Interview with Producer Emma & Director Morgan Saelens (THERE ARE BEES IN THE HOUSE)

Directed by Morgan Saelens
Asa returns to her childhood home and as she begins to settle back into her home life and routine, she suddenly begins to hear the buzzing of bees. She believes the sound to be coming from the walls of the house, and when she decides to investigate it, Asa only discovers locked doors and an evasive mother. The buzzing sound gets worse and worse, and begins to truly drive Asa mad, and eventually Ramona introduces her to the painful and uncomfortable experience of removing the bees from her head, and after that repeated experience Asa becomes numb to the world around her, and falls into the new toxic routine Ramona had introduced to her.

Get to know producer Emma Cooke, and director Morgan Saelens:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Morgan:The film actually came pitched to us as a script concept by our amazing writer Erin Riddle. I was fascinated with this idea of a young woman grappling with something insidious existing in what should be her sanctuary (her family home). We workshopped it together and we quickly realized that the story we were really trying to tell was one of intergenerational wounds and trauma.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

Emma: We spent probably about 45 days in pre-production for a 3 day shoot. Post production took a few months to complete, so overall- probably close to 5 months.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Emma: Chilling and insightful.

Morgan: Intergenerational terror

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Emma: The idea of having actual, physical bees and honeycomb was something we went back and forth about quite a bit, but our Production Designer Marcos G. Avendaño really knocked it out of the park when it came to execution. The themes of the film were also something we grappled with, trying to decide how much to reveal or not, and how best to handle the topic.

Morgan: Scheduling and weather were tough ones for us. We only had 3 days to shoot and even though our cast was very small, we were working with a child performer and actors that only had certain windows of availability. On top of that, we were filming in the fall in Vancouver which is just a cine and sound nightmare with all of the wind and rain.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Emma: I was really pleased that the audience had a good grasp on the themes and our representation of them, and also that many of them could relate to the material!

Morgan: It’s always so insightful and amazing to hear from people who really get the symbolism right away and who draw those connections to intergenerational trauma how insidious and intimate it can be especially in a parent-child relationship.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

Emma: I’ve always enjoyed storytelling, and the visual medium that film provided me with was something too intriguing to pass up, so in high school I dove right in.

Morgan: Similar to Emma, I think that filmmaking at its core IS storytelling and that’s how I’ve always oriented my creative pursuits. I’ve always been a writer, a dreamer, and storyteller but I began really taking it seriously though after the first pandemic lockdown. I had lost both of my jobs and decided I would go back to school to study film production. I wanted to showcase more diverse, more nuanced experiences of what it means to be here and to be human.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Emma: Back to the Future is always going to be a true classic.

Morgan: Tim Burton’s “Big Fish”

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Emma: I think further feedback, positive and negative, is always helpful to anybody. That criticism is invaluable to filmmakers moving into other projects, whether it’s relating to the story or more to the physical production.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Emma: I have really loved working with FilmFreeway so far, the process from start to finish is very clear and accessible to any sort of project.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

Emma: There’s always something going on on the back burner, whether it be a new story or collaborating with other filmmakers to help facilitate their storytelling.

Morgan: I’ve shifted my focus towards more short-form experimental works and I’m currently in the pre-production stage of a small, zero-budget passion project that I’m really excited about.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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