Talking Mummies with Christine Parker
edited by Sam Kolesnik
Screen Fervor talks with independent film director, Christine Parker, about her latest feature film, Blood of the Mummy. Christine is also the festival director of Sick Chick Flicks Film Festival, a festival showcasing female-driven genre films in Cary, North Carolina.
You recently completed your fourth feature film, Blood of the Mummy, which premiered at MystiCon in Roanoke, Virginia. What inspired you to write and direct a mummy film?
Actually Blood of the Mummy is my fifth feature film. I've made The Forever Dead, Fistful of Brains, A Few Brains More, and Fix It In Post, along with more than a dozen short films. Originally I was looking for a short Poe story to go along with my film, Tell-Tale Heart Sisters, as part of a Poe anthology I was planning to do. Edgar Allan Poe had a little known mummy story that was really not his best work but I though it would work well as a short film. I have always loved mummy films so I was excited to make one of my own. Then, of course, we got funding to do a feature, so the story completely changed.
You had a local screening for Blood of the Mummy at the Cary Theater in North Carolina which was sold out. What was it like to have such immense support from the local community and what was the general reaction to the film?
Well it's always amazing to have a packed house! The audience was incredibly responsive during the film, as most of our audiences have been so far. It's wonderful to hear those reactions. You sit in front of your computer working on this thing for months on end and you think you've got something good, but when you hear the audiences respond so enthusiastically during the film, then you know! Everyone I've encountered afterwards has had lots of praise for our unique take on a mummy film. It makes my heart happy that everyone seems to be "getting" what I have done with the story.
You created a mummy feature with a very small budget. There had to be challenges. What was one of the larger obstacles that you faced completing Blood of the Mummy?
Honestly, this is by far the largest budget we've had on a feature film so far. Because we have been so used to working on a micro budget on our films, we were really able to make it go far with some creative choices on locations and sets, etc. This film came together so easily, it was like a dream! Really, the only difficult thing about making it was coordinating everyone's schedules since all of us have day jobs and could only shoot on weekends. And our fx people would say the mummy costume was quite a challenge!
What are your future plans for Blood of the Mummy and will there be a sequel?
Right now we just want to try to get it into as many festivals as possible and create some buzz. That will help us when we start looking at distribution in a year. I have plans to use an aggregator to distribute it online, but if we had a good distributor contact us and give us a good deal, I would definitely consider that as well. We also plan to do a small Blu-ray release. I would love to do a sequel if the stars align correctly. We've already discussed a possible story line if that happens.
In addition to writing and directing feature films, you run a film festival called Sick Chick Flicks Film Festival in North Carolina. How do you balance film festival operations with your own directing career?
It's a little challenging but we're a small festival so there's not a lot to balance there. I have a great team of people with the Sick Chicks who are there to back me up when needed. Also the Cary Theater, where we hold it, is incredibly supportive.
What is some advice you can offer aspiring film directors?
Don't second guess yourself out of making your film. Don't wait for that million dollar budget. And don't be afraid to make a bad film. Just do it!
Do you have any upcoming film projects? Where can fans stay updated on your work?
We have a few irons in the fire now. I currently have a script fermenting in my brain for Edgar Allan Poe's “Mask of the Red Death”. So we are still planning to do that Poe anthology. It will be a retelling of the story with some steampunk elements thrown in and a bit of a Dr. Phibes vibe going on. The ladies of Sick Chicks are also all working on some short 5-minute scripts that each of them will direct. So far they've come up with some good stuff, so I think that's going to be a really fun project! Everyone can find all the latest on what we're doing on our website, on our film’s Facebook page, and on Twitter by following @sickchickflicks.