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An Interview with Jeremiah Kipp, Co-Director of In Fear of

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2012

Films directed by Jeremiah Kipp on (re)Search my Trash


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You have recently directed two episodes of the webseries In Fear of - in a few words, what are they about?


The pleasure of making these episodes was in their sheer simplicity. In Podophobia (Fear of Feet), a young couple’s foreplay that gets deadly when the man triggers a horrific experience from the woman’s childhood. Apehephobia (Fear of Touch) is a surreal nightmare about a victim being pursued by faceless hands.


What were your inspirations when writing Podophobia and Apehephobia, and how can you relate to these fears on a personal level? And what are you, personally, afraid of?


My inspiration for Podophobia came from the fact that we had a producer, Paul Pastore, interested in financing a movie about that subject matter. After some research, I tracked down some actual stories that informed our narrative. 

As for Apehephobia, I get freaked out when I’m on crowded subway trains or in public spaces where swarms of people whirl around me. Amazing that I have lived in this metropolis for over 20 years; God bless New York City!


I have described your two episodes of the series as "moodpieces" - something you can at all agree to, and how would you describe your directorial effort?


Yeah, with these films I wasn’t trying to tell a story. It was all about creating this hallucinatory feeling, this highly charged atmosphere, like out of a bad dream. We wanted to make these small offerings that would shake things up for the audience.


What can you tell us about your cast, and what made them perfect for their roles?


You’ve hit upon my favorite subject when it comes to talking about these particular films. The actors are truly front and center, and if the viewers have any emotional response from these films, it’s because of the performances. (If the movies fail, I take full responsibility.)

Podophobia is a film about a relationship. Xiomara Cintron and Alejandro Santoni were generous scene partners; their chemistry and give-and-take show us everything. Alejandro had to be the solid foundation, sincerely listening and trying to understand. (And yet also we were able to tap into another side of him as well, the part that wanted to destroy her.) As for Xiomara, I had worked with her on a few movies by this point and she wanted to go to an extreme place. She worked herself up into a fever and allowed herself to unravel. You can only get actors there if they allow themselves to go there, and if they trust you. I must also mention that we had some terrific child actors in this project, and contrary to popular belief kids can be great to work with as long as you select them (and their parents) well. They have to want to be there and believe in what you’re doing; and again it comes down to trust.


Kelly Rae LeGault

Kelly Rae LeGault [Kelly Rae LeGault interview - click here] was the star of Apehephobia. I just feel like there’s something so brash about her. Something daring and committed in her work that feels like punk rock. And this collaboration was about creating a series of personas or masks. She’s playing three different characters, or three shades of the same person. I felt like Kelly was working in much the same way Madonna or Lady Gaga do, stylizing a certain look to communicate a feeling.


You just have to talk about the actual shoots and the on-set atmosphere for a bit!


Podophobia was filmed in two days. Our first day was all about shooting the heart of the movie, which is the scene between the couple. As memories of the trauma consume Xiomara, she tears the room apart. You make scenes like this in a controlled state of mania; it’s as if you’re doing an exorcism. But the conditions have to be safe and specific for the actors and the crew. They find their way to this place through rehearsal, acting games, relaxation exercises, whatever it takes. And I’ve found that if the actors work through something primal, they feel great afterwards. It’s not a painful experience making these films; it’s a lot of work, but the actors feel a profound sense of completion afterwards.


We did a shot where the child actors had to witness Xiomara having a full breakdown. During the take, which lasted at least two minutes, it truly felt as if she were falling apart. The kids looked to each other, as if reality and acting had blurred. After I called cut, I felt like the kids needed to hear that this was a performance. I immediately asked Xiomara, “Were you in total control of your instrument?” She answered yes, and the kids saw that she was, in fact, totally fine. The boys looked to each other, and in that moment something clicked into place for them. That you can go anywhere, do anything, when you’re performing—and you return home perfectly safe. It’s one of the great things about being an actor; it’s probably why they tend to live longer than the rest of us.


I remember Apehephobia being a very calm set. Since Kelly and I knew all of the actors who were playing the hands, there was no tension. We were very clear about the sequence of shots. The set was closed, so there weren’t any extra people there hanging around, which I find distracting. Everyone was self-assured, respectful and communicative. If anything, I have some regrets about not creating situations where we had more identifiable conflict for our main character, or moments where she was fighting back against her plight. We filmed some sequences like that, but for one reason or another (having nothing to do with Kelly’s performance) they didn’t work in the edit.


How did you get involved with the project in the first place, and what can you tell us about the series' mastermind/co-producer Scott W. Perry [Scott W. Perry interview - click here]? And what was your collaboration like?


Scott W. Perry is an independent filmmaker based in Long Island. For a while, he was a kind of right hand man to horror director Chris Garetano before he broke away to start creating his own body of work. I’ve worked with him on a few movies now, and enjoy our creative exchange.


Developing In Fear of, Scott had found a list of hundreds of phobias, and asked me if I’d be interested in participating in a webseries about them. Since the intention was to make projects that were fast and cheap, I knew we’d actually be able to bring them over the finish line very quickly. Scott was very supportive of these strange little films, which were decidedly non-narrative and more like experimental sketches.


Working on In Fear of, how much freedom were you actually given concerning story, look and feel of your movies?


We had total freedom in every way. Our only restriction was the budget, which was intentionally kept very low.


The Days God Slept

What can you tell us about audience and critical reception of the series and your episodes in particular so far?


Gosh, these episodes I directed were just so weird and offbeat. They’re not for everyone. Some people like them and regard them as poetry, others think of them as pretentious. Podophobia tends to get more visceral responses; I love to see the audience wince when the more suggestive grotesqueries are shown onscreen. Scott Perry seems to have charmed audiences with Monophobia, the episode starring the wonderful team of Debbie Rochon [Debbie Rochon interview - click here] and David Marancik. He had the opportunity to screen it in Buffalo and folks seemed to laugh their asses off; and critics seem to have latched on to that one as being their favorite.


Any future projects you'd like to talk about?


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Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

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x-rated  find Jeremiah Kipp at

Right now, I’m in the final stages of post-production on an eerie short film called The Days God Slept, written by playwright Joe Fiorillo and starring Lauren Fox (from Darren Aronofsky’s Pi), set in an unusual gentleman’s club where not everything is as it seems. It’s a boy meets girl story, but one where the girl has secrets. Our hero reaches the point of no return, where he has to ask himself, “How much do you really want to know?” It’s a project I’m very excited about. You can watch the trailer here:


Your/your series website, Facebook, YouTube, whatever else?


I recently launched my Web site, where viewers can see many of the films I’ve directed over the past 10 years. It’s available for viewing here: I’m happy to present the work for everyone to see, and am looking forward to creating many new films in the years to come. The short film format has been very rewarding, and I’m curious to explore more feature filmmaking opportunities. Let’s see what the future has in store, since we can never predict what is right around the corner.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


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