-What was the genesis of The Seventh Moon?
EDUARDO SANCHEZ- Well, I had an idea about staying locally. I live in Maryland, in a rural area, and I wanted to make a film around here, basically a small town story with limited characters and a very low budget. But I couldnt come up with anything dangerous. Everytime I went to the country, I thought, I dont wanna do rednecks, kkk, zombies, any of that stuff, so it kinda died, because I couldnt find the creature I needed. Then a filmmaker friend of mine wanted to make a film in China, to see if I could come up with anything to make in China on a budget.
-What was the productions relationship to Ghost House?
ES- It was a completely independent film that we shot for low budget in Hong Kong. We completely finished the film and it premiered at Fantastic Fest, which is a great festival, by the way. We got multiple offers, but Ghost House was the right place. We liked what they did with their great films, we loved the idea of being involved with Sam Raimi. We were all greatly influenced by The Evil Dead.
-Most DTV titles tend to lean in a horror genre direction. What dimension do DTV movies bring to the horror film?
ES- I think that generally speaking, horror films do better on video than in theaters. Most make money in theaters, and some of them fall through the cracks, but most of them find their audience once again on DVD for the most part. A lot of genres are like this, certain movies are a little too esoteric for theaters than on DVD. For us, regarding audiences watching the movie, we would have liked to have a theatrical release, but were just happy to get the film out there. The best way to watch it is to watch it at home with some people over. The Blair Witch Project was originally developed for home video, and it kinda blew up, and we still think its best served seeing it at home. Unless you have Brad Pitt or a big name director its really hard to get theatrical. A movie like this on DVD, it becomes a lot more lucrative. It works as a business model really. For our next film whether were aiming for theatrical or not, for theatrical its important to get a distributor involved early on. Its very difficult for indie films to get wide theatrical distribution, often its a one in a million shot. My thing is, as long as I can keep making films and people keep watching them, Im fine.
-How did you cast the film?
ES- I always wanted to work with Amy Smart. We tried to get her in my previous film, and I always wanted to work with her, so I met her in LA, and she was very down to earth, we offered her a role and she accepted. Tim Chiou, we cast in the US through a casting director. Dennis Chan was cast out of Hong Kong, we thought it would be easier than casting someone out of the US. I showed Amy some of my favorite actors, and she really liked him. She thought it would be very realistic they would be married, that there was a spark there. Tim, I thought was great, he brought a goofy edge to the duo that I really liked. The most challenging thing was casting all the creatures. Its kind of the Asian society, the Asian norms, people are more conservative over there than they are in the US. Finding fifteen guys to run around nearly completely naked was difficult, but once we picked the guys we liked, they were very enthusiastic. I feel bad for those guys, because its very cold in Hong Kong, and they were wearing very little clothing, but heavy makeup. But they brought so much energy to the roles.
-What happened after The Blair Witch Project, specifically with the Don Knotts project Heart of Love?
ES- The Don Knotts thing was kind of a joke, because we wrote Knotts into the script, and someone put it on IMDB, but there was a Heart of Love, we were gonna go balls to the wall and make a softcore snuff. We took it to Cannes and we presold the movie all over the world, and thats how we came up with the budget. For a bunch of different reasons including us getting so much money from Blair Witch, and Artisan being more interested in another Blair Witch, they held things up. You can imagine where we were after that movie. Our lives changed. The movie fell apart after two years of preproduction, we spent a lot of money pre-visualizing. After that I semi retired, I got married, had a kid, moved from Orlando to Maryland, and tried to have a normal life. Four or five years later I read a script called Probed, I sent it to Craig and Rob, my producers, and that became my second movie, Altered. Post-Blair Witch, we got so many offers from others studios, but we were so tired of Blair Witch, tired of those dark places, so we veered away from it. We probably should have taken a lot of money and made a terrible stupid movie, it would have been an experience. I have no regrets, Im happy where I am, and as long as I can make a living making films Ill be happy. Ill always have this ridiculous monkey on my back, Ill always have that to be proud of too. Even to this day people are still excited about that
-Whats your next project?
ES- Dan and I are talking about doing another Blair Witch project, but its pretty much out of our hands, so were coming up with an idea we can pitch to Lionsgate. Im working on a new script called Posession thats going to be low budget, back to basics, not completely like Blair Witch but similar, a small film with a few characters and really creepy ands scary, with a little bit of first person like in Blair Witch that pushes the boundaries of that technique. We did a goofy web series called paraabnormal.tv, its a web series. We spent $500, and its a comedy about ghost hunters. Were getting good reaction from that, and continuing to write scripts and hopefully the economy will get a little better.