Thursday, December 8, 2016


Hello everyone, this time I have the pleasure to post you this great interview which i made it to Mr Jordan Galland, director of many films, but we focused on Ava's Possession, released this year on US, with a great reviews from critics and at festivals, so that, i felt bitten by the curiosity bug and decided to watched that film, and it was amazing. First its story; aftermaths suffered due by demonic possession and explaining that in that moment when mostly think that pains and suffering has been defeated, well not, is only beginning the really traumatic thing,  accepts what happened, avoids it repeated again, and searches answers.

Before to have had the possibility to talk with Jordan, I saw Ava's Possession film  and the first thing I imagined was this director must to be a Giallo Fan, I don't know, because of the tremendous colorful images I seen on the film, pretty intense reds, blues, yellows, reminded me a lot to Argento and Bava  films, but those people who doesn't seen it yet I totally recommend it, you will see a great film.

"Ava Dobkins is recovering from demonic possession. With no memory of the past month, she is forced to attend a Spirit Possession Anonymous support group. As Ava struggles to reconnect with her friends, get her job back, and figure out where the huge bloodstain in her apartment came from, she's plagued by nightmarish visions - the demon is trying to come back." That is Ava's Possession plot.

First of all thank you Jordan for accept my invitation and allowed me steal a part of your time and have answered me these questions.

EFF: When and how began your love for makes movies?

JG: I grew up in downtown Manhattan, seeing movies at Angelika Film Center and Film Forum. I was very interested in theater as well and started writing one act plays when I was 12. When one of my plays was a finalist at the Young Playwrights competition, they told me it should be a screenplay. So I started writing screenplays. It took a while for me to realize that there is a very specific and rigid structure that I’d have to learn and perfect in order for anyone in the business to actually take my screenplay seriously and give it a thorough read. In 2004, I borrowed a friend’s digital video camera that had a 24-frame rate setting so it looked a lot better than video, and I set off trying to make a feature film for no money using my friends as actors. The 90-minute version of this was unbearable to watch. As the result of some advice from filmmakers I knew, I cut it down to 20 minutes and submitted it around as a short. It played at some festivals, and ultimately helped me get my first feature, ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE UNDEAD, off the ground. My second film, ALTER EGOS, involved a lot of the same people I had worked with on my first film.

 EFF: Many possession films focuses on possession stages, but not aftermath, what gave you the idea to make your movie with that story?

JG: I'm a fan of possession films and horror films. Especially the stylish ones like ROSEMARY’S BABY or THE SHINING, or THE OMEN and THE EXORCIST.  I wanted to work in a similar space, but I wasn’t going do it unless it had a fresh take on the genre, because there are so many movies about this subject. So while I was in post-production on my last movie working on a treatment, I tackled a possession from different angles and finally I arrived at the idea of post-possession – what the recovery process would be like.  When the idea occurred to me then a lot of other things just fell into place, like the recovery group, and then the amnesia, mystery angle.

EFF: How was the production process of Ava Possession's?

JG: There are so many great people who worked on the film I wish I could talk about all of them in detail. But to start, Maren Olson at Traction Media had been my producing partner on this for two years, helping with development and reaching out to investors. Because the film has so many female characters, and I am a dude, I’d been hoping to find a woman to help out the film on a fundamental level, keep the perspective honest and in check. 

Maren is great a producer regardless, but it was especially helpful to have her on board as a resource for all of the layered female characters that appear in the film. My wife Jessica helped a lot on that front as well.

EFF: What was the budget? What was most expensive?

JG: Just under a million. The most expensive day was probably one of the all-night shoots where we had a steadicam.

EFF: What movies inspired you to make Ava Possession's?

JG: I probably mention many of the films that inspired me above, but... at Fantasia Film Festival 2012, where my second film ALTER EGOS premiered, the author Kier-La Janisse was promoting her book about female-centered horror and exploitation films called “House of Psychotic Women.” The cover was a poster from Aulawski’s 1981 film POSSESSION, which I had seen a few years earlier and which had certainly been one of the inspirations for the script of AVA’S POSSESSIONS that I had just completed. I bought a copy and watched every film mentioned in that book, going down the list, from movies I had seen before like BLACK SWAN, THE BROOD and CARRIE to movies I had never heard of like THE BABY and BAD DREAMS. Some are masterpieces, some are barely watchable, but I felt that Ava belonged in this family of films, and that as a character, she was related to these other women. These films became the basis for all of my reference bibles.

