Women in Horror Month...my interview with Sarah Elliott, director of short horror film "The Doula"
On Thursday, February 6th, Toronto Indie Horror Fest presented horror fans with a showcase of short horror genre films made by women in honour of Women in Horror Month (which is February, for those who don't already know that).
It was great fun seeing a range of films from all over the globe, including:
The Doula (US)
Director - Sarah Welsh Elliott
A well-heeled Brooklyn couple expecting their first baby, places all of their trust in a highly recommended doula with sinister motives.
And now, my interview with Sarah Elliott, director of the short horror film, The Doula:
I’m Sarah Welsh Elliott, and I’m the director, co-writer, and practical effects person on The Doula. It was a very small operation so I also did costume, some make-up, and was one of the producers.
Sophie (Kittie Walsh) picked the perfect doula (Lillian DeVane) for her upcoming home birth. Relying on advice from family and friends, she is determined to give her baby the best of everything. Now that the doula has gained Sophie’s trust she has different plans for the birth and the new baby. The supportive husband Taylor (Jon Brzyski) and Sophie discover the truth when labor starts on the night of a new moon.
How did the idea for this film come about?
It’s very much a product of location and time of life. My husband James and I wrote it together, as we watched friends change and react to dealing with pregnancy and birth. We live somewhere where a good amount of people have the time and money for all the extras, and home births and placenta capsules suddenly became the norm. The down side of course is it stigmatizes people who don’t have all these options. It was interesting to explore these economic and cultural disparities in relation to watching our neighborhood go through so many changes at the same time as many of our friends were having children. Setting our story against these themes of uncomfortable or unwanted change (in body or area code) brought some added depth to our film.
Warning...a gory image is waiting for you on the other side of "Read More"!
Tell me a little bit about working with the cast and crew. Was it shot in Brooklyn? Any location shout outs you’d like to give?
Yes, we shot in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Brooklyn. We live here and all of the cast and crew live in North Brooklyn. We’ve lived here for 20 years so we’re fully aware there’s a lot to poke fun at.
Since it’s Women in Horror Month (and that was the theme of the screening), please give me your thoughts as a woman who works in the horror film industry—how do you find it? How far do you feel women have come in this field?
Working on such a small scale doesn’t give me much insight into what the industry is like as a whole. As a horror fan I feel encouraged to see more women directing. I’d like to see them trusted with bigger budgets.
Where has The Doula screened so far and where can we see it next?
At Ax Wound Festival, Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, in Toronto for Women in Horror Month, and at the end of February at Women In Horror Film Festival in Atlanta, GA.
Do you envision a longer version at some point down the road? What other future plans do you have for it?
I’d love to revisit it or make a longer version, but only if it would add to the story or expand the audience. I hope it will be in more festivals and ultimately available online.
What is your favourite B-movie and why? Deciding what is a B-movie and what’s not is very subjective, so I leave it to you to decide.
I’m going to say Ghoulies. I’m really obsessed with those John Carl Buechler creatures. A lot of what I love about it is not intentional and to me that’s what a B-movie is.
Awesome choice! Now, how about your favourite horror-comedy (that rises above what you might consider a B-movie)?
I love Jennifer’s Body! I saw it twice in the theater opening weekend and watch it again every few years.
Anything else you’d like to tell me?
Although I went to RISD for film, I focused on documentary film. Over the past few years, my love for practical special effects is what motivates me now.
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