Featured image: Lora Burke in Motherly. (Courtesy of Horror Collective.)
In Craig David Wallace’s Motherly, Kate (Lora Burke) and her daughter Beth (Tessa Kozma) live in an isolated farmhouse in the woods. The atmosphere is quickly eerie; like doors being left open when Kate swears she’s closed them… Then, Kate slowly thinks something sinister is happening, and her motherly instincts are put to the test when people from her past invade her home.
For Motherly, I was able to ask the film’s director and co-writer Craig David Wallace some questions via e-mail in time for the film’s screening tonight on the Super Channel (at 9 p.m.) as part of the Blood in the Snow Film Festival.
Find that Q+A directly below:
Daniel Prinn, Filmcraziest.com: Can you talk about how you and writing partner Ian Malone came up with the idea for this film?
Craig David Wallace: We wanted to write a low-budget horror movie that we could get off the ground quickly, and eight years later we finally got to make it! It started as a sort-of “stalker” movie and then it evolved a lot over the years.
DP, Filmcraziest.com: Okay, cool. For co-writing, can you talk about both of your duties and how the work is kind-of split?
Craig David Wallace: We started by trading a lot of ideas back and forth, and then turning those ideas into an outline, and then from there, each writing a section and passing it back. Over the years, we’d each take a pass of rewriting the script. It was never “you take this character and I’ll take this one.”It’s not like we were continuously working on it over eight years, some years we barely touched it as it was going out to producers.
DP, Filmcraziest.com: I didn’t watch the trailer and only knew the synopsis on IMDb, with “something sinister” sounding like the jumping off for a paranormal film. Were you hoping to subvert expectations of something paranormal with what you’ve created here?
Craig David Wallace: We liked the idea of subtly setting the movie up as a ghost story, which is where all the talk of the farmhouse being haunted came from. Of course, most people will see the trailer and read the synopsis first.
DP, Filmcraziest.com: At one point, I wasn’t sure if the husband would be kind-of haunting the family, with hovering trauma. I enjoyed that unpredictability and not knowing where it was going. Were there any other story directions you guys entertained?
Craig David Wallace: It was always about the parents of the murdered kids showing up, but there were a lot of different versions. One was mostly set in the suburbs, there were multiple murdered kids and multiple parents working together seeking revenge, but the core story was always there.
DP, Filmcraziest.com: I was taking a look at your filmography and spotted Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, which you co-create and direct some episodes. I remember that being great… What was your favourite part of making that project?
Craig David Wallace: It was a really great show with a great cast and crew. We had a lot of creative freedom.
DP, Filmcraziest.com: That animated sequence that Beth watches on TV at one point, was that from Todd and the Book of Pure Evil?
Craig David Wallace: That was the Todd Animated Movie.
DP, Filmcraziest.com: As well, I saw you’ve directed some episodes of The Beaverton, so what’s it like directing comedy instead of horror?
Craig David Wallace: I wish I had something really nifty to say, but really I just try to get the comedy to make me laugh, and try to get the horror to freak me out. It’s really subjective.
DP, Filmcraziest.com: What was your average shot list in a day for this film?
CDW: That’s a hard one. We had a really small crew and we moved really fast, so I never felt we weren’t getting enough footage. I really can’t remember how many shots a day we got.
DP, Filmcraziest.com: Can you talk both about casting Lora Burke as the mother, Kate, and Tessa Kozma as Beth, the daughter? Did they get to do any screen tests together?
Lora had worked with our producer Avi before and he was really enthusiastic about having her play Kate. Casting Tessa was a miracle, finding a non-union child actor with that level of talent. Right from her audition tape we new she was Beth. We did an in person casting session with Lora and Tessa performing some scenes, and they immediately felt like mother and daughter. Our whole cast was just fantastic and really brought the whole project to life.
Awesome, thank you so much Craig for taking the time to answer these questions.
If you miss Motherly tonight, the film will be available On Demand and On Digital on November 16 through Horror Collective.