Jessie Seitz: Interviewing A Fledgling Filmmaker With True ‘Devotion’

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Photo Courtesy of Jessie Seitz

1428 Elm: Who has influenced your style as a director?

Jessie Seitz: The Italian directors. Dario Argento. I love his daughter Asia Argento’s films as well. Her ‘Scarlet Diva’ is amazing, tragic and beautiful. I like slow moving abstract directors.

1428 Elm: Jump scares or slow burns?

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Jessie Seitz: Jump scares and cheap shots bore me. I like gore and I appreciate it but at this time in my life, it’s hard to gross me out. I love psychological horror.

The movie ‘Darling’ is beautiful. There is hardly any dialogue, it’s very methodical and it builds. It was good to see a newer movie do that, it was very scary and interesting. I like using my imagination.

1428 Elm: What is your directorial debut, ‘Devotion’ about?

Jessie Seitz: A young woman is very disillusioned with her marriage. She feels she got married too young and that she and her husband have grown apart as people. Her best friend committed suicide and she begins to see connections between her friend and a mysterious filmmaker who is missing and off the radar.

She digs a little further and she ends up in Decatur where she uncovers this really weird cult that her friend was involved in with the director. She finds herself getting sucked in to this world.

1428 Elm: What is Linnea Quigley’s role in the film?

Jessie Seitz: The character of the director in the movie had a girlfriend that wound-up dead. The love story between the director and this girl becomes an obsession for the main character. Linnea plays the older sister of the girlfriend.

She reveals some horrifying things to the main character played by Haley Jay Madison. Basically, she is a small town burn out who got a lot of attention from her sister’s death and she sort of profited off of a family tragedy. Linnea was really great in this role.

1428 Elm: This was your directorial debut. How were you able to convince Linnea to be in your film? How did you sell this film to her?

Photo Courtesy of Jessie Seitz

Jessie Seitz: Victor was very close to Linnea so he put in the introductions. He really talked me up to her. Linnea is very much into promoting women directing and writing especially in the horror genre. I had a phone conversation with her and I laid out the story for her. What intrigued her about ‘Devotion’ was that it wasn’t a role that she normally plays.

I didn’t have anything crazy for her to do like sex scenes, etc. I just wanted her ability as an actress. She just really responded to it. I’m really lucky that she took a chance on me.

1428 Elm: How were you able to afford her?

Jessie Seitz: I set aside a good portion of the budget for her. You have to provide logistics, hotel, her flight, etc. I told my investors, people are going to want to see this movie if Linnea is in it.

We needed a name to attach to the film so people will seek it out. When you are working with micro-budgets you have to make sure it gets up on the screen as much as possible.

1428 Elm: Was it hard obtaining financing for the film?

Jessie Seitz: In the past, I hustled to get investors. Now I am fortunate to have an investor that I have worked with before and I also put up some of my own money.

1428 Elm: Do you have any advice for a director or screenwriter that has a particular property for a celebrity on how to approach them?

Jessie Seitz: Be very real with the celebrity. Let them know what the conditions are like and what the budget is like. Don’t lead them to think you have stuff that you don’t. You have to be willing to be rejected.

In my experience, people are super receptive. If you are humble about where you are coming from and show them that you want them in your project for a specific reason, that makes all the difference. Doing research ahead of time and understanding where people are at in their careers saves you a lot of heartache.

1428 Elm: Are you and Linnea going to be doing any publicity for Devotion?

Photo Courtesy of Jessie Seitz

Jessie Seitz: I am looking at doing some Cons with our lead actress, Haley Jay Madison. There are no formal plans to do any talks. We haven’t submitted it to festivals yet. We’re doing things on our own right now.

I do want to do the festival circuit. ‘Devotion’ is a weird movie. I have to be pretty selective with it. I need to target festivals that aren’t looking for conventional films. So, I am doing research in to festivals that have more art house fare.

1428 Elm: Thanks for sitting down with us Jessie. We appreciate you taking the time to speak with us.

Jessie Seitz: You’re welcome! I enjoyed the conversation.

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Guys, was that freaking fantastic of what!? If you’re looking for quaility horror and to help a fledging filmmaker, help support Devotion on Indiegogo. You’ll be glad you did.

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