           House of Psychotic Women                                               1981 Possession by Andrzej Zulawski

EFF: Do you have any director you like, someone you admire?

JG:So many. I can't name them all. Kubric, Scorsese, Coen Brothers, Tony and Ridley Scott, Polanksi, Oliver Stone, Darren Aronofsky, David O Russell, Truffaut, Almodovar, Park Chan Wook, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Spike Jonez, Charlie Kaufman. Neil Jordan

EFF: Would you tell us how was cast selection, how you caught every actor?

JG: Most of the actors auditioned for me and the wonderful casting director, Stephanie Holbrook. With the exception of the following: Louisa Krause I was a fan of before, although we'd never met. I offered her the role based on her previous work, and then when she accepted, we finally sat down for coffee and talked it through. Whitney Able I knew from her previous work as well, and she was friends with some of my actors from earlier films, so that's how I reached out to her. John Ventimiglia and Geneva Carr I worked with on my previous two films.

EFF:  Something funny that maybe happened during the movie?

JG: On set, something would fall in the corner. Or somebody would open a soda and it would spray everywhere and they’d say: ‘It’s the demon!’ And then, slowly, I'd show up on set and see the crew getting serious about it. I’d notice the crew passing bundles of sage and mumbling to themselves in Latin and placing a stone somewhere. And I thought ‘What is going on?’

We had just filmed in the witch shop, where Carol Kane plays the proprietor of a black magic shop. This was an actual, real place that I was just walking by, it was near the main location. I went in and was like, ‘Can we film here? We’re a few blocks away, we need a set like this.’ And they said, ‘Okay.’ The Art Department did an amazing job dressing it, making it more exciting, but it turns out that as we were loading in and out of this place, the owner was talking to the line producer and some of the crew. He started asking about the movie, they started telling him, and he said, ‘Hold on a second – demons, you gotta be careful.’  He just spooked the entire crew.  

No one told me. And I was just like, ‘Guys, I wrote this. It’s okay, you don’t have to be scared. If anyone should be scared, it’s me, not you.’ And I was just thinking like, if this guy’s real, if this demon is real, he’s pretty obscure. I did some research to find an obscure demon, he’s probably gonna be happy that he’s getting some attention. And the other thing that’s interesting about it, just is that it’s always a glass half empty half full kind of thing, if anything went wrong, people would be like, ‘This set is cursed.’ But I was also thinking about the luck angle. 

I thought ‘Hold on guys, I feel like I’m lucky. I feel like there are angels or demons HELPING us make the movie.’ And that happened on “The Exorcism,” too. William Freidkin tells these stories about how the set was cursed, but how he never felt so sure of doing things correctly, as if guided by other forces... I feel that the movies often seep into the world of the set.

Jordan Galland and Louisa Krause

EFF: One scene you are proud of?

JG: On this film I was in a constant state of just trying to get every shot I wanted and trying to create a reality that was different from our own. There was never a scene or a day that was not a struggle, if partly because of time or wind or sunlight. 

But I was very concerned with getting short “glue” scenes – the moments alone with Ava where I knew the film would breathe. And I knew the whole time that we were missing Ava alone in a taxi, because on the 2nd night, we managed to film Ava getting into the taxi, but the cops shut us down before we could get the next shot. We had a permit, but our permit was up and they were keeping a very watchful eye on us. 

It was important to me to show Ava in the taxi alone with the city in the background. And every day, I would hope for extra time to get that shot, but there was never any time. Until finally, on the last day, before the sun came up and we wrapped, the cinematographer Adrian and I hailed a cab and shot Louisa in it, going back and forth over the Williamsburg bridge while the horizon got light from the sunrise. It was beautiful, and it felt like a magical moment. We had the whole film in the can and I was getting the one shot that had eluded me the whole time.

EFF: What 2016 horror movie you like the most?

JG: So many good ones. I loved THE WITCH, and HUSH and I think THE CONJURING 2 was amazing as well, especially for a sequel. NEON DEMON I am still wrapping my head around, but I did really love it on some level. Although I was disappointed on another level, probably because I had been anticipating it for too long.

EFF: Now, seeing the movie at the end, was it exactly you wanted for, or maybe there is something you missed it?

JG: That's hard to answer. I'm proud of it. I can say that.

EFF: When I read your description about the whole crew member who helped you in this movie, I had the sensation of gratitude, you have worked with most of them before and now, you even waited for some of them to be free. Do you think it is always better work with the same people over and over?

