Interview Done By Mike Wilkerson
MW: Please introduce yourself to the readers of Blastzone Online.
JD: I’m Jim DeVault, and I am an independent filmmaker, writer, author, and composer, among other things, but those are the biggies. I sometimes use Renaissance Dude.
MW: When did you decide you wanted to make a movie?
JD: I first became interested in film making at a VERY early age—6 or 7, maybe earlier—at least as far as an interest in the technical aspects of film making, if not a desire to actually MAKE a film. That desire grew over the next few years to actually wanting to be a part of the film making process—I was in my teens. Eventually, I got the chance, in the 70’s when I got hold of my dad’s old Bell & Howell 8mm camera. Until then I read everything I could get my hands on about film making, and studied a lot of films along the way, too. Not just watched, but studied, dissected them, seeing why they worked, or didn’t. By the time I picked up a camera, I was already comfortable as a filmmaker.
MW: Is this your first movie? If Not please give me a rundown of what else you have done?
JD: Well, I’m a visual artist, and have been, again, since an early age, with still photography, painting and drawing, and film is another visual medium that I used to create my art. My art films stretch back to the 70’s, and that 8mm camera. I was inspired by other filmmakers, of course, like Ingmar Bergman (I love ‘The Seventh Seal’), and more mainstream directors like Kubrick, Hitchcock, Terence Fisher, Terry Gilliam, and the like, and I had a desire to make more mainstream films, but it wasn’t until the digital revolution that it was economically feasible. I hate to use the word ‘auteur’ because it sounds so pompous, but really, that’s what I am. I can do just about anything involved in film making, except one: raising capital. So, film making had to get more reasonable before I could do a full blown feature, but looking back, it was probably better that way, because I don’t think I was mature enough as an artist to do a commercial feature, so everything worked out for the best. Since December 0f 2006, when my first feature went into production, we have completed six features: ‘The Sisters Four’ (2008) which is a mystery/thriller, ‘The Fun Room’ (2010), which is about a psycho killer who tortures women—lovely stuff, ‘Blood Reunion’ (2012), ‘Jebadiah’s Axe’ (2013), and Blood Reunion 2: Madeline’ and ‘Blood Reunion 3: Hunters’ (both 2015).
MW: Tell me about filming the Blood Reunion Trilogy?
JD: I wrote the screenplay for Blood Reunion, or BR1 for brevity, when I had finished “the Fun Room’ in 2010. I grew up with the Hammer Dracula series, and I wanted to do a pastiche of those films, especially in light of the more recent films like ‘Twilight’ and ‘Blade.’ I get a lot of flak from fans of ‘Blade,’ but I’m sorry, sun block? Seriously? I wanted to do something that would put the balls back on the vampires, make them more traditional, but at the same time, I wanted to have fun with it, so I wrote a screenplay that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I think it’s fun to watch. It was never actually intended to have a sequel, in fact. It was just a fun little stand-alone movie, but when we were in post-production on ‘Jebadiah’s Axe,’ I think, I came up with an idea for a sequel. Those Hammer films, when I was a kid, had me thinking—perhaps fantasizing is a better word—about playing a vampire in a movie. Well, BR1 gave me that opportunity, and I did a small cameo bit, but BR2 expanded that role a little. By the time it was finished, I thought what the hell, make it a trilogy, so BR3 had my character as the main vampire. I actually wrote BR3 four or five times before I hit on the right screenplay, but it was worth the trouble it took. Playing the part of a vampire was easy, too. It’s typecasting. Evil, night-crawling, soulless, creature that wants your blood? Sounds like a film producer to me.
MW: How long from start to finish did it take to make each film?
JD: I usually have a script in final draft in under two months, then there is about three or four months of pre-production, when we scout locations, get our casting done, and scheduling. That actually starts after the obligatory fund raiser, which is always a dismal failure, but we try it anyway. The shoot itself is typically 10 to 15 days, and usually closer to 10. Those 10 days are spread out over about two months, since we normally shoot on weekends because actors have real jobs to go to. The one exception was ‘Jebadiah’s Axe,’ which was shot over 10 days straight on location at Lake Tawakoni in east Texas. We have horror stories about the wildlife on that shoot. After that, average about two months in post, then we’re on Amazon in another month or so.
