Your new movie The
Flower People - in a few words, what is it about?
is about a mother and son who have a chance encounter with a
mysterious woman selling flowers. Unaware of the impending danger,
her son disappears the next day and becomes a victim of a cult kidnapping.
The Flower People
being about a brainwashing cult - is this based on any actual cult or
sect, and did you do any research on the subject?
film was inspired by a class I had in high school where we studied and
discussed cults. The teacher gave examples of things that certain cults
did for money, one of which was selling flowers. That is a fear that has
stuck with me for 25 years because there were a lot of people selling
flowers on corners where I grew up.
sources of inspiration when writing The
Jonestown Massacre and the Branch Davidians and David Koresh are two of
the biggest real life influences for the movie. I was very scared of the
events in Waco when I was little. I remember being in school and watching
it on Channel 1 television.
What can you tell us about your
film's approach to horror?
Letwonís RKO films from the 1940s had a big influence on how I made this
film. They were more about terror than actual horror. Yes, they used
elements of horror, but everything was based in a certain kind of reality.
The RKO films were set in regular day settings and not unworldly places.
Do talk about your overall
directorial approach to your story at hand!
would consider myself to be an auteur. I write, produce, storyboard and
direct all my films. But when it comes to my actors, I let them meet me
halfway. I am an actorís director. I give them their characters, a
skeleton you could say, but itís up to them to flesh them out and bring
these characters to life. That is probably one of my favorite things when
making a film Ė to create these wonderful characters with the actors.
What can you
tell us about The Flower
People's key cast, and why exactly these people?
script was written in 2015, while I was working on my other film, Masks.
That is when I met Hannah Kathryn Young. She played the mother and aunt to the two
children in the third part of the film. Her approach to acting impressed
me so much, I told her that I had a short film that I wanted her to star
in and she immediately said yes.
For Yasiris Alvarado, my producer Zay Rodriguez showed me her demo reel and I
immediately wanted to work with her. I sent her the script hoping she
would give me the opportunity to work with her. Fortunately she loved it
and said yes.
for Xavier Thorton, a coworker recommended him to me. This was my first time
working with a child actor that I wasnít related to. XavierĎs
experience came from the theater, which is completely different from film
and television. But he was like a sponge and willing to push himself to go
to new places with this film. I was very proud of him.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was one of the smoothest and most enjoyable times that I ever had on set.
We shot for three days on the weekends and I mapped out everything to a T.
Another great thing was the support I received from the film set crew. In
the past, Wendell Raulston (director of photography) and I always had to
do everything on the set. We wore every hat, from PA to grip to sound. So
when we actually had a crew for The
Flower People (Niya, Sarah, Matt and
Joe), we could both relax and concentrate on what we were supposed to do.
$64-question of course, where can The
Flower People be seen?
Flower People is making its festival run. We just started in May
and have already gotten into five film festivals. Four of them are
international, which is a first for me. To have the opportunity for people
from all around the world look at my film, Iím extremely humbled and
Anything you can tell us
about audience and critical reception of The
yourself and your website, in addition to your review, Michael Therkelsen
of Horror Society gave a glowing review and a rating of 8.5 out of 10,
which is amazing. And weíve been accepted to five film festivals
in just two months. Itís pretty mind blowing for a film that was made
for under a $1,000.
Any future projects you'd like to
just finished the second draft of my short vampire script Birthrite. I
sent it to my co-writer Andrew Berchick, who is my writing partner. Itís
pretty much my Interview with the Vampire. Again, itís a more serious
genre film. But Iím also thinking about a fun script I wrote in
2011 called Pretty Ink. It skews a little more lite horror fantasy than
What got you into filmmaking in the first place,
and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
have always loved films and TV, but where I live it isnít considered
something you could do for a living. When I went to college itís not
what I intended to study. I originally wanted to be a physical therapist,
but I struggled with some of the biology and anatomy classes. It wasnít
until I had an English course with Dr. Jerry McDade that he pushed me
toward the course of filmmaking. He had a few film classes at Community
College of Philadelphia (CCP) that I was completely engaged in, and
studying film came naturally and easy for me. After graduating from CCP,
Dr. McDade wrote a very heartfelt letter of recommendation to Temple
University Film School. Luckily enough, I was accepted. Templeís Film
School is where I really honed my craft. And Iíve been making short
films ever since.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The
Ever since I graduated from Temple University, I have been making short films.
Iíve mostly stayed in the horror genre (where Iíve had the most
success) but I have made passion projects in drama and melodrama films.
would you describe yourself as a director?
I said before, I consider myself to be an actorís director. I have a
vision but itís not set in stone. I like when other people, cast or
crew, give me suggestions because then Iíll look at it from a different
point of view. I always tell my cast and crew ďhere is the skeleton of
my film, the root of my vision. I want that to stay intact, but if you
want to try something different, by all means go ahead.Ē I actually
encourage it. Some actors can maybe get in touch with the character I have
created for them so deeply, that now they understand the character more
than I do. Which in turn, gives me a better performance from them because
of how invested they are.
who inspire you?
Lewton, Orson Welles, Joss Whedon, John Carpenter, Martin Scorsese, Joe
Dante, Spike Lee, Francis Ford Coppola , Quentin Tarantino and Christopher
Nolan. I have many more, but thatís my short list.
is really one of the hardest questions that people always ask me. Itís
so hard to say. I love a lot of different movies in different genres.
Horror is my favorite, but I also like dramas, sports films and character
study films. So I can say Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Taxi
Driver, Do the
Right Thing, Reservoir
Dogs, The Dark
Knight, Cat People, Rocky, The
Howling, Jaws and many more.
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
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films that I really deplore are the ones that people take on just for a
paycheck and really have no investment in the project. I understand that
film is a business, but whenever an actor, director or big time Hollywood
producer puts their name on something just to sell tickets and they really
donít understand the project, they tend to be the movies that I do not
like. Just like anything in life, you gotta love what you do.
Your/your movie's website, social media,
more information on the movie, visit
And check out
for a look at my other recent film.
Thanks for the