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San Diego Filmmaker Gets World Premiere At Screamfest LA

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Screamfest LA kicks off a season of horror-themed film festivals tomorrow night. San Diego Filmmaker Pia Thrasher will see her short horror comedy "Things We Dig" have its world premiere on Oct. 13 at the festival's COVID-safe drive-in venue.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Tomorrow night scream Fest LA kicks off a season of horror film festivals for October this year, local San Diego filmmaker, Pia Thrasher will have her vampire comedy things. We dig receive its world premier at a scream Fest drive in event on October 13th, KPBS arts reporter, Beth haka. Amando talks with the filmmaker about her work PA

Speaker 2: 00:24 You and I share a love for horror. And for Halloween, this Halloween, though, you do have something to be excited about, which is the fact that you have made a film things we dig that has been accepted to a number of festivals. So tell me where you're going to be having your world premiere. Finally,

Speaker 3: 00:42 We finally do have one festival that does kind of a in person event, which well it's a drive in theater and it's going to be in, um, LA North separate lane, but nice for the screen Fest LA film festival, and it'll be making its world premier and we're super excited. I'm going to bring some cast and crew with me. It'll be a chance to see the film with a bunch of other horror fanatics. I'm really excited about it. We're going to have our, we actually have a real premier with a bunch of other really cool horror flicks. So that's yeah, finally, I'm glad we have that. Then there's going to be a few other, um, uh, there's going to be the horror house festival, which is later in October and we'll have also the Northern frites, which is in Canada and it'll be, uh, shown there.

Speaker 2: 01:37 Dig is a documentary. And I have to say it's probably influenced a little bit by what we do in the shadows, big time deals with vampires. So tell people a little bit about the story.

Speaker 3: 01:48 First saw what we do in the shadows. I just loved it. I loved the whole format, the whole idea about just a bunch of ordinary ordinary vampires living together and having to deal with regular life stuff. And it made me think, God, what would it be like for four female vampires with all their female issues or whatever you want to call it, living together and, um, and dealing with it now modern times because they have different ages. You know? So when I saw that movie, what we do in the shadows, I just had a few ideas and I started writing and I'm like, okay, I'm not going to make another film. No, but then I kept writing and finding more stuff and making myself kind of giggle. And I'm like, Oh my God, I need to do this. So, so I wrote a script back in 2016 for a w w would have been probably more like a 40 minute movie. And, uh, and then, you know, over four years been, cause we had all these problems with locations and everything and, and uh, then I got sick and all that stuff. So finally we filmed it and um, and then of course the TV show, what we do in the shadows came out and I was scared to watch it. I was like, Oh my God, what if there's stuff in there? That's in my short film. And, but it wasn't. So it's all good. It's all good. So, um, that's how it happened. And we're here now.

Speaker 2: 03:08 I'm going to play a little clip from the film just so people can get a feel for the flavor of it.

Speaker 4: 03:13 Uh, so, um, yeah. Do you, uh, have a favorite blood type favorite blood tap? No, but we have favorite victims. I like the ones that are out on the beach all day. Jog people are good. Ooh, nice buzz on those. Yeah. Drug surfer dudes. Do you surf fangs off girls

Speaker 2: 03:41 For full disclosure? I have to say that I contributed some coffins to your film. And I want you to talk a little bit about it because I gave you some very plain bland Pinewood coffins, and you have an amazing art director, production designer who dressed those up quite a bit.

Speaker 3: 04:00 Yeah. When, uh, when I was trying to get all my props together and I need, I knew I needed a coffin and I needed a child size coffin. I'm like, where am I going to get a child size coffin? And so of course I asked on Facebook and of course the first thing like Beth, hello. So I asked, you know, and you were like, you saved my day and you, I came over to your place and you had this firewood, um, child sized coffee. It was perfect, but it was very plain. So we knew we going to have to dress it up a little bit. So you gave me that and you gave me this really thick sheet, um, of, of, um, his cardboard is like probably an inch thick or so and says, you know, see what you can do with that and make a lid out of that.

Speaker 3: 04:45 And so I brought it all to my production designer. [inaudible] who is, if you're in the San Diego film industry here anywhere, you would know her because she's amazing. She's done so much stuff. Uh, she built the entire vampire coven, like the whole, their whole place in their house. So she basically took, this is coffin and created this amazing, uh, elaborate coughing with the lid that has so, so many, um, ornaments. And, and then she made it golden and then she aged it. And I don't even know how she did it, but she did layers of that cardboard sheet and somehow put it all together. And it's amazing. I still, I can get over it. It doesn't, it does not look like it's made out of cardboard. It looks like it's made out of some kind of an old metal, you know, and it's all shiny and golden and it's, it's incredible. I couldn't believe it's, she's amazing fell Sam Nicholson production designer. Extraordinary. All I can say it wouldn't look the same in honor.

Speaker 2: 05:52 What are some of the challenges of making a comedy like this, where you using a film

Speaker 1: 05:58 Crew within a film crew and trying to make it all feel spontaneous and what are some of the challenges of doing that and pulling it off?

Speaker 3: 06:06 It was hard because first of all, you have to find a balance of, of kind of creepy and humor. And it turned out to be a little bit more funny than creepy. I didn't want to do like just the found footage style. So we actually breaking a bunch of laws here where we're having found footage a little bit from the crew's point of view, but also a narrative camera that is just there to kind of capture everything. So we also wanted to leave it open for some improv here and there. Yeah. It was definitely not what I first imagined. Cause at first I wanted to have it kind of like what we do in the shadows, just constantly talking to cameras on, like, we didn't have that time. We had three days to feel milk.

Speaker 1: 06:50 And can you remember what got you interested in horror?

Speaker 3: 06:54 There wasn't really a specific moment. I think I didn't realize that gravitated towards the dark side until somebody pointed out to me that I'm like Wednesday Adams that I grew up like her and I'm like, what do you mean? And she said that, well, your dad made tombstones for a living and he had tombstones all over the front, you opened a backyard and all these graves, you know, things that you put on a grave like lights and the little water, Holy water containers. And this was in Germany. So, and I was like, yeah, you're right. I, I think to me it was always normal to deal with the dark side of the death unspoken. And we always had people come to my dad's house to talk about the funeral and the planning. And so I grew up with it and to me it was normal and I never liked romantic comedies because I thought they were just, they made me die. I couldn't take it. So I would go anything but that, and of course the natural reaction is the opposite. So which was usually the darker side. It made me think more and made me get into it. It made me focus on my own dark side. Cause we all have fun. Some suppress more than others. It's just not good for you. You have to let it out.

Speaker 1: 08:17 That was Beth Armando speaking with filmmaker, Pia Thrasher, her film things we dig has its world premiere at scream Fest LA on October 13th, you can look for Beth's fleeting appearance in the film as a creepy clown.

Speaker 5: 09:19 [inaudible].

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Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.