Saturday, 13 June 2015

Ayla, its Kickstarter and interview with the lovely Jennifer Lynn Warren

This week 5D was contacted by a couple of friends with some very interesting news of their latest film venture, AYLA and the newly launched crowdfunding campaign which has recently been released to support it. The message came from the redoubtable John Portonova, one member of the Seattle-based production company, The October people, who suggested that if I wasn't too busy I might be interested in the latest project that he and the company were co-producing. Too busy? Moi? Doing what I love (i.e forcing my self-indulgent nerdsims on the rest of the unsuspecting world) means I can always find time for even more self-indulgence. So of course I said to count me in & tell me more.

John went on to explain that he was contacting me because the crowdfunding  campaign for the a supernatural thriller Ayla, had gone live this just this week. He told me that he wanted to reach out to me to see if I'd be interested in talking with anyone involved with the film for 5D The Fifth Dimension. Of course John couldn't resist further tempting me by further mentioning that the film will boast a cast made up of established faces in the indie genre world and so he thought you might be interested in speaking with one or two of them too. The little minx, he knew I blooming would!

A little later that day I then received an email from another friend, Elias, who had directed the wonderful body-torture film GUT (2012) - my musings upon which for which can be found RIGHT HERE. Included in the email was the press release for Ayla....which can be read as follows

"Jennifer Lynn Warren. ("American Horror Story", "Creature") and Andrew Sensenig ("Powers", "Upstream Color") have joined the cast of the supernatural thriller "Ayla". Also on board are Tristan Risk ("American Mary", "The Editor"), Nicholas Wilder ("Gut"), Bill Oberst Jr. ("Resolution", "Scary or Die"), and Miles Joris-Peyrafitte ("Gut").

"Ayla" centers on Elton (Nicholas Wilder), a man haunted by the mysterious death of his 4-year-old sister, who brings her back to life thirty years later as an adult woman, with dire consequences. 

Elias ("Gut", "Dark") scripted and will direct. Matt Medisch, Jeremy Berg, and John Portanova of The October People ("Found", "The Device", "Valley of the Sasquatch") will produce in partnership with Clayface Pictures ("Dark"). 

Production is planned for this fall, with the film to be shot in Seattle and the surrounding areas"

Now I will be completely honest with you, amongst the list of familiar names to this blog, one name immediately triggered in my fevered little brain, slapped me in the face with a wet fish and downright demanded that I try and arrange an interview with them. But before I go on to that let me tell you just a little about the Kickstarter project that was launched just a few days ago.

The team are hoping to reach a target of $30,000 by the time the campaign finishes in a month or so's time. The contributions will be used to hire the cast and crew at an honest wage, secure locations, dress sets, rent production gear, cover FX costs, and enable many, many other necessities from the start of production all the way through post-production and distribution.

Like any Kickstarter movie campaign worth it's salt, there is a veritable feast of incentives & offers available for a wide range of backers. Though don't just take my word for it, at the time of writing this section (13th June) there have already been contributions of well over $2000. Check out the link just below to have a better look yourself at the Crowdfunding page.


Now, I wrote a few moments ago that one particular cast member caught my attentions. This happened for two reasons. Firstly; on her resume was an appearance in one of my favourite horror TV franchises of recent years - American Horror story (in her case, the 2nd series 'Coven'. The second reason for wanting to chat with her was due to part of her IMDB bio......see below for yourselves regarding the very lovely Jennifer Lynn Warren.

Jennifer Lynn Warren
"Born and raised in Altoona, Pennsylvania, Jennifer attributes her youthful appearance to her beautiful grandmother, Joan Keith. She got her degree in Theater from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a minor in dance. She has also obtained her certificate from the Society of American Fight Directors and is Proficient in Unarmed, Rapier & Dagger, and Quarterstaff. Jennifer's career soon took off in Hollywood south, where she made her premier in the film business before moving out to California".

Honest to god, I want to talk to any actress who is 'Proficient in Unarmed, Rapier & Dagger, and Quarterstaff!'

So with the redoubtable Mr Portanova as initial go-between, I was able to chat with actress Jennifer Lynn Warren. However, I not fully sure if she had any rapiers, daggers or Quaterstaffs on her person during the interview. 



