Saturday, June 16, 2012

From Grindhouse to Body Modification

 "Canadian writers and directors Jen and Sylvia Soska are known as the Twisted Twins among the horror circuit. Their debut release “Dead Hooker in a Trunk” (2009) was hugely successful as an appreciation to grindhouse cinema; but for their second feature “American Mary” they have gone for a different approach dealing with the fascinating world of underground surgery and body modification. These talented twins have brought a unique and stylish vision to modern, horror film-making and encourage others to get out there and create something that inspires you! In this detailed interview Jen and Sylvia discuss their approaches to film-making, how they dealt with representing a serious subject for their latest film, fan appreciation, Cannes, feminism, influences of Asian and European cinema, doing their own stunts and much more!" -Hayley Alice Roberts

I very clearly remember being in my early twenties, as Jen was - having an identical twin means you share your life from the beginning with someone who will have a lifetime of in-jokes and experiences to share with you, and not knowing where we are going to go from here. After attempting to make an acting career for ourselves since childhood and having a resume that sporting more piece of ass than substance roles, we desperately needed a change.

That need for a change led to the multi-collaborative GRINDHOUSE to inspire us to make our own piece of grind house homage, DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK. Five years from that original first faux trailer to the final region release by IFC Midnight this past January and more than ten years since we first learned about body modification which was a world we always wanted to introduce more people to and we have been given that opportunity with AMERICAN MARY as you will see in this very in depth and thoughtful interview with the incredibly lovely, Hayley Alice Roberts.

The film’s theme depicts a world of underground surgery, what sort of research did you have to do in order to portray this?  
S: It’s very important to Jen and me to have honesty in our work, it makes it more relatable even in a fantastical situation like filmmaking. The underground surgeries, the procedures and body modification community is very real. They don’t stop being who they are after the film is finished and given that this is one of the first films, if not the first feature film, to put that culture into the spotlight, we wanted to properly represent them. I think too often people make judgements without really looking into what or who they are talking about and I didn’t want that to happen in this situation.  
We brought members of the community onto the production. Russ Foxx was our flesh artist consultant and him and Katie went through different techniques to keep it genuine. We mixed the phenomenal prosthetics from the Masters FX team with authentic members of the body mod community, so you’re never really sure if you’re seeing something real or something created. From my experience, I’m a huge fan of the body mod community and the people in that community. I think the film is going to change a lot of people’s ideas of what these people are actually like.  
J: We wouldn’t be able to write something without researching it heavily. We spoke to the community and I’ve had so many conversations with Russ Foxx, who was wonderful. I felt like a bit of an idiot with the things I’d ask about, but he was always a gentleman, occasionally reacting with a little laugh, and always a deep, thoughtful explanation.

In the last few years, I feel like I've aged fifty. Jen and I have learned so much about the industry and enough to know that there are several lifetimes of knowledge we still have to learn. I am very grateful of the opportunity to not only create stories that mean something to us, but also to make stories about fantastic individuals that are not usually properly represented in main stream culture.

Click here for the entire rad interview with Hayley Alice Roberts and us. Thank you so kindly to Hayley for taking the time to chat with us about our work and the upcoming film - we had a blast. I hope you guys enjoy reading the piece as much as we did being a part of it!


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