy. Less than 10 hours a day, with good solid meals.
Actually, I schedule things based solely around meals and mealtime.
It’s important that everyone stays well fed and rested. It makes
no sense to try and work 12-14 hours a day. That’s just illogical.
Some people say they do that to save money. But if they planned
better and were more organized, they wouldn’t need to spend any more
money and they’d be able to accomplish more in less time.
can you tell us about audience and critical reception of your movie so
It’s amazing. Watching Hell
Town in a group is
wild. People get really into it, very vocal. And critically,
everyone seems smart enough to get the joke and have fun with it. At
Crimson Screen Film Festival recently Hell
Town won Best Feature Film and
Amanda Diebert won Best Actress!
I know the preview at the end of Hell
Town only serves parodistic purposes, but have you ever mused
about how the story might go on, and could you ever be persuaded to do a
I would LOVE to do a sequel – and dream of
directing an ongoing Hell
Town series. How much fun that would be!
Many fans are already begging for an actual series, so maybe a Netflix,
Logo, Hulu type will get the hint and do it!
(Other) future projects you'd like to share?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
after making Hell
Town, I filmed a mysterious drama set in Mexico called El Ganzo. A very different movie on the other end of the tone scale.
It’s also getting ready to go on the festival circuit. El Ganzo is
in the main competition for Italy’s Salento International Film Festival
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
curious if you think you’re still able to eat a donut after having
for the interview!
My pleasure, thank you!