Interview with Sylvia Caminer For Her Horror Film ‘Follow Her’

We recently got to interview filmmaker Sylvia Caminer for her horror film ‘Follow Her’ about influencer obsession. We talk about how she got involved with the film, casting, juggling comedy and horror while being meta. What’s next for her after ‘Follow Her’.

1. How did you first get involved with ‘Follow Her’?

SC: The script, originally called A Killer Script, came to me through friend and mentor, John Gallagher, in early 2018. Dani Barker, the writer, was looking for a director and a way to get it made as she’d never produced a feature. From the first read I connected with the story and felt it had a lot of potential, especially as I love character driven films. Plus it had a flawed tough female lead. I felt strongly this was worth exploring and so Dani and I had a long call. We thoroughly discussed the script, and she was totally open to my ideas and workshopping it.

We also discussed an approach to getting it made, she hadhoped to shoot the film in two months’ time for $100K.I explained I had no interest in making THAT version of the film and so we started to map out a larger plan. I used a lot of connections through my production company, DolGer Films, and we started to assemble a team. First up was longtime collaborator, casting director, Judy Henderson and then Michael Indjeian, a kick-ass producer I love working with who both joinedthe team. Next Luke Geissbuhler whom I’d produced several features with signed on and that was the early core team.

2. What was it like directing Dani and Luke? Especially with Dani being the writer of ‘Follow Her’

SC: So much of a director’s job is finding the right talent. I think we did just that with Luke Cook. We knew from the get-go that Dani would be playing the protagonist, Jess, and that the balance of the film really lay in finding the right person to play opposite her. Once we had Luke everything was pretty much tailored to the two of them. Fortunately, the script wasn’t overly precious to Dani as Luke brought many amazing lines and moments through his improvisation. We did a lot of re-writing as we were filming (I don’t really recommend this hah) and our script consultant, Preston Witt, helped a lot as well.

We had just two days of rehearsal. We used that time to read through the script, block the action and discuss beats/shifts. I was sure though to avoid any in-depth character discussions as I wanted to do that individually. I thought that was especially important so both actors were a little off balance not sure where the other would be coming from. 

Early on Luke and I had discussed his character and how once “Tom” shifts the audience MUST believe he is capable of ANYTHING. There must be a nuanced menace to him. Luke came to me the day before we started filming that section of the film to let me know that he had been working on some stuff and planned to go pretty far with his performance which I encouraged(knowing we could always scale it back). We purposefully did not tell Dani. I’ve heard her say that this section of the film was not what she envisioned in her writing and that it was way more brutal. Dani did agreat job letting go here and just responding. 

3. When directing more of the meta sequences with Luke’s performance, were you worried about how it would land with the audience?

SC: There is definitely a fine line to tread but Luke is so talented. I kind of wanted the meta stuff to feel a bit like a wink to the audience. We didn’t want the film to feel like a condemnation against influencers but rather perhaps a way to generate some thought about how people go about creating fame and how far they are willing to go. 

4. When directing a horror movie with comedic elements a lot of audiences seemed to get turned off if there’s a little bit more of one another involved. Did you find that challenging or exciting while reading the script and directing the plot twist in the film?


SC: I love horror films with humor. The kind of humor in FOLLOW HER is more subtle/satire than deep belly laugh. I feel getting an audience to laugh is not easy, but it can commit them to the film. When reading the script, I found the cutting humor exciting, and it was something we worked on enhancing during development. For example I worked on the scene with the detective to highlight the absurdity of the situation in a humorous way. I like that a bunch of the satire is drawn from the meta-aspects and making fun of horror tropes. Luke also broughtsome of the great comedic moments through his improv. 


I hoped to use the humor to help keep the audience off balance – in the middle of a very intense moment we could infuse some humor appear to lessen then tension, get the audience to chuckle and let their guard down and then wham quickly hit them building the tension further. 

5. What’s next for you after ‘Follow Her’


SC: I am hoping the Writers Strike will be resolved soon. I fully support and stand by the WGA and the writers.

I am super excited to Direct the elevated horror film, IT WALKS AMONG US, written by Will Davis. I will be teaming up with Producer, David Higgins, he produced one of my favorite genre films, HARD CANDY, among others. It is a character driven film with a smart no BS 16-year-old girl who happens to be trans and she’s pitted against a very cunning shape shifting creature. We hope to begin casting in early Summer.

I am also working with novelist, Nick Jones, adapting his novel AND THEN SHE VANISHED for the screen. This is the first of a seven-book sci-fi time travel series. The characters truly jump off the page and the approach to time travel is wholly originally.

Dani and I also have a strong plan for a trilogy for FOLLOW HER which we would script together if given the opportunity. We also have a killer idea for a series as the story really lends itself to be spun off.

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