One of the most talked about films within the film festival circuit this past year was Chad Ferrin's PARASITES. The film focuses on a group of college boys who get stranded on the infamous Skid Row in downtown LA and are attacked and stalked by a crazed gang of homeless derelicts. In preparation of the release of the film on Digital HD, we had the opportunity to chat with director Chad Ferrin about the inspiration behind his latest movie and what it was like to film on Skid Row.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Hi Chad! Thank you so much for speaking with us today about your latest film PARASITES. For those not familiar with your film, could you tell us a little bit about it and what prompted you to want to make a film such as this?
Chad Ferrin: It's my take on my favorite film, THE NAKED PREY, which is based on a true story about John Colter's escape from the Blackfoot Indians. I modernized it, replaced Indians with an angry gang of hobos and threw in a dash of social commentary.
NC: When it came to casting the roles, what was the process like? Did you have any specific people in mind for the characters of Wilco and Marshal?
CF: Casting was done online through Actors Access and we had thousands of submissions to go through. It took a little over a month to find Sean Samuels for the role of Marshal and Robert Miano was always in my mind to play Wilco.
NC: The majority of the film takes place on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. What was it like shooting there and did you run into any issues with the homeless population?
CF: Skid Row is really no man's land after dark where homeless encampments take over block after block of downtown. We saw them barbecuing, pissing, shitting, fucking and fighting in the middle of the streets. It was very eye opening. We shot the script in sequence, so the first night we were filming the opening driving scene through Skid Row and a couple of the homeless people took after us. Actors Sean Samuels, Jeffrey Decker and Sebastian Fernandez were driving the pick-up truck, while myself, Christian Janss (DP), and Steve Hitselberger (sound) were in the bed when suddenly a couple of them rode up on bikes along side of us. One of them grabbed my arm and began screaming that we couldn't film there. I yanked my arm free, just as his buddy threw a beer bottle, just missing Steve's head. Christian yelled to Sean to step on it and we sped off as they yelled obscenities at us from the middle of the street.
NC: Wow, that must have been incredibly unnerving. I'm glad that all of you ended up being okay. Since the film has such a social commentary about the homeless community, what would you like the audience to take away from this film?
CF: I hope that PARASITES is able to entertain, inspire and stick in the head's of the audience for awhile.
NC: I know for me, it's definitely a film that has stayed with me since watching it. With PARASITES now completed, what can your fans expect from you in the future?
CF: I'm hoping to shoot the film HORSE this year. It is a combination of vengeance/siege/chase/masculinity/morality all packed into one hell of an action-driven western about a lone gunfighter seeking vengeance upon the men who murdered his horse.
NC: Thank you so much for speaking with us today and we will definitely make sure to keep an eye out for your next film!
PARASITES will be available January 24th to rent in the US and Canada on iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, Vudu and Xbox.