Shriekfest Independent Horror Film Festival



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This month Festival Director Denise Gossett spoke with Venita Ozols-Graham, 2016 Official Selection with "Used Body Parts", 2017 screenplay quarter finalist with "Spider Lake".

DG: What is your name and company URL?

VO: My name is Venita Ozols-Graham and my daughter Brigitte Graham and I have a production company called Wanderlust Films(US): www.imdb.com/company/co0395615/.
And there's also our web site for Black Widows: blackwidowsthemovie.com/

VO

DG: What is your specialty...filmmaking or screenwriting?

VO: I've worked in film and television production for a long time but I've always been a 'filmmaker' and several years ago I stepped away from production to concentrate on writing and directing. I still have to produce to get our projects up and running but my heart is in the story, not the finances.

DG: What are you currently working on?

VO: We're in post production on a short thriller Brigitte wrote and directed, 'Angel'. Dark, stylized, very cool. On this one, I just produced. I'm also in that hell called putting together financing for two feature length scripts I wrote so I can direct again. Also, I wrote another short, 'Only If They Smell Blood', that we're shooting next week. Gotta keep those Shriekfest entries going :)

DG: :) Wow! You've been busy! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

VO: Hmm. I'd have to say Roman Polanski because his early films spun my head around in film school and made me want to make movies. I guess that's more of an inspiration than a mentor? Kenny Johnson was more of a hands on mentor...I was his First A.D. on many sic fi projects like 'Alien Nation'. I learned so much standing next to him. He's a generous teacher.

DG: Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?

VO: I was just giving that a lot of thought the other day...the real world is actually barely a step away from what we see in horror movies. Just walk through certain parts of any big city and you feel like you're on the set of 'Night of the Living Dead'. We're genuinely terrified about the potential for horror in real life so it's a relief to experience our fears in a controlled setting, where someone won't tear off our arm and eat it. And sci fi...it's the (potential) future. Who doesn't want to take a peek into what's in store for us?

DG: LOL very true! What do you love most about this business?

VO: The insanity and intensity. Working on a set is like being part of a huge (sometimes dysfunctional) family. It's a wild, all consuming ride that you experience with every cell of your being and then you get spit out. Not saying there aren't spells of outright boredom (will that actress EVER get out of makeup???) but I can't imagine a career that's more challenging on so many levels.

DG: LOL What do you dislike most about this business?

VO: The insanity and intensity. lol. Actually, at the moment I'm seriously disliking the mercurial nature of film financing. Give me a task and I'll accomplish it but putting together financing is like trying to capture quicksilver. You get a bead on this aspect and this other one slips away. I see now why it can take a decade to get a film made.

DG: I hear ya! It is frustrating. What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

VO: I'm most proud of getting the movie 'Black Widows' made and distributed. What a challenge! Even though I'd been in production a long time, arranging financing, producing every aspect of it, casting extraordinary actors with no money, directing, dealing with 23 musicians on the soundtrack, post production, deliverables, publicity, on and on...it was a crash course in film making.

DG: Any advice you'd like to give newbies?

VO: Write. And then write some more. And get together with your friends and make shorts. Prove yourself and they (producers) may knock on your door. No one's going to knock if you don't show them you can do it.

DG: Great advice! Anything else you'd like to say?

VO: Yes. Thank you. Shriekfest was truly my favorite film festival to be a part of. For upcoming filmmakers, festivals are the stepping stone to making a career in filmmaking a reality. Can you imagine how sad it would be if they didn't exist? You've created a celebration of film for all of us who love making and watching it! Very grateful.

DG: thank you so much Venita! It was great chatting!

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