You have very recently produced Debbie Rochon's directorial debut Model Hunger
[Debbie Rochon interview - click here]
- in a few
words, what is it about?
is about a former model who was cast out of the modeling industry
in the 1950's because her body type becoming "out of style". After
years of psychological torment, she snaps and drags her neighbors and small
town down with her in a violent frenzy.
Your personal take on the model-scene, and to what extent do you
see it reflected in the movie?
I've seen major improvements in the modeling industry, and that's
because consumers are demanding more diversity. I think many times society
forgets that we vote with our dollar and we choose to support images and
ideas. However, high fashion continues to sport anorexic images of women
that resemble little boys. It's much easier to hang couture off a
shapeless body than one that has curves.
is a vicious, disturbing, and sadistic take on
the effects of popular culture's views and how it affects both men and
women. Not only that, it's fucking brutal and will throw any horror fan
for a loop.
The $64-question of
course: When and where will the film be released, tentatively?
is diving into post right now, so we are aiming for a 2013 release.
go back to the beginnings of your career: What got you into the filmworld
to begin with, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
I started with theatre and dance when I was a child and moved into
directing and acting in film at 16. At 19 I went into an audition on a
whim in San Francisco and the producer ran after me, stopping me in the
lobby in front of the other women waiting to audition for the role (who
then got up and left). It was at that moment I knew I found my path and
had to follow it.
I took intensive classes at the Film Arts Foundation and continued
making my own films while acting in shorts and features on the side. It's
a constant process and I always make mistakes, but I learn from them and
move on and make each film I do better than the last.
early on in your career, you haven't reduced yourself to being an actress
but have also had your hands in writing, producing and directing. Why, and
which do you enjoy the most?
down, acting is my number one, however I love other aspects of
production for different reasons. I consciously went behind the camera
after noticing the severe lack of good roles for female characters in
the low budget horror genre (or films in general) on top of a general
disrespect for what talent means. I would go into "legit"
auditions, nail it to a wall, and then *suddenly* be expected to disrobe
or have some disgusting director/producer make disrespectful comments
about my body. Even though I was still practically a child, I knew this
made a decision to liberate myself from that vicious cycle that so many
actresses find themselves subjected to, and dived into creating my own
films: learning producing, writing, and directing. I picked up books,
took classes, studied movies by getting a job at one of the largest
video stores in the nation, followed the crew around when I got cast in
films and would ask questions/help move equipment. I also traded
services for one-on-one sessions with filmmakers.
At least IMDb states that
your first movie as actress, writer, producer and director was the horror
short Marburg. a) Is this true, actually, and b) lessons learned
Whatever Happened to Zombie Killers?
No. IMDb is a bit of a scam and contains a fraction of the films I've
worked on. Marburg was my 3rd film and it featured a lot of
vomit, screaming, and blood shooting out of every orifice. I learned so
much from that film, since it was the first formal set I ever ran and had
a cast/crew of 18. I had to work with the Oakland Film Commission, secure
insurance, and move locations several times. I learned that a monitor is
your best friend so you can actually see your shots and that actors,
editing, and sound is key.
After Marburg I went onto make my next film, Whatever Happened to
the Zombie Killers?, which was shot at the DNA Lounge in San
Francisco, with a cast/crew of over 50 and 2 camera/FX units working at
the same time as well as a choreographed dance sequence. Marburg helped immensely with the mistakes I made prior to
Whatever Happened to
the Zombie Killers?.
Some other past films of yours (in whatever
function) you'd like to talk about?
I directed/starred in a film called Lip Stick which was my
response to Teeth, featuring a woman suffering from vagina
dentata. It's an incredibly disturbing film and certainly has an effect on
each audience I watch it with. I really started to flesh out my style and
vision for my own filmwork and stories, playing with light, theme, and
the past year I starred in Joe Hollow's Disciples [Joe
Hollow interview - click here] and Paul
Bright's Goliad Uprising. I'm anxiously awaiting Drew
Daywalt's Mama's Baby, where I played a sexually derived
character whose "baby" is not what you would expect.
Any future projects
you'd like to share?
thrilled to be starring in Maude Michaud's Dys in Montreal as
well as The Philosophy of Milk, a film I wrote recently. I
have several projects in various stages of development that I can't talk
about yet until the green light yells GO!
Talking about Shannon Lark, one of
course also has to mention your non-profit organisation Viscera. So
I founded Viscera in 2007 when I noticed (again) a severe lack of
female presence behind the camera in genre films, therefore leaving horror
to a one-sided perspective. I had been running film festivals for a couple
years by then and decided to do a horror film festival for women, hence
Viscera was born.
Now Viscera is a non-profit organization with a staff of over 20 who
are dedicated at expanding our services and assisting filmmakers. We throw
a carpet ceremony for female horror filmmakers in Los Angeles each year
and work with partner festivals, organizers, universities, and art
galleries to throw festivals/screenings all over the world. This year we
are opening up a fantasy/sci-fi festival in Boston, called Etheria and will soon open our new action film festival as
well. It's astounding at how many women are picking up cameras - the
submissions we get are amazing.
Likewise, a few words about the ChainSaw
I started The ChainSaw Mafia when I was just getting into film. The internet was in
its infancy at that time and there wasn't a solid site to get film jobs
specifically for horror productions. The ChainSaw Mafia gave people the opportunity to
connect with writers, directors, actors, composers, etc. We expanded the
site and it became a full blown shop and news site. I passed The
ChainSaw Mafia off to
editor Jamie Jenkins when I decided to focus more on Viscera and my film
The ChainSaw Mafia helped me connect with alot of the professionals I know today. I'll never
Once can't help but notice that quite a few
of your films are of the horror variety - a genre at all dear to you, and
I love genre films in general. I started out in low budget horror, but
I'm now crossing over to more Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and stylized work as well
as dramas and comedies. I just love playing characters that aren't normal
or boring. There's nothing worse than being given the cardboard
"hot-chick" role. Give me substance. Mess me up. Apply layers.
Film is like a painting, and so are characters.
I will always love horror though. I grew up obsessed with the genre and
utilizing it as a way to cope with the disturbing aspects of my youth.
It's a perfect cocktail for those who want to exploit pain and fear and
share it with an audience who is completely aware of that same feeling.
How would you describe yourself as an
actress, and how do you usually approach your characters?
I don't love it, I have a difficult time emulating. I need passion or it
just isn't gonna work for me. It's like sex.;)
(and indeed actors) who inspire you?
Kate Winslet, Frances
Bay, and Juliette Lewis.
Filmmakers who have
influenced you in whatever way?
Peter Jackson, David Lynch,
Gaspar Noe, Alejandro Jodorowsky.
Your favourite movies?
Sangre, Irreversible, and Inside.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Where's my Car?, Matrix Reloaded.
Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
in depth interview! Thanks so much!