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CARVER: An Interview With Emily DiPrimio

By Gary Wien

This article was originally designed to be read in the October 2014 issue of
New Jersey Stage magazine. To read it in its original format, click here

When Emily DiPrimio set up a KickStarter campaign to raise funds for her film Carver she had no idea about the media storm that would follow. Not only did she surpass the campaign's $25,000 goal, but the idea of an 80s slasher film written and directed by a teenager resonated across the industry. Within a few months, the movie was featured in places as diverse as Fangoria, MTV, Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, and The Daily Mail in the UK.

Emily co-wrote the film with her father. New Jersey Stage spoke with the young filmmaker from Vineland, NJ about the film and its surrounding media blitz.

In the video for your KickStarter campaign, you said you wanted to create something like the classic slasher films of the 80s.  Tell me about your film. 
Carver is about a group of teenagers who are haunted by a despicable act committed when they were younger.  Their actions caused the deaths of three innocent people.  Now on the anniversary of those deaths an ominous calling card, in the form of a carved pumpkin, has been placed at each of their homes.  Someone is out for revenge...the question is who?
In the video you mentioned that you hated CGI gore and that there wouldn't be any in this film.  What drives you crazy about CGI?
I think CGI gore is taking the easy way out. I don't want to diminish the talents of CG artists. I think CGI gore at times can look okay but for me it lacks the visceral effect that horror movies usually go for. When you are using practical gore effects it also helps the actor truly be in the moment. If the actors can see the blood spurting from a wound it is much easier to react to a physical expulsion of blood as opposed to a director telling an actor to react as if blood is being sprayed because it is going to be added later in post.
The media blitz surrounding you and the film has to be a bit overwhelming.  Were you or your father prepared for how much interest there was in your story?
No, we were not prepared. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the attention Carver has received. I am very thankful for the coverage. It is important to me that the horror genre continues to grow and I want to help add a female perspective to a male dominated genre. At first people thought it was so cute that a girl was making a horror movie. I was being marginalized. Then when the trailer hit, people had to sit back and take notice.

What do your friends think about you directing a film?   Are they aware of the magazine, newspaper, and tv coverage you've received?
They think it's cool, but they didn't understand what I was trying to accomplish. I set out to make a movie that would hopefully be seen all over the world. They didn't realize I was making an actual movie and not some goofy YouTube video. The subsequent media coverage and trailer release showed them otherwise. The friends in my age group have since distanced themselves and I'm not sure why. Now, all my friends are mostly the adults I work with.
What are your favorite slasher films of the 80s?  Is that your favorite decade for horror?
I know Halloween was in the late 70's but I still lump it in with the slasher films of the 80's because it is the one that inspired them all. I love Friday the 13th Parts 1 - 4. I also really enjoyed My Bloody Valentine, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Pet Sematary. The 80's is definitely my favorite decade for horror.

What have you learned while directing for the first time.  Are you looking forward to making your next film already?
I learned that it is important to be flexible and learn how to go with the flow. When making a low budget film things aren't always going to go as planned. It is important to know how to overcome those setbacks and to continue to move forward while keeping up the morale of your cast and crew.
I can't wait to make my next film. I have several scripts ready to go and as soon as I am finished
editing Carver I will begin my next project.

For more by this author, click here

UCPAC Presents Three Classic 80s Films on 35mm Film
 (RAHWAY, NJ) -- A series of three classic films is being presented on 35mm film at Union County Performing Arts Center’s Main Stage theater. All viewings cost a $5 admission ticket that includes a 30 minute pre-show on the theater’s historic "Biggest Little Wurlitzer" organ and free popcorn along with the film screening. The films include The Breakfast Club (January 25), Pretty Woman (February 15), and The Karate Kid (March 8).
Hopewell Theater Hosts Special Valentine's Screening of "Casablanca" With Supper
(HOPEWELL, NJ) -- Hopewell Theater will host a special “date night” celebration of Valentine’s Day with a screening of the classic romance film Casablanca paired with an optional Moroccan supper on Valentine's Day, Thursday, February 14. An undisputed masterpiece and perhaps Hollywood's quintessential statement on love and romance, Casablanca has only improved with age, boasting career-defining performances from Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
A Look At New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2019
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, in association with the Rutgers University Program In Cinema Studies, presents the New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2019 which marks the festival's 37th Anniversary.  The Festival will take place between January 25 and March 1, 2019. Showcasing new international films, American independent features, experimental and short subjects, classic revivals, and cutting-edge documentaries, the New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2019 will feature over 35 film screenings. 
NJPAC Presents Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Live in Concert With The NJSO
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The Harry Potter Film Concert Series returns to New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Live in Concert, on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm. See the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra perform the magical score live while the entire film plays in high-definition on a 40-foot screen.

REVIEW: "If Beale Street Could Talk"
Outside of cinephile circles, filmmaker Barry Jenkins is perhaps best known for his role in arguably the greatest debacle in the history of the Academy Awards. On February 26th, 2017, La La Land was mistakenly announced as the Best Picture winner, only for it then to be revealed that Jenkins’ Moonlight was the actual winner.
New Jersey Film Festival: Spring 2019 - First 2 Weeks Preview
The New Jersey Film Festival - Spring 2019 takes place between January 25 and March 1, 2019 on the Rutgers University campus in New Brunswick. Showcasing new international films, American independent features, experimental and short subjects, classic revivals, and cutting-edge documentaries, the festival features over 35 film screenings. Here is a preview of the first two weeks of the festival. For the full schedule visit
REVIEW: "Cold War"
Back in 2006, German cinema scored something of a breakout global hit with Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others, which followed the travails of a group of disgruntled, pro-western artists in communist era East Germany. At the time I couldn’t help view the protagonists of Von Donnersmarck’s drama as the sort of people who would be just as discontented with their lot if they found themselves living in the capitalist west. The grass is always greener on the other side.
REVIEW: "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald"
For better or worse (worse in this writer’s eyes), the success of the Harry Potter franchise is largely responsible for the current Hollywood landscape of endless sequels, prequels and that awful phrase “universe building.” The Potter films showed Hollywood that it was a far safer financial model to hook audiences into returning for instalments of an ongoing series rather than taking a punt on the unknown quantity of original properties.
REVIEW: "Shoplifters"
Earlier this year, writer/director extraordinaire Hirokazu Kore-eda surprised us with The Third Murder, a legal thriller that made for a stark departure from the sentimental family dramas he’s become known for. With his Palme d’Or winning Shoplifters, Kore-eda is back on familiar ground, but this particular family drama shares much in common with The Third Murder. With his thriller, Kore-eda deconstructed the genre, forcing us to question how willingly we place our trust in a storyteller. Similarly, Shoplifters sees Kore-eda lull his audience into a false sense of security, making us develop a warmth and affection towards people who may not warrant such empathy.

Event calendar
Sunday, Jan 20, 2019


The Brook Orchestra presents Fire & Ice @ Brook Arts Center, Bound Brook - 3:00pm

Bay Atlantic Symphony: Mozart & Verdi @ Stockton Performing Arts Center (StocktonPAC) in Galloway, Galloway - 2:00pm

Scott Wolfson & Other Heroes @ Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme, Succasunna - 4:00pm


"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 2:00pm

Annie Jr. @ The Oakes Center, Summit - 2:00pm

Auditions: Born Yesterday @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 6:30pm


American Girl Live @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 1:00pm


WWE Superstar Braun Strowman @ iPlay America, Freehold - 11:00am

View all events

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