Tuesday, March 10, 2015

5 Questions with Filmmaker Nicole Renee Simmons


Bonnie Smith (@BonBonfaboo) put the work in this past Women in Horror Month by utilizing Twitter and Instagram to highlight women working in the horror genre she appreciates. One of those women was writer/filmmaker Nicole Renee Simmons.

California native (Oxnard specifically) and Los Angeles Film School graduate, Nicole has wasted no time developing her talents in the genre. She writes for Movie Pilot, hosts a horror web series, and has been a script supervisor on numerous projects, a production assistant, and a producer. Nicole is most recently taking up space in Studio City working hard on multiple projects and luckily, she was able to find the time to introduce herself to the Graveyard Shift Sisters community.

You talk about watching horror movies with your mom growing up. What were some of your favorite movies to watch with her and which ones had an impact on your career goals?

Yes, well my grandfather (Papa) would always watch Jeepers Creepers when I was about 6, or 7. That was one of his favorites, and once he passed when I was 7, it was one of the first movies my mother and I sat down and watched together. She watched horror films with my Papa her whole life and I proceeded to do the same with her. A Nightmare on Elm Street was next introduced to me along with the rest of the franchise, and that was it for me. Wes Craven’s direction, along with Robert Englund’s extreme character acting was everything to me and still is. Wes Craven for sure is my inspiration: ANOES (A Nightmare On Elm Street), The Hills Have Eyes, Scream, all of his films in one way or another speak to me, or inspire me to get up and shoot. 

There's a recent article you've written that was published about horror remakes.  What horror remake are you looking forward to seeing in 2015 and how does it fit in your criteria of "need and reason"?

My posting on Movie Pilot was on horror remakes and I mentioned It, Cabin Fever, Friday The 13th, and The Poltergeist. However in the article I claimed all of them unnecessary except Poltergeist. Then shortly after, the statement saying the Poltergeist remake will be more of a kid’s movie was released. Which of course switched my whole opinion on it, even though I know I’ll be seeing it. I’m sticking to my original opinion on all remakes, meaning if it’s not going to be enhanced visually, or made into an even more “terrifying horror film”, then why do it? 

I had a difficult go at trying to phrase a question around being a Black woman horror fan who is working to develop her own horror films. I'm wondering if you imagine if being a Black woman can bring forth some fresher perspectives in the realm of the genre and what has been your experience?

Yes, my first years giving this whole film thing a go, I had no idea. I wasn’t clueless; I just hadn’t experienced anything that necessarily pointed out me being different. The horror community is not just all guys first off. So I didn’t really feel the difference of gender until I started actually shooting. My crew was mostly men except for cast; the other directors of the genre were men. And then as I continued my education on to business entertainment, reality sunk in that I was extremely different. And not just in my specific genre, but my industry alone. There are a few black writers and directors in the film industry and even less in the horror film genre. 

 

I can’t necessarily say that because of my gender or race that I have a fresher perspective, but I can say my young age definitely brings a fresher approach to the genre. I know the content I’ve written and the films I plan to shoot aren’t like the horror films I’ve seen before. My content confuses, frightens, and makes the audience question themselves.
 
What horror film or franchise, television series, novel, or other art form are you indulging your fandom in at the moment?

The horror films I was really impressed with and happen to be obsessed with are The Babadook and Jessabelle. I had the privilege of seeing them both in theaters and it was quite the experience. Kevin Greutert I think did a really awesome job with the tone and the direction of the film. There were so many twist and turns. I remember thinking “What could really happen next?” And Jennifer Kent the writer and director of The Babadook did amazing as well. Her camera angles and movement were really in synch with the tone and eeriness of the film. All the POV shots in that film were so effective as well.

What will your upcoming web series, The Only Thing To Fear be about?

The Only Thing To Fear will be my vlog series. I will be covering upcoming films, horror topics, comments the audience has, and even horror events and locations. It’s a really fun way to share my crazy passionate obsession for horror with other fans. I love connecting with die-hard fans as well, so the executive of the show threw the idea at me since I blog anyways, and now I have a show. I’m really excited about this opportunity, and I cannot wait to share it with everyone as soon as shooting and post-production is done.


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