Women In Horror Month is such a big deal in the horror community. It’s a time to recognize and celebrate all the talented women on and off the screen who work their asses off on a daily basis. They show that with dedication, talent, and drive which proves that you can do anything if you set your mind to it.
One of those talented ladies is Jessie Seitz, an amazing indie horror director whose passion shows in all of her work. Tori was ecstatic to finally talk to her about her career, DEVOTION, female inspirations, and much, much more!
Nightmarish Conjurings: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me Jessie! How did you get involved in the horror industry?
Jessie Seitz: I first got involved with the horror industry 16 years ago when I became an intern for the infamous Wicked Pixel Cinema. I went on to work with them for 7 years acting as a producer, writer, and production designer.
Nightmarish Conjurings: What was the first project you were involved with?
JS: The first film set I was ever on was INBRED REDNECK ALIEN ABDUCTION. I actually ended up learning a lot about making production design work on a limited budget from director Patrick Voss. Voss is now a very accomplished special fx/creature artist who also helped with many of the key props in my first solo project, FIVE.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Your film DEVOTION has received a lot of love. What was your inspiration behind it?
JS: The inspiration for DEVOTION came from two places. The first being all the fantastic ghost tales I grew up hearing as a child. My hometown has a storied past and I always wanted to include that lore into a project. I was also very influenced by abstract horror films from the 1970s and how they create these dream worlds for the viewer to get lost in. I think we did a pretty good hitting on both of these points (laughs).
Nightmarish Conjurings: How did you got about the casting process?
JS: The casting for DEVOTION came in layers. The initial wave of people (including Haley Jay Madison, and Victor Bonacore) were all folks I already had a working relationship with and wanted to have in front of the camera. Victor, who is also the producer, put me in touch with Linnea Quigley and Erin Brown after we discussed how they fit perfectly with the script. Then we had an issue come up where one of the key actors bailed 24 hours before the shoot. Jadie Marie stepped in and took on the additional role. Now I can’t imagine the movie without her playing both parts! Josh Miller graciously came into his role after the initial actor just wasn’t working out. He brought so much to the role and really helped expand the character. Victor and I mapped out additional scenes after principal photography and we brought in Erin Ryan and Mallory Nelson to fill the added roles which they did an absolutely lovely job at. This film is what it is because of the dedicated cast and crew behind it; I am very grateful to them.
Nightmarish Conjurings: What was your favorite part about the film?
JS: My favorite part about making DEVOTION is what we were able to accomplish artistically as a group. We shot on high 8, super8, camcorder, and digital stills to create a moving Rorschach and I do love how it turned out.
Nightmarish Conjurings: What was the biggest/most important thing you’ve learned from filmmaking so far?
JS: The most important thing I’ve learned so far is to embrace the fluidity of this art form. Almost nothing goes according to plan and that’s really the beauty of it. I’ve found that what often time looks like a failure just ends ups leading to something better for the overall project.
Nightmarish Conjurings: What’s your favorite part of filmmaking?
JS: My favorite part of filmmaking changes all the time. I sought out the internship not really knowing what I wanted to end up doing but knowing enough to say that this was something worth pursuing. It still is. I am deeply attached to filmmaking in way that I don’t ever see myself stopping, for better or for worse. I suppose the overall greatest part is that I’ve been able meet and collaborate with others who feel the same way.
Nightmarish Conjurings: February is Women in Horror Month, who are your female inspirations?
JS: Is it too much to say “all of them”? (laughs). Seriously though, there are so many women out there knocking down walls every day in this industry. Shit is brutal even on a micro budget independent level but to know you’re not in it alone means the world.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Do you have a favorite female driven film?
JS: There are a lot I could list but I feel the one that’s had the biggest impact on me was Asia Argento’s SCARLET DIVA. That film always crushes me in ways that I can’t fully explain. It is poetry.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to talk about?
JS: We’re very close to having the DEVOTION DVD out into the world. It’s taken so long because I went the self distribution route which I don’t regret but has caused delays. I am thankful that everyone has been so understanding in the process. Magnetic Magic Rentals is also releasing a VHS limited edition of DEVOTION! I actually just got the advanced copies in mail and they are beautiful. DEVOTION is also set to play another round of festivals in 2018 so I’m really looking forward to that! I’ve also started working on a new project titled OBSIDAN which stars Haley Jay Madison, Jim Van Bebber and J.B. Beverley. OBSIDAN is a pretty large undertaking so we’ve been taking it step by step. This past October we spent two days shooting a proof of concept short film to start building interest. My hope is to begin actual production in the fall of 2018.
For more information on Jessie, you can follow her on social media on Instagram and Twitter at @thejessieseitz