SHE NEVER DIED being one of my favorite films of 2019 I had to reach out and talk to the director Audrey Cummings about her monumental film. Because the film is playing tonight at the Blood in The Snow Film Festival tonight (tickets here) before a Canadian theatrical release December 6th I asked the people at Blood in the Snow to see if Ms Cummings would answer some questions via email. What follows is the result.
STEVE: How did you end up connected to this project?
AUDREY: The success of the film He Never Died starring Henry Rollins led the team to decide that they wanted to produce another film in the larger world that Jason Krawczyk had created. This next film would introduce us to Lacey, another fallen angel doomed to immortality on Earth. It’s a strong female driven film so they brought me on to direct it because of the success of my previous films. I fell in love with the script because every character was so incredibly complex and compelling.
STEVE: Jason Krawczyk wrote the earlier film HE NEVER DIED. How connected is this film to the earlier one?
AUDREY: We’re calling it a sister film because it takes place in the same mythological world as He Never Died with fallen angels and an impending apocalypse, but ultimately the stories are independent of one another. You don’t have to have seen one to understand the other - though they are both worth seeing.
STEVE: I am very curious about the mythology behind the events in the film. Knowing th legends that this comes from I did an "oh wow" when we found out who Lacey is.(I am not saying lest anyone who hasn't seen the film read this) Were you aware of all of the stories before you made the film?
AUDREY: I knew a bit about who Lacey is, but I had to do lots of research to get a full grasp on her. She really is a very interesting biblical figure; strong willed and independent, and ultimately punished for it.
STEVE: How involved were you in shaping the story?
AUDREY: Incredibly involved. The story takes on new shape once I start casting the roles of each character, then it takes on more shape once I start designing the sequences and figure how I’m going to shoot them. Then you have to be able to communicate your vision to every other key person working on the film. Then while shooting there are a million fires to put out and decisions to make that further affect the story. And then in postproduction - it takes on a whole other new level of shape. It’s an incredibly laborious process but when it all pulls together as well as this film did – it makes it all worthwhile.
STEVE: The backstory of everyone and everything is not forced front and center-indeed its not really until toward the end that we really get a sense that all of this is something more than simply supernatural. (Frankly this is one of the truly great turns of the film we have to piece together what it all means and the rules of the world) How important was it you not to overly explain everything at every turn?
AUDREY: I think the audience out there is incredibly intelligent and well versed in story telling. If you over explain things then there is nothing left for them to solve or figure out. For me the joy of watching a good movie is that it keeps me thinking and therefore actively engaged in what’s happening. And those movies affect me the most!
STEVE: While the entire cast is excellent the real stand out is Olunike Adeliyi who gives one of the great performance of the year. How did she come into the project?
AUDREY: Yes the entire cast did such a fantastic job. They all brought so much to the table and I fell in love with each and every one of them. I had already worked with Olunike on my previous feature film Darken. She is such a powerhouse actress who can tap into both her soft and vulnerable emotions and then turn around and be incredibly tough and fierce. I knew without a doubt that she would kill it. I called her up and she was on a hot beach in Jamaica. I asked her to leave paradise and come join me in cold northern Canada so we could make another movie together. And thankfully she did!
STEVE: Is there going to be a sequel?
AUDREY: There is no talk of it at this point – but you never know!