Your new movie Holistay
- in a few words, what is it about?
Holistay follows two couples, who do not know each other, double book a vacation
house in San Diego and strange things start to happen.
What were your
sources of inspiration when writing Holistay,
and is any of it based on your personal bad holiday experiences?
I like a good ghost story and was inspired by the ghosts and Celtic
lore of Ireland. My husband is from Ireland and my forefathers came from Ireland. I
wanted to write a script that had those elements but with an American
Not based on any bad vacation I had.
can you tell us about Holistay's
approach to horror?
I would say Holistay is more of a thriller. It's a slow burn with
plot twists. One of my favorite writer/directors is Alfred Hitchcock. I
like story in films.
With a background in journalism and
documentary filmmaking, what made you try your hand on a horror movie? And
is horror a genre at all dear to you?
I have always liked the supernatural, a good ghost story, and thought I
would try something different, more surreal than what I had been doing
A few words about
your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
I think it's easier for a director to direct their own material, so I started
with that premise. You know the story because you wrote it so it's already in your head.
In so far as directing the actors, I will defer to them if they want to
change or add something in the script. Since they are that
character, they would know how that character is going to act/react to.
talk about Holistay's
cast, and why exactly these people?
I already knew Steven Martini (Tony) from meeting him at a film festival
back in 2008 and we had talked about doing a project together.
Erin Gavin (Branna) and I have the same agent, and I thought she would be
perfect for Branna.
Gabriela Kulaif (Gia) is married to Steven Martini in real life, I wanted a
Latina actress for that role and she is Brazilian so it worked.
Gavin O'Fearraigh (Finn) came by way of my Irish friends in the Bay area and I
was lucky to get him since he is a big name in Ireland. It was
important that the actors who played Finn and Branna were authentic
John Michael Hersey (Druid) is my childhood friend and he does off-Broadway
in NYC. He is also a musician and did some of the scoring of the film.
Bailee Bob Sveen (Banshee) was cast locally and is such a talent.
All in all, I think the actors were perfect for their roles.
You also of course
have to talk about Holistay's
wonderful location, and what was it like filming there? And how did you
find it even?
Holistay was filmed in Vegas in my house. I tried to find the right
location but they all had restrictions on times and what you could or
couldn't do. So I shot it in my house, where I could control the situation.
Holistay takes place in San Diego because it worked. If you
were in a vacation rental in Vegas you would not be home at night, Vegas
is all about the nightlife. San Diego is all day time, boating, surfing,
zoo, Sea World, safari park, etc. I lived in San Diego for five years so I know. There is night life in San Diego obviously, but it would not be
unusual for people to be out all day and then home at night chilling
out. A lot of the action takes place at night in the house so they have to
What can you tell us about the shoot as
such, and the on-set atmosphere?
We shot in six days, no incidents! Everyone got along!
The $64-question of
course, where can Holistay
is out now on Amazon Prime Video and VOD streaming platforms, soon
Anything you can tell us about audience and
critical reception of Holistay
It just debuted, so hopefully we'll get some good reviews.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
is a trilogy, so working on Holistay 2 script.
got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
did not have any formal training, but I think producers and directors
are better served from learning "hands-on". There is no
school of producing that I am aware of. There are directors
who are formally schooled but most either are writers who direct their
own material or have cinematography backgrounds that flow into
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Holistay?
was formally a political journalist for an East Coast newspaper and
also produced political debates for Comcast. I produced and directed a
documentary called Electile Dysfunction - about the
disfunctions of the American voter. After the newspaper business
started to wane, I decided a career move was imminent so I moved from
my hometown of Philadelphia to LA and began to work on feature films
for other producers. Later I decided to work on my own projects,
and Holistay is my first feature film.
would you describe yourself as a director?
I like to allow actors to feel free for their characters to go off
script on occasion if they think it would advance the dialogue or help
the scene. Since their characters are in their head so to speak I
will defer. I like to develop a rapport with actors as well so the scenes flow
smoothly. It is also important I think for any director to have a good
assistant director (AD) at their side to to keep on schedule!
who inspire you?
Alfred Hitchcock, M. Night Shyamalan, John Carpenter, James Ivory, Mel Brooks,
Nora Ephron, Stanley Kubrick, Peter Jackson and Kathleen Kennedy just to
name a few.
Your favourite movies?
Wizard of Oz, Remains of the Day, An Affair to
Remember, Philadelphia Story, Halloween 1 and
2, The Shining,
The Sixth Sense, Sleepless in Seattle, Young Frankenstein (Mel Brooks),
Lord of the Rings trilogy, Lincoln, Godfather 1 and
2, Harry Potter (I could go on and
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
... and of course, films you really deplore?
I am not a fan of slasher films or demonic possession films (too
movie's website, social media, whatever else?
IMDb, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Google.
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Hope everyone enjoys Holistay!
for the interview!