On Feb. 23, Sunshine Landmark Cinema hosted the premiere of the new indie movie, Ava’s Possessions. It’s a genre bending film about a girl who was possessed for a month (losing all memories of her life during that period of time), and somehow has to figure out how to piece her life back together afterwards. The movie first premiered at SXSW last year. Check out our exclusive interview with the writer-director, Jordan Galland, and Louisa Krause, who plays Ava, below.
The Knockturnal: So tell us about your movie! What compelled you to write it and direct it?
Jordan Galland: I’ve always been a fan of exorcist films, so it took me a little while to find an original way into this, but I knew if I wanted to work in the genre, I had to do something a little bit different. So that’s why it’s about a girl recovering from demonic possession rather than the build up to being possessed. So the movie opens with the exorcism where most of those movies sort of end. And I’m just a fan of those type of movies, like Rosemary’s Baby and sort of older 70s’ possession movies.
TK: Normally, possession movies aren’t comedic.
JG: Yeah, my last two movies are actually more comedic. This is more of a mix, creepier, scarier, but there’s an inherent awkward dark humor to the scenes of you know, a girl who doesn’t remember what happened to her—and then the priest tells her that she was possessed. And then she has to confront her family and friends and they’re all very—they keep her at a distance. You know, her mom has an eyepatch, her dad has scratches on his neck. There’s certainly a creepy sadness to it, but it’s funny as well. And then, the idea of just having a recovery group that’s kinda like AA for people who have been possessed, that just kind of followed naturally once I had the concept, the original concept. And that, there’s a lot of humor to that idea. But we approached it very straight, without trying to chase the joke, it just sort of happened.
TK: Did your cast bring anything to the table that you didn’t expect? What changed once you really got it on its feet?
JG: The actors are great, and I definitely in the cast process tried to find people that I could really rely on when it’s like crunch time when we’re filming, so there was a lot open to their ideas and lines that they come up with and that type of thing. It was a low budget film, we shot it in 18 days, so there was very, very little time to make sure that something would fit the script if it didn’t. A location that we got could often determine what was gonna happen in the scene.
TK: Was the script very loose?
JG: Yeah, I mean to some degree. It was my third film, so I kind of knew how…I knew what to expect. My other movies were very similar shoot schedules, so this time around I knew a little bit more of what I could work with and what I can’t. It wasn’t loose in the sense…it was a very solid script. But I think having it be that solid allowed it to let us just use it as a blueprint when we were in battle.
The Knockturnal: So what attracted you to this project?
Louisa Krause: The story. It picks up from a young woman’s life right after the exorcism. I thought that would be fun, that would be fun to do! That has never been done before! Let me bite into that.
TK: Have you been in other horror-exorcist type of movies?
LK: Not any exorcist films, but I did just recently do…it just came out called the Abandoned, which was a horror film. This is more of a genre…actually mystery driven, and I loved that I was playing this Nancy Drew character who’s trying to piece her life back together. And also just the style of the film was so cool.
TK: It sounds like the hangover but for exorcisms.
LK: Yeah, yeah! And it just looks so neat, you know. I was telling Jordan, it looks kind of like those Lisa Frank trapper keepers! I would have been a fan girl of this movie in my youth, I would have thought Ava was so cool and I would have wanted to be her. It was fun to play a sort of strong female character trying to piece her life back together. I could really grab onto that.
TK: What do you like about this movie that’s different?
LK: I think demons are sexy. There’s a sexy side to them.
TK: This movie exploits the sexy side.
LK: Yeah it was fun. It was totally fun to be a demon. To go in that direction. I should have done my homework and given you a good logline, but I promise you will have a good time. You will be entertained.
Following the screening, guests headed over to The Mockingbird Bar for tacos and SVEDKA cocktails. The film hits theaters March 4.