2015 Official Selection "No Service"
What is your name, company name, and URL?
Leah McKendrick, Villainess Productions, VillainessProductions.com, facebook.com/VillainessProductions
What is your specialty: filmmaking or screenwriting? If filmmaking, which aspects?
I write, produce and act in all of my films. I'm contemplating venturing into directing but I'm happy not being the captain of the ship while shooting for now!
What are you currently working on?
I'm working on my first feature film as a writer/producer/star. It's called "MFA"--a thriller about an art student who becomes a vigilante and starts murdering her campus rapists. I'm currently raising the funds for it. Aiming for a summer 2016 shoot. Wish me luck!
Who do you consider your mentor and why?
My boyfriend is the nicest guy in show biz. Everyone wants to work with him because when you're in the trenches at 4 am, he's the guy you want on your side. Before we met, Hollywood felt like survival of the fittest. Now that we've been together for a few years, it has become this warm, homey place. He gave me a whole new perspective and it has made all the difference.
Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?
The thing that I love about horror is that no one cares if George Clooney is in it. No one cares if it had a 100 million dollar budget or who made it, what country it's from or even if it's in a different language. Horror fans care about one thing: Is it GOOD.-- Is it scary? Is it something we've never seen before? It really cuts through a lot of Hollywood's political bullshit.
What do you love most about this business?
It's composed mostly of people who are dream chasers. Movies are so magical and even when I go through a rough patch I am grateful to be fighting for my childhood dream.
What do you dislike most about this business?
How misogynistic it can be. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to festivals to represent my films and everyone assumes I'm an actress there to network and get in THEIR films. Or they'll approach my boyfriend and ask him what film he is representing and he'll be like, "I'm just the plus one."
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Probably the musical web series I created "Destroy the Alpha Gammas." It taught me about the kind of work I want to create, the roles I want to play and the people I want to work with. It made it clear to me that for the rest of my life I will never be happy just being an actress or singer. I like having a little more say.
Any advice you'd like to give to newbies?
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt The film I took to Shriekfest, "No Service" cost me a few hundred bucks. I wrote a script, grabbed my friends, borrowed some equipment, went to Tahoe and shot it in half a day. I wasn't trying to make the next Citizen Kane. I was just trying to make something kinda cool. Some filmmakers spend too much time convincing themselves why it won't work, why it's not worthwhile, why they don't have enough money. Just know that while you're doing that, someone else is getting ready to shoot their idea and they will have a film at the end of it- and that person is probably me.
Anything else you'd like to say?
I think it's really rad that one of the biggest and best horror festivals in the world is run by a badass FEMALE! Thank you, Denise, for all that you do. You're a trailblazer.