Your new movie Children
of Sin - in a few words, what is it about?
about two siblings who are sent to this creepy religious retreat for
troubled teens whose parents believe they need to find Jesus and rid
themselves of sin. Once theyíre there, they start to uncover some pretty
scary secrets about this place and try to escape before itís too late.
personal thoughts about religious zealotry, "re-education camps"
and the like, and to what degree are they mirrored in your movie?
I think theyíre awful and inhumane and should be outlawed
altogether. The idea of changing oneís orientation is ridiculous. A gay
person turning straight is about as likely as a straight person turning
gay. Itís just how we come wired and no amount of praying, violence,
intimidation, or mental abuse is going to change that. People who run or
fund these places should be ashamed of themselves.
sources of inspiration when writing Children
Iíd always wanted to write a
dark fairy tale ever since I was a kid. Those were the stories that first
got me interested in storytelling to begin with. Iíd had a few attempts
at adapting fairy tales in the past, but they never quite worked. I also
loved those pulpy V.C. Andrews novels when I was in middle and high school
and thought it might be fun to tell a modern fairy tale with a style like
that. Thereís a little bit of Carrie in there as well, which has been my
favorite film since I was a kid.
What can you tell us about your movie's
approach to horror?
Some of the scenes of abuse at Abraham House and Emma
and Jacksonís relationship with their parents are the scariest parts of
the film for me. Those are the moments that are grounded in the most truth
and reality. The film still has some traditional jump scares and things of
that sort, but the scariest parts will always be the human relationships
for me and seeing just how low humans can go in the name of peer pressure
Do talk about your overall
directorial approach to the story at hand!
From the start, I knew this story had the potential to be a
little drab and depressing if I didnít play my cards right, so I tried
to direct as playfully as possible. I wasnít very interested in most of
the film being realistic and tried to embrace that fairy tale vibe where
everything is a little detached from reality. The colors are sometimes too
bright and the lighting is a little strange or some of the camera angles
are odd and I think that just adds to that fairy tale vibe and sort of
lets the audience know they can have fun with it. I definitely watched a
lot of Italian horror films beforehand to soak up that style. Theyíre so
good at showing you some of the most disturbing things youíve ever seen
in a way that doesnít make you turn away.
appear in front of the camera in Children
of Sin - so what can you tell us about your character, what did
you draw upon to bring him to life, and have you written him with yourself
in mind from the get-go?
My character is Hank
and heís the nephew of Mary Esther who runs this horrible place. He says
heís a recovered homosexual and no longer has those desires, but heís
sneaking off with the gardener at every chance he can get. Heís a very
sad and repressed character whoís trying so hard to be something heís
not. Iíve definitely been there, so it was easier to go back into that
headspace than Iíd thought. All that shame and self-hate were things I
remember very clearly from when I was an adolescent. Iíd written Hank
and Mary Esther to be a married couple, but I kept sending the script to
actors around that age range and they kept turning me down because of a
few scenes in particular. I think the script might have read as a little
more explicit in some scenes than what was in my head. Iíd thought Hank
would be more poignant if he were older and had less time to make an
authentic life for himself. The role I had written for myself was Andrew
Aiken, the head of Children of Abraham, but I stepped into this one
instead after I couldnít find anybody. It was all for the best, because
Will Lovorn is fantastic as Andrew and he had so much fun with him.
What can you tell us about the
rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
written the role of Emma for Meredith Mohler [Meredith
Mohler interview - click here] after working with her on my last
two films and having such a great time with her. She read the script and
accepted right away, which was fantastic and sheís so wonderful in the
role. Lewis Hines [Lewis Hines
interview - click here] read for all the male roles in the film and did a terrific job
with each one, but he just had this natural likability that you really
need for Jackson, so he made that choice really easy. Jo-Ann Robinsonís [Jo-Ann
Robinson interview - click here] audition
scene played out basically beat for beat as it does in the movie. Thatís
how wonderful she is! She knew exactly what to do with this part from the
get-go and brought so much to that role. What pleasantly surprised me was
the chemistry between everyone. We didnít have time to do chemistry
reads with anyone, so when everyone got on the set and the chemistry was
apparent from the first scene, I just had to thank the movie gods for
being on our side. Ana-Claire Henley, Cami Rocbuck, Faith Stanley, and Jacob
Thomas fit so perfectly and
they each bring so much personality to their roles that you love them
immediately. Iíd worked with George Mayronne, Keni Bounds, and Jeff
Buchwald before in the past,
and theyíre always so easy to work with and bring a lot of energy to a
set. Jeff was stepping into a role on a few hours' notice and rocked it
from day one. It was pretty impressive, especially since the role was the
polar opposite of his real life persona.
words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
first 5 days were all the scenes at Abraham House, and I was a nervous
wreck because we only had that location for those 5 days and I kept
thinking about what would happen if someone couldnít make it to set one
day or if we needed reshoots and we couldnít secure the location again.
Pretty much all of my anxieties turned out to be nothing, because those
first 5 days mostly went off without a hitch. I remember a lot of smiling
and wondering if anyone was going to take any of this movie seriously,
because weíd all be laughing throughout most of the day. Once we moved
on to the next batch of scenes, things got a little rocky because an actor
broke his leg and had to drop out. We already had all the other actors on
the location, so we switched the dayís schedule to something weíd
planned for the next day instead. Thankfully, all the actors jumped right
in even though we were all unprepared for that material. It gave us a day
to contact Jeff and try to keep things moving. It was stressful, but it
all worked out for the best in the end and I wouldnít change a thing.
The best part was that, besides a few insert shots, we didnít have to
get any reshoots.
$64-question, when and where will Children
of Sin be released?
coming to Amazon on April 22nd and will probably spread to some other
platforms throughout the year.
Anything you can tell us
about audience and critical reception of Children
So far, itís been beyond my
wildest dreams. We just had the premiere last week in a packed theater and
the audience was clapping, laughing, cheering, and screaming throughout
the whole movie and really pulling for the characters. It was a great
experience and one that Iíll never forget. The reviews itís gotten so
far have been very positive, so Iím grateful and optimistic that itíll
find an audience that will enjoy it.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
I have a documentary I was hired to make at the same time as Children
of Sin, so Iíve been balancing between these two for the past
year. I finished post-production on that about a month ago and weíre
trying to get it into some festivals. Itís my first documentary, so
Iím a little nervous. As for features, I have about 4 to 5 really fun
ideas marinating right now, but I have no idea which one Iíll sit down
to write first.
Feeling lucky ?
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The links below
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movie's website, social media, whatever else?
You can follow us on social media at
and on Instagram @childrenofsinmovie
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Iíd just like to thank you for this
interview and for checking out the movie. I hope everyone that sees it has
a good time with it.
for the interview!