Q) Before I ask you about your career and current project, Ayla, tell us a little about your background before you got into the 'business '. (as we business people say).

I am a jack of many trades. I’ve worked in computer repairs, production coordinating, Grip, Waitress, and I still train and work as a belly dancer. And as you’ve found out…


Q) A little birdie tells me you are something of a qualified stunt person. How excellent! Is this true?

I’ve got a some training, it’s true. I tend to be the one they call in when they need someone who is talented as an actor but also doesn’t need to be doubled with a stunt person. I even swam with real Alligators for the film Creature. I’ve also had a lot of training with swords and would love for that to play into a film someday. 


Q) You must get fed up of people asking you about your role as Borquita LaLaurie in American Horror Story: Coven....... So I'll ask you anyway! What are your abiding memories of appearing in what has become a modern iconic series?
American Horror Story: Coven

I remember my audition and my booking very vividly. I was a huge fan of the show, and I was working as an office PA for Dermaphoria. I thought, oh I’m never going to get this, and just went in, had fun, and went back to work. A few days later I got the call when I was on set passing out paychecks. I wasn’t allowed to tell a soul, and i had the stupidest grin on my face all day. When I started shooting I told my boss I couldn’t work on certain days, cause there’s an awesome thing happening, and I can’t tell you because of my NDA. It was good enough for them


Q) You became one UGLY Zombie in that show! How did you cope with the hours it must have taken to apply the zombie make-up?

Most of my call times were at 4am, and the crew’s call time was at 8am. So by the time everyone else got there, Christopher Nelson and I had already been working what for most people is a half day. Of course, he was doing all this amazing craftsmanship while I just stayed as still as possible. Applying the makeup was easy, but keeping it intact through the day by being meticulous how we ate and drank and not really being allowed to touch anything was the challenge.


Q) Again, I'm sure you've been asked a thousand times about working with Kathy Bates, but again  I'll ask anyway! Did you feel intimidated before filming your scenes with her?

I was nervous until the director (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon) said action. After that, it was so easy. When you are surrounded by artists at the top of the game, doing your job is simple. Kathy Bates is a super sweet, wonderful and very kind woman. I simply adored working with her. 


Q) How familiar were you before being cast in Ayla with the work of director, Elias and also of The October People production team?

I wasn’t yet familiar, but after getting myself a signed copy of GUT, I am now!


Q) So what can you tell us about your role in Ayla?

My character Alex is in love with a man who has an obsession that destroys their relationship. And what’s tantalizing is that  it’s an obsession she almost understands, but it may  not be enough. Or maybe it is. Guess you’ll just have to see the film!


Q) Any idea if you'll be sharing any scenes with the wonderful (and friend of mine) Bill Oberst Jr. ?

Well, that would be amazing, but I’m not sure how much info I can give out, so for the moment, no comment!


Q) So go on, convince us..... Why should people help towards funding the Kickstarter campaign for Ayla?

Because it’s sexy. It’s a story that hasn’t been told. It’s a taboo concept. You’ll claw at your seat. You’ll be forced to face your inner demons and things you don’t want to admit to yourself. The script is pure, raw courage. You’re either here to participate in life, or sit by the sidelines. You decide if you have what it takes to back this project!


Q) Besides Ayla, what are your plans for the future?

I have another film in the works, but it’s still hush hush for now. In the meantime, I have my own horror series I am writing and will produce called Darken I am hoping to have done by 2017


I'd like to thank Jennifer from taking time away from her belly dancing, Alligator swimming, sword -swashbuckling and acting endeavours to spend a little time in answering my questions.




Jennifer's website can be found RIGHT HERE

Her IMDB page is at https://www.facebook.com/jenniferlynnwarren?fref=ts


OH.My.God.


You can like Jennifer's FACEBOOK page at https://www.facebook.com/jenniferlynnwarren?fref=ts

The Twitter handle thingy for Jennifer is @JenniferLynnWarren


You can find the Facebook page for Ayla RIGHT HERE


The website for the October People can be found at http://www.theoctoberpeople.net

































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