THE MILL CREEK STANGLER was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the November 2021 CRIME/MYSTERY Film Festival.
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I was listening to a podcast that explored the fandom of the true crime genre of podcasts and documentaries. In the podcast they went to a true crime convention and they noticed that the vast majority of the attendees were women. They also noticed that some of the attendees were very interested in serial killers to the point that they considered them celebrities. This got me thinking, what would happen if someone who was obsessed with a serial killer got to meet them in real life and how would they react. After I came up with the idea of the Mill Creek Strangler showing up to a fan’s house to kill her I started doing research into serial killer films and something that I noticed was that in a lot of these films women are portrayed as the victim and I thought, what if instead of being the victim she asserted control over the situation and shifted the power dynamic of the two.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
I had the original idea back in November of 2019 but didn’t start writing it until June 2020. I finished writing it in November of 2020 and started pre-production. We shot the film in March of 2021 and I finished editing in August of 2021.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Empowering and awkward
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
One of the biggest obstacles that I faced in completing this film was Covid-19. I didn’t want to put anyone on set in danger and also follow local guidelines so I had to push back shooting by a few months.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
My initial reaction was satisfaction because a lot of the audience were talking about things that they liked about the film that aren’t explicitly stated but something that I put in as sub-text to the film. For example, one of them mentioned how much he liked the shift in who had control during the film and that was something that I worked hard to create with the writing and staging of the film.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
Since I was a kid I always liked creating stories and I acted a lot in school plays but it wasn’t until high school that I found film. While in high school my friends and I got into skateboarding but because I could never land a trick I ended up being the one to film everyone else doing tricks. Because I was the one filming I also became the one to edit everything. Then one day it was raining so we couldn’t skateboard so we decided to make a studpid short film instead and I quickly realized that I loved the medium of film to tell stories.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
The film that I have seen the most in my life is either the original Star Wars trilogy, Rushmore, or the Fountain.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
I really appreciated the audience feedback video because it helped me highlight what I did right and to see if what I wanted to convey was properly received by the audience. I think if other film festivals did that it would be very beneficial. Something that might be helpful is if along with a video about what the audience liked is a video where the audience could mention things that they didn’t like or things they thought I could do better. I always appreciate constructive criticism and believe that is the best way to improve as a filmmaker.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
FilmFreeway has been a great experience and I have no complaints about it.
10. What is your favorite meal?
I’m easy to please. I like a good pizza.
11. What is next for you? A new film?<.b>
My next film that I am working on right now is a feature length film inspired by the Mill Creek Strangler. I already have started writing it and plan to finish the first draft of the script by the end of this year.