David, tell us a bit about what the inspiration was for Nocturnally Yours and its darkly humored story?
Between 2009 and 2015 I was living in a freaky century-old manor that was supposedly haunted. Even if it wasn’t, it certainly had the vibe! I was trying to write a contained supernatural horror that we could easily shoot in the home on the cheap. The basic premise was that a woman’s spouse dies and returns as a ghost. What became clear with every subsequent draft was that I wanted to be silly. As hard as I tried to be serious, my “voice” kept bending toward the preposterousness of falling in love with a ghost. Even though I moved out of the house, we wound up shooting there. Shout out to my friends for allowing use of the space!
How did you find the cast who all work together so well here?
Adam I met through my friend Chase Williamson, another A+ actor. We were introduced at, of all things, a meditation session. (I know. We’re way West Coast, man.) Ellary I also met through Chase. I’m realizing that I should publicly thank him for a) creating these connections, and b) supporting this project from the jump. Waymond came recommended through a couple production designer buds who’d worked with him previously. And Bonnie I’d known from The Conjuring 2, as well as her nightmare-inducing turn as the dumpster monster in Mulholland Dr. Pre-production was rushed and I emailed her manager two or three days before we shot. By the grace of god, she was available. We had zero rehearsal days but everyone was a champ and handled the absurdity with ease.
What does having the film play festivals such as Fantasia, Morbido, FilmQuest, and Philadelphia Unnamed mean to you and for your film?
Everything! I should say at this point that Nocturnally Yours is a proof-of-concept for a larger feature. So yeah, as I hustle to find the funds to pull off a 90-minute movie, these bits of exhibition and hype-building are critical. And, as any filmmaker will tell you, having your work validated by festival crowds after months and years of grinding is helpful to keep on truckin’. As much as I’d love to be the artist who’s cool with an audience of one, my stupid ego won’t allow me to be him.
Overall in your career, what has inspired you, who have inspired you?
Tim Burton made me realize that movies didn’t make themselves. As a toddler, his work was so distinctive that I knew there must be someone tinkering behind the camera. When my parents took me to Disney World I was too afraid to go on the Haunted Mansion ride. But my mom said, “It’s just special effects, like Tim Burton!” and not only did I ride it, but I wanted to figure out how they made all those cool tricks. Growing up in the Midwest I didn’t have access to anything outside of Hollywood, but since college I’ve tried to inundate myself with everything – foreign films, art films, commercials, music videos, gallery films, whatever. Generally speaking, the funkier the better.
Any genre of films you would like to explore in the future?
It’s becoming clear that comedy comes more easily to me than drama, but I’d love to challenge myself with drama. I‘d love to be able to shoot two people in an ordinary setting, talking about the weather and make it cinematic.
What do you have coming up for Nocturnally Yours?
It’s playing a number of fests for the remainder of 2017 and I’m submitting to a few more for early 2018. Eventually I’d like to find a home for it somewhere online.
Any future projects you can tell us about?
As mentioned above, this short is a calling card for the larger feature. If any readers see Nocturnally Yours, love it, and have a few hundred grand sitting around, I’d love to meet you! Seriously. I have the feature script ready to go and I’m busy seeking financing. I’m also developing a short for CryptTV, Eli Roth’s web content company. We’re currently eyeballing an early 2018 release date.
Any filmmakers you would like to put a spotlight on, who do you think we should look out for?
Yes! Director Roberto San Sebastián and his producer Kevin Rodriguez. These crazy animals made The Night of the Virgin, the feature Nocturnally Yours screened with at Fantasia. I had no idea what I was in for when I saw it, but I pray everyone eventually catches it on VOD. Also the entire team behind Most Beautiful Island. These movies are very visceral experiences, but in very (very) different ways. I suppose they’re similar in that they both rule.
Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival 2017 runs September 28th to October 1st, 2017.