Your new movie Marla
- in a few words, what is it about?
about a woman who has her agency taken from her through a number of
unfortunate circumstances. Something that I think a lot of women can
relate to right now.
In a horror manner
of course, Marla revolves
around female contraception - so what made you choose this topic for your
find it pretty strange that contraception in general is a female
responsibility. I think there are a lot of scary and fucked up things tied
up in that topic, so that definitely made it an appealing setting for a
horror movie. I actually came up with the premise for the movie after a
particularly uncomfortable gynecological visit. In Texas, Planned
Parenthoods often have to be behind really tall barbed wire fences to keep
out the religious psychos and while you know itís for your own
protection, thereís something unsettling about driving into what feels
like a military fortress just to get a medical exam.
being in essence a body horror movie, is that a (sub-)genre especially
dear to you?
actually wouldnít classify Marla as
a body horror movieÖ And no, that sub genre is not particularly dear to
me. I can see how there are elements of that, but Iím mostly scared and
fascinated by losing control of our own selves - mentally and physically.
Iíd say that Marla is
more of a psychological horror than a body horror.
is a movie that sure has its bloody bits - so do talk about the gore
effects in your movie for a bit, and how were they achieved?
always been a huge fan of gore in horror movies, specifically blood. I
make all of my own blood and in Marla we
used about five different recipes for different purposes. I also built
some prosthetics, which was fun. I used to be really into art, so I had
the necessary skill set to execute some of the craftier projects. I had a
lot of technical help from Raleigh Salazar - he came in to audition for a
small role and let slip that he is an engineer - so he coached us through
and helped us with some of the bigger explosions. Raleigh played the
jacked bartender who we see after Jake dies.
can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at
knew that I was going to have my hands full on set, being in front of the
camera so much and covering so many departments, so I had our cast do
rehearsals for a couple of weeks before we started filming. That was
invaluable because I got to work out some of the kinks and get
performances where we wanted them without burning through time on set.
This was actually my first time acting or directing - so that was all the
more reason to get the rest of the cast where I wanted them before
You also play the title character in Marla,
which was according to my information your acting debut - so why did you
choose this rather difficult role to break into acting, and how did you
prepare to bring Marla to life?
do play Marla! When I was initially writing Marla,
I intended to play her. Iíd been wanting to try acting, and playing
someone that I created and understood seemed like a good place to start.
But I realized that I was censoring the story, envisioning myself having
to act out these scenes I was writing - so, I kind of put that on hold and
thought that maybe I would cast someone else. Had we found the perfect
person during casting, I probably wouldnít have played her. I
think that after spending so much time with the script and with Marla in
my head, I didnít need to do anything special to bring her to life,
sheís somebody that I understand very well.
Do talk about the rest
of your cast, and why exactly these people?
rest of the cast is a collection of really close friends and people that I
found on Craigslist.
is played by Travis Johnny Ware - heís someone that Iíve known since
middle school, we dated for a couple of weeks in 6th grade and have been
friends ever since. He actually moved to Austin, TX, where I was living
when I finished writing the script. We hung out and I found out he had
done a little acting and was interested in helping out. He did an awesome
job, and it was really nice to have someone that I knew so well and was so
comfortable with to do some of the more intimate scenes.
is played by Katie Hemming - someone I found online. I just really loved
her audition, so she was an easy choice. Katie was really flexible with
insane shoot days and what was asked of her and she brought a lot to the
character, which was awesome to see.
Chase, who plays Detective Wirtz was actually one of our first people cast
- I initially auditioned him for Dr. Lourdes, but decided to go a slightly
different route for that character and he was a perfect choice for the
detective. Itís always interesting to me when people audition for one
role but bring something to it that works really well for a different
What can you
tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
got so incredibly lucky with our cast and crew. I think we had a good mix
of seasoned professionals who were willing to teach, and hard-working
newbs, happy to learn. (I am obviously in the newb category on this one.)
last week of filming was at my momís house. It was really cool to have
most of our crew sleeping together under one roof during the day and
filming under that same roof overnight.
$64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?
will be available on Amazon on November 5th - hereís a link for
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Marla?
did a couple of festivals, which seemed to go well. I actually didnít
sit through the screenings at the first festival - I felt so
uncomfortable. At the last festival we did, I sat in the back, away from
my friends and just watched people watch the movie. It was crazy! People
laughed at parts that I never intended to be funny and recoiled in horror
at parts that seem tame to me now. That was cool to see. The only review
Iíve seen on YouTube is really negative! I thought that I would care
more, maybe have my feelings hurt by the bad review, but I understand
where they were coming from. This movie is not for everybody and that was
intentional. So far a lot of female horror fans that have seen it have
been really supportive, and thatís what I was going for - so thatís
future projects you'd like to share?
am actually co-writing a horror feature right now with a really good
friend of mine, Jeremy Berg [Jeremy
Berg interview - click here]. Heís written and directed a number of
horror features and weíve worked on a couple of sets together.
Weíre still fundraising, so no production dates yet, but itís a Civil
War era horror about this Confederate soldier who has an unusual gut-wound
that attracts the interest of a sociopathic doctor. Itís going to be
really bloody and Iím pretty excited about it.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you're
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
would like to say that Marla
my very first film project - first time writing, directing, acting, being
on a set etc. I went into it knowing that I wanted to be involved in film
and not knowing exactly in what capacity. Throughout the course of doing
lots of different aspects of production I was able to find a couple of
things that really interest me and make me really happy. So I will
say, if you want to be a filmmaker, just do it. You wonít know if you
even like it until after youíve tried.
for the interview!