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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield

Miguel Angel Ferrer (INTERVIEW)

Miguel Angel Ferrer is looking to bring a new take on the possessed with short horror film DEMONICA hitting the festival circuit very soon. The tense character drama incorporates the best and worst of people as they battle their demons along with grasping their faith.

Martyn (BGUK):

We welcome Miguel Ferrer, director of horror short, DEMONICA. And we start, I would say what a fantastic short. It's got everything a horror fan could want. So, thank you very much for bringing that to our attention.


Thank you. Thank you for watching. And, I'm glad you enjoy it.

Absolutely. So, first of all, let's open up with what is DEMONICA, how did it come about? What were the thoughts when you created that?

I think the first thing that grabbed me about the whole project and the story was really the characters. These characters that carry a heavy burden or a cross and decide that they don't deserve any forgiveness. And, want to carry that cross beyond their guilt of things that have happened on the past and how they get redemption through sacrificing family through forgiveness and let go of that cross and they can move forward and make everyday miracles happen. And, I think that, that's once I... Really, that's the first thing that I landed that I was like, "I'm in love with this particular aspect of the characters, because it speaks to me."

We've all had our guilt or our crosses that we bear, whether they're super small or big. I think that's very relatable, very human. And, then setting that in that world of Venezuela. And, at first I just thought about it as an idea for a thriller and then this happened all within the same day. Then I realized, "Wait a second, what if there was a supernatural element to this?" And, then it just added that extra layer that really told me as a storyteller. I said, "Okay, I want to explore this." I've only done one short horror, a seven minute horror film that was like a little experiment. And I want to dive into this and explore these characters and explore the genre and then put it in this world where I'm from, Caracas, where I hadn't seen that before.

It comes across. The passion and the unique story telling and, that really comes across. We see so many horror films, I think we are now in 2021 and you've kind of seen every trope within the horror genre. And, certainly DEMONICA has a fresh approach to that. So what inspired that supernatural element to bring out those characters darker secrets?

I think that, well, a couple of things I grew up Catholic. My mom is a Spiritus of sorts. My mom, she's Cuban, my dad's Spanish and is agnostic. So, those dinner table conversations were really, really interesting and grew up in a Catholic school and a Jesuit school, my entire life. And, one of my teachers actually, I always have a deep respect for the Jesuits. (It took) 14 years in order to become part of the society and they speak eight languages. And a lot of the men that I knew, I mean, did really heroic things, saved people in the Holocaust or did things as the way that the Jesuits were excommunicated by the church a lot because they were rebels. And they were... I always say that if they lived in Star Wars, they'd be the Jedis.

And, they're very, very dear philosophers scientists, thinkers, but they also have the sturdy side to them. And, one of the teachers that I had who taught me actually Astrophysics, was also taught in the right of exorcism. In fact, his teacher was the guy who inspired THE EXORCIST. So, once I landed on the idea of this woman has to seek out a priest. Of course, it was just natural to me that it was a Jesuit priest. And then I was like, "Wait a second. But what if also this supernatural side of it." It also had to do with a lot of the things that I was going through at the moment in my life, because I treat the, and I want to continue treating this story and that evil entity very much like energy and very, very much as the kind of things that we feel.

We often feel from certain people, bad vibes but obviously augmented, times a hundred. And, I always go back to the science. And, we talked about this with the actors, what is the scientific version of this? Like why? Why does this? Yes, it's supernatural. Yes. It's something that we don't understand, but let's bring it back to, well, how does this affect you physically? And, what does that mean? So, that's something that really attracted me to that genre and why it wasn't werewolves or vampires or whatever. Why it was something about energy and the spirit.

That's the whole element of it isn't it? It catches those people and that faith, but it's an invisible kind of force. But, I liked how you actually showed a lot of the possession and the actual, the horror of that, which really brought it home. A lot of films do hide away from that for, mostly budgetary reasons but, you can see that here. What inspired the actual look of the demon? It's quite distinctive. And certainly when the first girl gets repossessed, it certainly has very distinctive feel about it.

