The shortest film of Triple Six Festival, clocking in at 60 seconds, is Starfucker. I interviewed director and writer Emilie Flory about the process of making the film, the role of women in horror and the future of the genre.
Congratulations on your screening at the Triple Six Festival in Manchester. Your film, Starfucker, was the shortest film shown at the festival. What were some of the challenges you faced in producing a film of this length?
Starfucker is a part of the horror anthology, ’60 seconds to die’, produced by Tony Newton and distributed by Alchemy Werks / Sector Five Films, that will be released very soon. When Richard Charles Stevens (producer of Starfucker and associate producer on 60 seconds to die) offered me to make a one minute film for Tony’s horror anthology, I wanted to take up the challenge. Some have warned me it was impossible to tell a story in one minute; they alleged this project was very risky, but it didn’t stop me. As a screenwriter, I find this kind of exercise frustrating, but as a director I think it’s rather thrilling: I reckoned we would treat a subject in an advertising format and play on several levels of interpretation for the audience in record time. I had a strong idea with a twist and a great, highly motivated team who followed me as one man. Regarding the post-production, for example, it was a dream. It happens rarely. I am very pleased to see that a festival like Triple Six Horror is not afraid of presenting a film that short in its selection. It is almost as difficult to make a super short as it is to shoot a movie with a classic length; we go through the same steps and it is always expensive. For just one minute you better have to want it hard.
You have both written and directed Starfucker, what was the inspiration behind the film?
The inspiration came to me in seeing through the landscape from the window of a TGV (High Speed Train- Train à Grande Vitesse). I had in mind an idea to film under water in a bathtub for this very aquatic Sci-Fi film project I’m working on. I thought I would shoot two films with the turnaround in the second film. But it seemed a bit complicated as we had no means to invest in an appropriate location. I simplified to the extreme the topic to finally realize that it reflected the extreme violence of an everyday life against which I rebelled; I probably subconsciously found material to make this film in what I experienced. Besides, I called the movie Starfucker because it seemed the ideal title for such a topic: conceptual, shocking and radical.
Starfucker appears to demonstrate inspiration from the giallo movement. Was this a conscious inspiration or something that came naturally when creating the film?
One of my feature film projects Trauma Dolls (a semi-finalist at the Shriekfest screenplay competition and finalist at the Fright Night Film Fest) made me addicted to Dario Argento’s movies and especially to his masterpiece Tenebrae, the ultimate visual reference for Trauma Dolls. Argento opened a rarely followed path with this movie. Quite logically I wanted to dive into the universe of the Giallo when the opportunity to film Starfucker arose. Yet my visual references for Starfucker were mostly Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill and Lucio Fulci’s New York Ripper.
Many of the films shown at the festival featured female leads who took an active role in their films rather than being victims. What are your thoughts on the horror genre becoming more female-centred?
Women become more important in horror movies for it’s also the case in society. Horror has always been very much in line with societal changes and is even often in advance. I explained my point of view on this subject in an interview by Promote Horror for Women In Horror Month. The fact a horror month exists for women in horror shows their influence. Moreover, men are very happy to give them a place. There is no male chauvinism in this circle. Look at the adoration that arouses The Meryl Streep of Horror’s very own Debbie Rochon, who is also a director and a producer. Sex symbols, Scream Queens are glorified, supported, pushed forward. It’s not the case in the movie business in general. Even in less recent horror movies, women were never perceived negatively when they played the roles of victims. Some were already seen as heroines. The list is far from exhaustive but just to mention them think of Marilyn Burns in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Caroline Munroe in Maniac, Sissy Spacek in Carrie, Heather Langenkamp in A Nightmare On Elm street or Jessica Harper in Suspiria… Great horror directors have a true understanding of female sensitivity. They know the wide range of emotions offered by female characters and they use both the great fragility and stamina that characterize them.
I thought it was noteworthy that the man in the film was killed by the main character after attempting to touch her- was this a comment upon the sexual harassment women often face in society today?
Each can have their own interpretation but that wasn’t what I had in mind. In Starfucker, I answer to acts of violence by the eradication of such violence using sex appeal! The sex here is a way to catch in a trap the one who plays the role of the predator. Starfucker plays with the codes of slasher movies and talks about false pretending and this dark part we all possess exposed. Indeed it is questionable if the character who is harassed has not set a trap to the stalker. Still waters run deep. As says the catchline: “the prey is not always the one you think it is”.
The producer of Starfucker, Marion Berdoati Sauzedde, announced at the festival that there were plans to make Starfucker into a feature film. Can you update us on these plans?
The producer Marion Berdoati Sauzedde who represented us, Richard Charles Stevens, producer of Starfucker and myself, is one of our supporters on Ravish, the feature film based on Starfucker. Ravish is in development in association with Vestra Pictures. The screenplay is in the process of being written. The idea of a feature film based on Starfucker is coming from Richard Charles Stevens. He is working on the script with Tony and Kerry Newton. I am their lucky director and I am currently working on the preparatory elements of the movie. It’s an aesthetically ambitious low budget project. Besides, we’re looking for producers and funds. We also launched our own fundraising campaign on www.iconelabelpictures.com
One of the biggest challenge on this project will probably be to find the actress designed to embody the role of Sloan Vicious: in addition to her talents as an actress, it would take her to be able to sing and be comfortable with nudity. Sex and music are very important in the story. Sloan Vicious is a highly provocative pop star who is going to drag us into her descent into hell. She is going to reveal us her dark part, the monstrosity she repressed but will have to face for not sinking irreversibly. Ravish is a project of an enticing film noir, ultra-violent, very sensual… Impulsive!
Finally, how was your experience appearing at the first year of the Triple Six Horror Film Festival?
To be screened at the Triple Six, was a huge honor for us; for Richard, for me, for Tony and Kerry, for my team also who were very proud of the European Premiere of Starfucker at the festival. The triple Six is a unique festival with a very high level. The selection was outstanding. I truly admire the work of Chris Barnes and Andy Deen. Chris and Andy are great professionals, great lovers of movies and horror movies. Their Slaughtered Bird and UK Horror Scene sites are exceptional and the first edition of the Triple Six shows the skill of a major festival. Chris and Andy will always have our support. I bet in a few years this festival will be one of the most important in Europe and will take the place left vacant by Avoriaz.
You can read full reviews of all screenings from this years Triple Six Festival here.