"Jennifer’s Bodies is a roving annual festival of female-helmed horror movies and part of Women In Horror Recognition Month, an international assortment of affiliated events organised partly to highlight just how much women can and do contribute to the genre outwith the typically accepted factors of tits, ass and mezzosoprano screaming." Starburst Magazine

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Blast from the Past - An Interview with Tyrrell Shaffner - Threnody!

Name of Short - Threnody
Running Time - 11 minutes
Year of Completion - 2009
Location of Shooting - Los Angeles, California
Director - Tyrrell Shaffner 

What inspired you to make this short in particular?

In my mid-twenties, I was surrounded by musicians living on the East Side of Los Angeles and dated a few lead singers in my day (my "musicians phase"). Deep inside, I was pretty lonely, and thought that the city was filled with vampires. Or that maybe I was a vampire, who would never find love.

Is this the first short that you have worked on and if not, what other work have you done before this?

I directed the short film "Different" as my USC undergraduate thesis film. "Different" is a teen comedy set in a parallel universe where gay is the norm and straight is taboo. It screened at 40 film festivals worldwide, won the Jury Prize at Rhode Island International Film Festival, and has been translated into three languages on four different DVD compilations.

What are you working on next?

I have written the feature length version of "Threnody" and am working on getting it made. The short story has been expanded; the feature is about three female vampires who have a feast of modern day Los Angeles until one of them falls in love.

Both the short and the feature are love/hate letters to a very complicated city. However, the feature is much more of a love letter!

Name one woman who you would just absolutely love to work with and why?!

That is a good question. One I've never been asked! I would love to work with Film Producer Lynette Howell. She has great taste, and just exudes an easy, breezy confidence and intelligence.

If you could choose one person, living or dead, who would choose to work with on your ideal project?

I would want Phillip Glass to write the soundtracks to all my films.

Are you going to be doing anything special to celebrate Women in Horror Month this year?

I hope that I can but I am starting a new job as a producer on a dance project and will be working insanely hard. I will definitely work in watching some female directed horror films.

Random question – if you had to recommend one TV show that you think people just HAVE to watch, what would you recommend!?!

The first season of "Twin Peaks"!

What's your favourite film from the past year? (Doesn't have to be horror!)

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" hands down. The director, Rupert Wyatt, did an amazing film, "The Escapist," in 2009, which had a DVD release in the US. I am not surprised he made such a satisfying Hollywood film. I also loved "Bridesmaids", which I found to be very inspiring as a female filmmaker.  There are so many more female centric stories that need to be told!

Threnody is a wonderful take on all the people who try to make it in the city of dreams that would be L.A. I am so happy that it is now part of I HATE L.A. It truly feels like it was made to be part of it the whole time! What was it like meeting up with Elisabeth Fies and the rest of the I HATE L.A. ladies?

I heard about Bleedfest via a group I belong in LA and submitted my film. Lis and Brenda Fies called me personally to invite the film to the festival, where it later won the audience award. Lis and Brenda are such great women and so supportive. It's been a pleasure to get to know them.

And as it turned out, they were finishing up "I Hate LA" and "Threnody" fit perfectly into their collection of short films about LA being fucked up and scary. Talk about being on the same wavelength! 

The Fies sisters shot footage to incorporate my short into the larger whole of the feature, and even used Amy Cale Peterson from "Threnody" in the final scene of "I Hate LA," which I won't spoil here.

Were you a Buffy fan? ;)

I loved the original film but wasn't an avid follower of the television film. I've always been more of film person.

When watching Threnody, I totally didn't want it to end. Have you everything considered expanding it into a feature film?

I am all over it! See above :)

If you could live anywhere else in the world other than L.A., where would you love to live?

I moved around a lot as a kid and lived in Northern California, Nebraska, Virginia, Seattle and London. I've lived in LA by far the longest and consider it my home. I guess if I could live anywhere, and let me take some liberty here, anytime, I would live in Berlin during the Weimar Republic era in the 1920s. There were so many amazing things going on - Fritz Lang, Bertol Brecht, Marlene Dietrich (pictured right), Bauhaus, the list goes on and on. (Oooh, amazing answer...I freakin' LOVE Berlin!!!)

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