Scaretissue is proud to present Lou Simon, writer and director of the films The Awakened and Hazmat. She’s the founder of White Lotus Productions, and is currently working on the film Agoraphobia (which begins filming in June).
According to her biography on whitelotusmovies.com:
“When other little girls were playing with dolls, Lou was writing scary stories and putting on haunted houses in her parents garage.
Lou studied creative writing at the University of Florida, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she started writing screenplays. Since then, she has written [sixteen] screenplays. She also started directing with her first features The Awakened and HazMat. Other features are in various stages of development.
With The Awakened, Lou joined a very small group of female horror writer/directors. She has already begun work on her next features: Fear the Reaper, Agoraphobia and All Girls Weekend.
Lou is a graduate of New York University School of Law.”
You can follow Ms. Simon and White Lotus Productions on Facebook (WhiteLotusMovies) and on Twitter (@whitelotusmovie), or get the latest news on www.whitelotusmovies.com. Hazmat is out on DVD, and will be available on Redbox April 29th.
How did you go from graduating law school to being a horror film writer/director?
Lou: I started out wanting to write novels, but as graduation was looming, I realized that there are not a lot of writer jobs out there. Like a lot of people, I convinced myself that law school was a good alternative that would give me some life experience to write about. However, law is the least creative profession you can imagine, and the stress sucked out every bit of creativity out of me. After many years of not writing, I helped someone rewrite a script, and I realized that screenwriting is so much easier for me than trying to write a novel. That was in 2010, since then, I’ve written about sixteen scripts. Directing came only after I decided to make my movies. When you don’t have the budget to hire a director, you have to do it yourself. Now, I really like it as well.
As a horror writer, what is your favorite genre to tackle?
Lou: I love everything that is supernatural. Even “HazMat,” which most people would label a slasher, has a supernatural angle to it. Whether it’s ghosts or demonic possessions, I love that characters are at such a disadvantage when the antagonist is supernatural. How do you stop something that can’t be killed?
Hazmat was an interesting take on slasher films as there aren’t many found footage slasher entries. Tell us a little bit about your inspiration for the film, and why you didn’t commit fully to it being found footage (which, in my opinion, was quite genius).
Lou: Thanks for that. When I first wrote the script, I didn’t know what the ultimate budget would be, so I wrote it so that the whole thing could be found footage if it needed to be. However, once we raised enough money so that it didn’t have to be done that way, I kept the parts that only worked as POV shots. I like found footage films, but I’ve discovered that I am sensitive to too much camera movement. I get nauseous watching films that are entirely done that way. Besides, there comes a time that you are taken out of the story, because you can’t believe that anyone would keep filming when they’re running for their lives.
Hazmat has made its rounds internationally on the festival circuit. What is the festival circuit like, and do you have any advice about taking a film on tour?
Lou: Film festivals are nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. They are an absolute must for indie filmmakers though. There’s no other way for your film to get exposure. We were very lucky to have found representation and distribution very early on with “HazMat” so it took a lot of the pressure off. I would advise filmmakers to start approaching sales reps and distributors at the same time as you’re submitting for film festivals. Festival submissions can get very expensive, so the earlier you can find distribution, the less pressure to keep submitting.
Your company (White Lotus Productions) has quite a few films upcoming this year. What project is monopolizing your time right now?
Lou: Right now, we’re in pre-production on “Agoraphobia,” which begins principal photography in June. Once again, it’s a supernatural/psychological thriller about a woman who suffers from agoraphobia so she can’t leave her home, but then discovers that her house is haunted. Of course, since she is already a little crazy, nobody believes her. We are very excited to have Tony Todd on board on “Agoraphobia.” He will play the psychiatrist to our main character, Faye. Who better than Tony to help someone get over their fears, right?