Your new movie Evangeline - in a few words, what is it about?
is a supernatural revenge fantasy about a young woman who avenges her own
What were your sources of inspiration when writing Evangeline?
And is any part of the movie based on actual myths or urban legends?
originally wanted to write about a female vigilante who hunts serial
killers, and the film is loosely based on my short film Doll Parts. The story is partially inspired by the true crime events in
Vancouver, and I've pulled in a lot of historical facts about our city, as
well as drawing on Asian mythology and folklore. The idea of a purgatory
place is based on the Asian "mansion of a thousand windowless
can you tell us about your film's approach to horror (as in suspense vs
sudden shocks, atmosphere vs all-out gore and the like?
wanted the action sequences to feel more ragged than stylistic, and really
worked to keep the realism in the fights. It was my attempt to keep
Evangeline as vulnerable as I could, so that each fight was a matter of
life and death for her. As much fun as it is to work with special effects,
I wanted to build suspense more than all-out gore. It was in service to
the story, and to try to keep the horror under the surface.
international poster of Evangeline
what I know, Evangeline
also features its fair share of action - so
do talk about your action scenes for a bit, and how were they achieved?
worked with an incredible stunt team, and Kat de Lieva ("Evangeline") is very physically capable of doing all her own
stunts, which was a huge help. The script broke down the fight sequences
very specifically -- I think action and fighting needs to have the same
scene arcs as drama scenes -- and I worked closely with our stunt
coordinator to get the fights to feel realistic and raw. After that, a
good fight sequence is then a matter of precise editing, thanks to my
editor Jeanne Slater.
few words about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
lot of my directing work is done in writing the script, and planning the
film. I know all the beats of the scene, why every scene is there and the
arc, so when it comes to being on set, I can allow things to unfold more
organically because I know what the key moments are. It allows my cast and
team the maximum freedom to explore when you know the parameters of each
can you tell us about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
Richard Harmon, Kat de Lieva
For Evangeline, I was looking for a mixture of vulnerability and
strength, and when Kat came in for the audition, she had a perfect
combination of warmth and guts.
For Michael Konner (Richard Harmon), I wanted a nuanced actor who could
be Evangeline's nemesis: a casual cruelty and intelligence that comes from
a life of privilege. I knew Richard's work from the industry and I was
lucky that he came in to audition.
For the rest of the cast, I had either worked
with them before or they came in for auditions. (David Lewis is a regular
in my films, and I had also worked with John Shaw in my serial killer dark
comedy short The Meeting.)
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
had a really relaxed atmosphere -- the cast were young and excited, and it
really was a dream. It's always tough when the budget is tight, but we
stayed between 10-12 hours a day for the entire shoot, and that keeps
everyone's energy at an even keel. When the material is tense and heavy,
it's best to keep the set happy and light. Katerina has such a great
energy, too, which is infectious.
few words about critical and audience reception of your movie?
had a lot of great responses and positive feedback from really surprising
places: we've been around the world to Sweden, South Africa, South Korea,
Latin America... and people feel strongly about the work. For me, I write
stories to spark debate and discussion -- it's important that people leave
thinking about the film, even if it disturbs them.
future projects you'd like to share?
I'm currently in polish stages on two more feature scripts -- one is a
Lovecraftian gothic horror and the other is a 70s road trip to Armageddon.
That one is a dark comedy. I'm also in production on my first documentary
about a band. It's like Portlandia meets The Host (the Korean film, not
the Twilight one!)
What got you into
making movies to begin with, and did you receive any formal training on
started in the industry as a lawyer/producer, and I've been lucky enough
to have gotten a lot of film training in Canada through the National
Screen Institute and Women in the Director's Chair. I have the Canadian
government to thank for my film training.
Karen at the Puchon International Fantastic
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Evangeline?
try to keep a fresh approach, so I have written and directed short films,
music videos, true crime documentary television, and another feature film.
I just finished a web series called Mythos this last winter on
YouTube now that explores the mythology in Evangeline
through a series of
short interconnected films.
One can't help but notice
that in your oeuvre, you never stray too far from the horror genre -
coincidence, or is horror a genre dear to you, and why (not)?
love horror -- I probably have a wider definition than the standard
industry definition, because it incorporates dark fantasy, weird tales,
anything that creates fear and dread. I love working with heightened
reality, a sense that something horrible is just around the corner. Of
course, this is how I feel about romance, too.
would you describe yourself as a director?
question. Other people refer to the style and tone of all my films, but
for me, I like to not overthink it. I'd prefer to keep things open and
who inspire you?
Haneke is a master filmmaker. I also David Lynch, Floria Sigismondi, David
Fincher, Park Chan Woo, Takeshi Miike, Zhang Yimou, Stanley Kubrick. The
stories of Neil Gaiman and his breadth of storytelling is what I hope to
achieve in my filmmaking.
Your favourite movies?
Clockwork Orange, River's Edge, Oldboy,
Funny Games, and I'm a Lord of the
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
don't think I have many -- even the terrible ones have their charm. Okay,
maybe The Notebook and other Nicholas Sparks adaptations make me want to
gouge my own eyes out. I do my best to avoid the saccharine.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
The Facebook and Twitter links should be there.
for the interview!