JG: I have a deep sense of gratitude for most of the cast and crew I’ve worked with, and every day on set, I’m aware of how lucky I am to be collaborating with people who want to see my vision come to life.  It’s almost impossible to wait for one single crew member to be available when you’re juggling so many elements, so many moving parts. I usually base filming around an actors availability, or in some cases a locations availability. Once you’ve locked that in, maybe you can nudge a week or so to wait for a crew members. I’ve been lucky that the people I wanted to work with were able to make themselves available once we had a shooting schedule.

EFF: Why after two comedy films you made a horror film, what happened with comedy genre for you?

JG: I’m a fan of all kinds of genres, but I found, even in ALTER EGOS, that there was some drama I was playing out, which plays as comedy because the actors are in nightly colored spandex with letters their chests. But I’m drawn more too mysterious and eerie atmospheres these days— any movie I do will always have a sense of humor though. But even the darkest, gloomiest films have a sense of humor— even Fincher’s SE7EN has some funny moments.

EFF: You are musician too right? You have worked in many films included yours, excluding your films, what film you worked as musician or at the soundtrack crew you liked most?

JG: I loved doing the score to Daniel Schechter’s SUPPORTING CHARACTERS (2012.) It was kind of the sweet spot— acoustic guitars, piano and strings, which I could do at home, so it felt personal and intimate. I love collaborating with Casey Neistat whenever he asks me to do the music for one of his short films. For the same reason, kinda. I like it when films feel hand tailored with a personal touch. Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s rough around the edges, just means it feels like a talented human being made it, rather than committee making decisions based on what’s safe for the market place. But I do those jobs too. 

EFF: Do you think in writing all your films as director? Because all you have done now you're also the writer.

JG: I’m very interested in directing scripts I did not write. At the moment I’m directing a script called ORIOLE PARK, an awesome script I was sent by some very talented writers which I see as VIRGIN SUICIDES meets ZODIAC. But I’d also love to have a director I admire make a film from a script I wrote, and be a part of it from that angle.

EFF: Jordan, I was about to ask you that.  Your two films as upcoming, I see "Oriole Park” and "Devil's Fork", what it is the plot about each one and which one it's coming first?

JG: Both are on the runway, and we’ll see which takes off first. It’s like that with film projects— you don’t really know what’s going to happen with it until the first day of filming. And then you can say “this is the movie I’m making next.” I have a lot of passion for both projects and plan to do both regardless of what order.

EFF: What cameras, equipments and techniques did you use for Ava's Possession? And for those indie filmmakers who doesn't have too much money, what do you recommend to them?

JG: We did not have many camera toys for Ava’s Possessions so we did what we could with lighting. It helped that we shot a lot of it at night, so the lighting could really stand out. But night shoots take their toll on everyone. We shot on the RED Dragon. I wanted anamorphic lenses but we couldn’t afford them and I still regret not somehow squeezing that out of the budget, although I know we all tried, so it’s no one’s fault. My advice to young filmmakers is to make more than one short film, and write more than one feature script, so you don’t have all your eggs in one basket. You can do that approach, but wait till later on.

EFF: What advice would you say to those neophyte filmmakers or those want-to-be ones? Looking your epic travel for to be what you are now.

JG: I can’t recommend this but, from my experience, and what I’ve learned about the filmmakers I love that inspire me with their work, you have to have a selfish obsession with filmmaking— you come by that naturally and it doesn’t feel like a particularly healthy mindset, but it drives you— and also you need some emotional support system, family or friends or both that can handle your mood swings and give you a reality check. It’s a lot like being a mad scientist, whether you’re making a feature film with a giant crew, or making a short film with your iPhone— at the end of the day it comes down to your vision, what you do with the footage in the editing room, and there is no formula that can ensure you create something watchable, so you have explore.

EFF: If you could have the possibility to filming a horror remake, what would you choose and why?

JG: Oh that’s a good one! Let me think… There are so many remakes these I want to choose one that is not getting redone yet.

  1. NEEDFUL THINGS, because I loved it as a kid and because I think consumerism is terrifying and should be explored in this way again.
  2. THE EYES OF LAURA MARS, because I love photographers as protagonists. It’s similar in a way to my first short film SMILE FOR THE CAMERA.
  3. SLEEPWALKERS, just cuz I loved it as a kid.

EFF: What horror subgenre do you prefer: Slasher, Giallo or creature feature, etc?

JG: Giallo!

You can follow to Jordan on Twitter here:
Or visit his webpage:
Ava's Possession Twitter:
Ava's Possession webpage: Avaspossessions
Alter Ego's webpage: Alteregosmovie




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