Your new movie Kumal - in
a few words what is it about?
is a horror film about an ancient Thai legend where an unborn
is sacrificed to provide its owner immortality; but at the risk of
restless mother’s spirit exacting her revenge. We tell this story
the eyes of 2 young friends. Tom tries to stop this barbaric
as any Good Samaritan would, but Charlie (with a deep and
secret) has his own agenda.
Is Kumal based on
an actual legend or was that made up for the movie? And how much research
went into the legend-part of your movie? And/or other sources of
inspiration when dreaming up Kumal?
is an old talisman dating back hundreds of years, ever since
“Khun Plan” era (Thai era). According to the story, Kumal was
when Khun Plan knew that his wife, Bua Klee, tried to kill him
poison. He killed her instead, and cut her stomach open to
the fetus inside and made it into a Kumal. He put the fetus
the fire then covered it with gold leaves and took it with him
he went. Kumal is considered very crucial for Khun Plan’s
it helps Khun Plan when he faces danger, since technically,
is Khun Plan’s son.
are two types of Kumal. The first is very vicious, and has many
of hurting its enemies. And another one is for the protection of
owner. According to the legend, to make a Kumal one must invite
spirit of one who died a violent death to come and stay in the body
is told in a rather non-linear, often associative way - so do talk about
your film's narrative structure for a bit, and how was it achieved? And
how hard was it not to lose yourself in it?
the time limitations of a short, I felt this was the best way to
this world to the audience. I also think it makes the film
interesting and grabs the audience's attention early on. Losing
Oddly enough, I was pregnant during filming so I had no
but to disassociate myself from this dark world at the end of
day. It’s just a matter of separating art from real life; not terribly
for a filmmaker; an actor maybe not so easy.
about your movie's approach to horror for a bit, and is that a genre
you're at all fond of even?
loved horror films ever since I was a kid. This story frightened
as a child and I felt that it, easily, translated into a horror film. I
that this subject matter was not like most horror films and one
the audience would appreciate.
What can you tell us about
your directorial approach to your story at hand?
was my first film, so I had to pull on everything I learned in film
my years of working on set and my understanding of the story
the horror genre in order to pull it all together. I took it apart and
each element individually. My story, my script, my cast,
visual stimulations, I wanted to invoke in my audience with each
each set up, each camera angle. As for the actors, I like to let
actors bring their thoughts about the characters to the screen
and then I work with them to tweak what they've brought with
vision. They need to know the back story for the character first
foremost, and I worked with them on that before they show up on
about your cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?
who plays Charlie, was an easy choice. I had seen his work
knew he was right for the part while I was writing the story. For
it was different. I cast a couple of actors for the part that didn't
out in the end. One of them landed an agent, and his agent didn’t
him to take the role. The other ended up being unreliable. He did
show up to rehearsal twice, so I decided the week prior to
that I need to pull the plug on him and recast. I was nervous
wasn't sure if I would be able to get the right actor. Then, my
Suder, recommended Ekin Dedeoglu for the role of Tom. He is
the type of actor any director would want. I called him up, and
was willing to meet me that same day. He came for rehearsal and
very hard for the role. I just couldn't ask for anyone better.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was definitely a learning experience for me. There were so many
and unexpected events that came up. I actually lost my
and assistant director at the very last minute, and yes, it
brutal! But my filmmaker friends Sherando Cupid Ferril and
Pratta helped out a lot and did an amazing job. The location
had an electrical outage on the last day of the shoot, and my
made sure that I didn't find out so I could stay focused on
$64-question of course, when and where will the film be released onto the
is finding success on the festival circuit right now. It will be shown
the general public sometime in 2017. In the meantime, I'm working
my script to turn this into a feature film.
Anything you can tell us about the audience and critical reception of Kumal
have gotten very good feedback so far. It's been great, really. To be
I wasn't sure how people would respond because it is a new
that's being introduced. I really struggled during the editing
to balance how to tell the story with what we captured on film
without losing the audience. During filming, we ran into some
and I had to decide to cut some of the shots that in hindsight I
we really needed to support the story. But my friends and
industry professionals Julio Garcia, Saeed Khozedm and Jack
brought their editing brilliance to the table and we now have
finished product that's being received very well. I couldn't have
it without them.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
be honest, I was going to work on a feature start as well as produce
couple short films. But I just had a baby which is demanding a lot of
(as you could imagine). My mom was here helping but I flew her
to Thailand to get an important paper but on the way back she
stopped by US Customs and was ordered to return to Thailand. It was
mix-up with her paperwork but a very unpleasant experience for us
now I don’t have her to help us until we sort this out. This has
an incredible and painful ordeal. Who knows; maybe this
will be the foundation for a new project!
actually entered the filmworld as a makeup artist - so what can you tell
us about that aspect of your career?
entered the industry as an actress, actually. I was an actress in
for several years. I learned makeup and special effects when
was studying for my bachelor's degree and then decided to study
at a Cinema Makeup school in Los Angeles.
be honest, it wasn't in my plans to become a filmmaker when I
my career in Hollywood as a makeup artist a few years ago.
graduation I interned with Emmy award winner and makeup
Dean Jones. Besides being a makeup artist, he also owns a
company that makes horror films. That was my light-bulb
and really inspired me. Since then, I have been learning and
hard to understand the business. I mean, it is really hard to
a career in a different country—you don’t know the market, rules,
etc. But I love all aspects of movie making; especially the
genre. My production company, T.K. Films, has a goal to make
horror films for the horror fanatics of the world.
What made you try
your hands on directing eventually, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
have a Bachelor's degree in Acting and Directing and a Master's Degree
in Film and Media Production. I know how to act, direct, do makeup,
shoot, and edit. It would be a shame if I didn't put all of that to
use and actually make a movie!
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Kumal,
in whatever position?
have modeled and landed acting roles for many companies such as
Yamaha, Coca Cola, and Sunsweet, etc. along with a few TV
in Thailand. I have also been hired as a makeup artist for
Hollywood films, shows, and celebrity appearances, and was
silicone tech (special effects makeup department) for Captain
America 2, Iron Man 3, House of Lies, Two and a Half Men, Lady
G.U.Y., to name a few. This was all under supervision my mentor,
Haney, who has won an Academy Award and numerous Emmys.
addition, I have held various crew positions for film, such as DP,
director, grip, gaff, producer, and editor. I have done it all!
just to be clear, I only know the basics for these positions. But I,
believe that having (at least) a basic knowledge of all aspects of
makes you a better filmmaker.
How would you describe yourself as
work with my actors the way I wanted to be worked with as an
Before I meet my actor(s), they need to know who their
characters are and what the back story is. I would never tell my actor to
“walk that way” or “you need to cry" without the
must have a reason.
Filmmakers, makeup artists, whoever else who
is a very tough question! There are so many. As a filmmaker, I
up to Stanley Kubrick, Francis Ford Coppola, David Lynch,
Scorsese and Hideo Nakata from
a makeup artist, I look up to Ve Neil, Rick Baker, and Kevin
a human being, I look up to my husband, John. He is smart, kind,
and a problem solver and he is not afraid to make fun of
Somehow when we got older we get caught up with so
We forget to have fun, we forget to enjoy the little things in
But my husband he is not one of them and always reminds me of
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
another tough one. I can’t really answer this question, because
are so MANY! But I will list a few: The Godfather (1972), The
(1973), The Shining (1980) and
The Ring (1998).
and of course, films you really deplore?
Room (2003) by Tommy Wiseau. It is really terrible but I have to
I learned a lot from watching it.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
for the interview!