The Movie Waffler Waffling With ALL GIRLS WEEKEND Director LOU SIMON | The Movie Waffler


We spoke with director Lou Simon about her newest movie, her career and diversity in the horror genre.

Interview by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)

Hey Lou. We believe you left Cuba as a child and discovered a passion for writing while you were learning English in the US. Is this correct?

Yes, although growing up without toys was, in a way, a good thing in the end. You had to use your imagination a lot, and I remember coming up with stories for my sisters and I to act out. I just didn’t start writing them down until I was asked to write a short story for my English class. I wrote a story about kids whose car breaks down and end up at the nearest home, which just happens to be haunted. I was 10, so you can see that this has been in my psyche for a long time.

When and how did you decide to apply your writing skills to filmmaking?

Not until  seven years ago. I had studied creative writing in college with the idea of being a novelist. Then the reality of being an out-of-work novelist hit me, and I went the professional route. It took a long time, but then I met someone that was an aspiring screenwriter, and while trying to help him with his script, I re-discovered my love for writing.

How did this lead you to becoming not just a writer, but a director and producer?

After about a year and a half of attending pitch sessions and writing scripts that nobody would bother reading, I kept reading that the best way to break in is to make your own film. So, I wrote the simplest script that I could think of and made my first film. I had to learn to direct and produce, because there was no money to hire people to fill those roles. It didn’t do well, but it was the best film school I could have attended. I thoroughly enjoy doing all three roles now. It gives me complete control over my films.

Since 2012's The Awakened, you've made five features. What's the secret to your productivity?

You say productivity, I say addiction. It’s about always trying to get better and learn more. Each production is a learning experience.

What is it that attracts you to the horror genre?

There’s drama, comedy, scary stuff. It’s all genres in one. And it’s a huge challenge to try to get it right. I love challenges.

Do you think the genre is in good shape at the moment?

Horror will always be popular. Love it or hate it, with the recent influx of PG-13 horror films, the audiences are bigger than ever. As a filmmaker, I think that’s a good thing.

Are there any filmmakers that have inspired your own work?

Hitchcock is my hero. I own most of his films. After him, I’m a huge fan of John Carpenter and Wes Craven

As a Hispanic woman, would you agree that horror is the most diverse genre, both in front of and behind the camera, and why do you think it's so much more progressive than mainstream cinema?

It’s still not diverse enough, in my opinion, but it’s way ahead of any other genre. I think it’s probably because it is made to appeal to a younger audience, and millennials are a lot more accepting of all races, genders and sexual preferences. There are still a lot of films I watch though that still depict women like nothing more than sex objects waiting to be slaughtered. I fight hard to go against that, which is why the women in All Girls Weekend barely talk about men at all. It’s mostly about the relationships amongst themselves. It would definitely pass the Bechdel test.

All Girls Weekend arrives on VOD in July. What can you tell us about it?

It’s about five childhood friends who have fallen out of touch and decide to rekindle their friendship during a weekend in the mountains. They’re there to do adventurous stuff, like zip lining, so they decide to go hiking and get lost. It’s the middle of winter, and they don’t have any food or water, but that’s nothing compared to the force that is determined to keep them from leaving.

What's next for Lou Simon?

I start principal photography on (a film called) 3 in July. It’s a very different film from this one. It’s a very intense, psychological thriller about two people who kidnap a man in order to force him to confess to a rape that he may or may not have committed. It’s very gory and twisted.

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