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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.
Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.