1428 Elm continues its coverage of women in horror with director/writer/producer/actress Jessie Seitz. Her newest film, ‘Devotion’, is now available for pre-order.
Photo Courtesy of Jessie Seitz
We were fortunate enough to sit down with Jessie Seitz, the busy director of the upcoming film, Devotion. Starring Linnea Quigley and Haley Jay Madison, the film is available for pre-order on Indiegogo. Join us as we discuss all things indie and making a horror film with a genre legend.
1428 Elm: How did you become fascinated with horror? Did it happen at an early age?
Jessie Seitz: I was raised in a religious household and horror movies were a big-time no-no when I was growing up. Because they were forbidden, I was fascinated with them. Any chance I would get to sneak in a movie at my babysitter’s house or my grandmother’s I was all about that.
1428 Elm: We all have our favorite films. What was the “one” for you?
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Jessie Seitz: ‘Halloween’ had a huge impact on me. I didn’t see this film until I was 14 years old. I remember being so terrified when Jamie Lee Curtis was being stalked in the daytime. It stuck in my head and still freaks me out to this day when I watch it.
The second film was Abel Ferrara’s ‘Miss 45.’ It isn’t a horror film. It is an exploitation movie. It was very empowering for me to see a woman get back at the world. Both of these films have influenced the scripts that I write.
1428 Elm: Have you modeled your career after anyone? If you could pick a mentor who would it be?
Jessie Seitz: My greatest mentor and I haven’t modeled my career after him but he has been a big influence is Jim Van Bebber. I worked with him on my short, ‘Five.’ His realness, his ability to work within a limited budget really meant a lot to me.
The fact that it took him years to make ‘The Manson Family’ which was a beautiful film and he stuck with it, is a source of inspiration. However, our films are very different from each other.
1428 Elm: How did you and Jim meet?
Jessie Seitz: When I write my scripts I already have the characters in my head. Before I had written ‘Five,’ I watched a documentary on ‘The Manson Family’ disc called ‘The Van Bebber Family’ and Jim really struck me as a person in that. Of course, I was impressed with his acting in ‘Diary of a Deadbeat.’ There was something in that interview that was very relatable.
I had him in mind the entire time to play a specific part in ‘Five.’ It was back in the days of My Space and I just decided I was going to hunt him down. I sent him a message and I didn’t hear anything back. On his page, I noticed he had a clip from a movie posted so I tracked down the production company.
I told them I wanted to get a hold of him that I had a part for him with money attached so I would sound legit. As it turns out, I knew a girl named Heidi who was assisting Jim at the time.
The production company messaged Heidi and she told me that Jim was interested in speaking with me. I had an instant rapport with him. We both grew up in the Midwest, we totally got where the other was coming from and he agreed to do my project.
The part in ‘Five’ was not the usual character that he plays. He wasn’t a dirt ball. He was this nice, misunderstood Midwestern man.