MW: What do you think of the finished product?
JD: I was happy with BR1, and it was my first feature in HD. I wasn’t as pleased with BR2. It’s still good, but there were some technical issues. We came back and kicked butt with BR3. But, I figure every director has a clunker, now and then. John Boorman, for instance, had some fabulous films with ‘Excalibur’ and ‘Deliverance.’ And then, there’s ‘Zardoz.’ Kubrick had ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’ Still a great film, but weak compared to his other works. It happens, so you just move on, and do it better next time.
MW: Is the Blood Reunion Trilogy being distributed?
JD: All my feature films are available on Amazon, and BR1 and ‘Jebadiah’s Axe’ are also on Google Play and YouTube. The BR3 DVD is coming soon, but I haven’t released it as yet.
MW: Has the Blood Reunion Trilogy won any awards?
JD: I don’t usually do the festival thing, because they’re looking for films that actually have budgets, and believe me, I’ve been shot down by the best of them. The budget on ‘The Sisters Four’ wouldn’t buy Spielberg’s breakfast, but Bare Bones wouldn’t take it. Seriously? But, ‘Jebadiah’s Axe’ was entered in a few festivals at the urging of my distributor, and we ended up with official selection status at the Famous Monsters and Twisted Tails film festivals last year.
MW: Do you plan on making another movie? If so what is it?
JD: We have several projects in development. I have a horror anthology that I’ve green lit for a 2016 release, and a couple of projects more outside the horror genre, one of which, ‘Pastor Rabbitt’s Revival,’ is based on a novel that is in the works. We also have one called ‘Azteq vs the Prowler of the Lonely Woods,’ which is based on the graphic novel my Roberto Mercado that is going to press soon from Lucha Comics. It a fun bit of nostalgia for the old Santo movies of the 60’s. It has wrestling and some slasher elements as well. It promises to be a lot of fun. We’re looking for funding—hint, hint.
MW: How can potential fans buy the Blood Reunion Trilogy?
JD: Amazon is the place to go for the full trilogy. Google Play and YouTube only carry BR1.
MW: Did you make any merchandise for the Blood Reunion Trilogy? What did you make? If so how can fans purchase it?
JD: There was a limited edition tee shirt for the fund raiser, but those are all gone. There is a full size reproduction of the one sheet that we used at the premiere. All the merchandise can be found on the web site:
MW: What are your social media?
JD: Most of my films have Facebook representation. The Blood Reunion pages are:
And I have a ‘personality page’ as well https://www.facebook.com/FilmmakerJimDevault
My personal Facebook page is reserved for industry contacts, which is why I have the ‘personality’ page, but my non-Friends Only posts go to my Twitter, which is @JimDeVault1
MW: What would you like to say in closing?
JD: Send money, we have films to make.
No, seriously, first of all, thanks for asking, but in all modesty, I have to take a minute to thank some others that have been big helps along the way. As a filmmaker, my name is up there on the screen under ‘a film by,’ but auteur or not, there are a lot of people involved, so I encourage you to always stay around for the credits. More specifically, three people who have been with me across several projects deserve special mention.
Nicole Holt, who is my stalwart producer. Like me, she loves filmmaking, and she’s an excellent producer, but she’s also a very talented actor, and I use her in the cast whenever I can.
Wes Sutton, a filmmaker in his own right, who has been my Director of Photography and done such things as visual effects, lighting, and editing and on several projects, from ‘The Fun Room’ to BR3.
Martin Catt, who has done Assistant Director, Director of Photography, sound recording, and gaffing/lighting, depending on what we need. He pretty much does it all, and still has time to write.
I’d like to thank the Academy, but—well, you know…
And, finally, thanks to all your readers who are going to buy all my books, movies, and CDs. Really appreciate that.
We have a little giveaway for 2 copies of Jebadiah’s Axe DVD
All you have to do is email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and Facebook and you are entered. We will draw a winner on May 31st. On June 1st. we will send you a email confirmation to the winner. As a bonus if you enter any of our giveaways you will be entered into every giveaway we do in 2015.