Well that it has to do a lot with, well, I worked a lot with Claudia, the actress, Claudia Serven who played Monica. We wanted to really convey the different faces that this demon or entity can have. In your experience, say the devil... The devil uses many tricks and so does this entity. And sort of any entity that wants to take hold of you and wants to take hold of your life and your mind. And, that's why she has a couple of different faces. A couple of different looks to her and a couple of different tactics, because it's really about, for this entity is a survival, right?

So, this entity is going to try every single tactic in the book that it has in order to get it's goal and that's why part of the incantation part of the whole sequence. And I really... I love what Claudia did with the character. And, it was actually very, when I called her to do this role, she had actually auditioned for Maye, for the lead role. And, I called her and I told her, "Look, the other role is actually equally as prominent." And, also I would think even tougher for an actor because there are no lines. But, there were lines and every single scream, every single moment, we thought about a, if this entity was speaking Aramaic or Latin or English or Spanish, what would they be saying? So every scream, every moment, had an intention.

And this is also something that I told Claudia again, back to the scientific, like back to the, I guess what's the rational common sense to me. If there is an entity or there is a demon from another dimension, from another place, it's not going to know how to use the vehicle or voice box. It's going to speak in a completely different way. And, it's going to try to use this voice box, it's going to try to use this thing that we have, but it's not going to be able to do it. So, it's going to fumble and stumble across. And, as the film progresses and we, I think we, we did a little bit of this. There's a little bit more and more articulation. I mean, very, very subtle, but it's something that you actually would be able to tell, even though they don't speak English or Spanish or whatever, you still are able to tell this person is saying something. Just like an animal, you know, is saying something, you really don't understand.

Like having a toddler then really?

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

What is next for the story? Or is that short is that the start and end of it, or is there more to come from that?

Well, DEMONICA is a feature film too, which we're casting right now and we're pre producing. We don't know yet where we want to shoot it, but it's definitely going to be in Latin America. And it's a much... It's well the short works as a proof of concept. The short is really the beginning of the story. And then the end, when everything in between is how they get from the church to the brothel. And, obviously that's not a straight line. It's very much a thriller and a chase scene where corrupt cops and gang members really chasing them down to through this monster, which is Caracas.

And, that's part... A big part of the story is being in that city, being in that jungle where it's urban sections and then these tendrils of just tick on the top of these tendrils of the favela kind of seep in, and kind of take hold and city. And, that's why there's that shot in the short that I really wanted which we're then going into the tunnel because they're literally going into the lion's den. So, that's what we're doing now. We're prepping it, we're still figuring out where we're going to shoot it and casting. And we're super, super excited about it. I'm super excited about it. It's the kind of film that now that has a lot of the themes that I love, but also kind of the kind of film that I would watch the trailer to. And, I'd definitely want to see that, it looks like fun.

Yeah, almost certainly there's like a 20 minute long tease we certainly can't wait for it to land on us, and really wish you all the best with that. I mean, you mentioned it yourself that there were some fantastic cinematography shots within the 20 minutes short. So, to see those even bigger and better, we really can't wait. So thank you very much. So, I suppose what's next for you then?

Next for me? Well, the film is playing in a couple of festivals now we don't know yet where it's going to happen to go from here, but we're in two festivals and we're probably going to announce that shortly. Next next, it's really that. We're also developing another feature that we want to do in Venezuela, a drama. And just continue writing and continue developing this project and a couple of other properties. An action adventure property that has a creature element to it.

So, I'm always going back to a little bit. I'm always going back to genre. But, I found it interesting that the more I have explored and I've loved horror my entire life, I just never had, I guess, never had the courage to dive into it. And, now that I've kind of gotten my feet wet, it's like, "Wow" I had an idea and I also didn't have a full grasp of how, what a beautiful vehicle this can be for telling wonderful stories that transcend genre too, because a lot of people, when I tell them it's a horror movie, "Oh, I don't watch them. I don't watch the horror. I get too scared." And, I tell them, "You should watch them because by the end of it, hopefully the idea is that you get a lesson out of it and it's a parable." Say well, "It's about faith. Faith in yourself that have in yourself to be able to do the little miracles that you have to do every single day to move forward and to change the world for the better."

We wish you all the best for the future. Certainly we can't wait for the feature length version of DeMonica and we wish you all the best.

No. Thank you, thank you.

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