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INTERVIEW WITH JOHN BOWKER

Brimstone Media Productions, LLC has recently acquired THE EVILMAKER for foreign distribution.

In the movie Serena (Stephanie Beaton) returns home after escaping an abusive relationship to spend time with three of her friends from high school. But their car breaks down near an abandoned house and what starts out as a creepy night turns into three days of hell when THE EVILMAKER appears.

John Bowker, the film's producer/director, tells us a bit about himself and his debut film…

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself, your influences, et cetera.

JOHN: I was born in Martinez, California. My family moved to Oregon when I was very young. I grew up in Corvallis and from the moment I saw my first movie, I knew immediately that making films is what I wanted to do with my life. Throughout school I participated in theater and music, made some short video projects with friends and then I made a mistake. I thought I had plenty of time to get on the right track and proceeded to do the "Life" thing. I moved away from home, got a job and tried to live. After several years of being away, I moved back home to find that one of my good friends from High School had made a video called "Dimension of Blood." It completely inspired me to get back to my dreams and the rest they say is history. I guess my biggest influence is John Carpenter. I love his movies. The Thing and Halloween are my favorites. Wes Craven and George Romero are also big influences.

Q: How did you decide to cast actress Stephanie Beaton in the lead role?

JOHN: I had read several interviews with her and visited her site several times before I approached her. She sounded very nice and down to earth. I had written the part with her in mind. I contacted her and sent her the script and she accepted right after she read it. It was a big leap of faith on her part to agree to do a picture with a fledgling company and director.

Q: Do you think THE EVILMAKER is a good debut film for PIPEDREAMS ENTERTAINMENT? What are your goals in the low budget/independent arena?

JOHN: I think it's an excellent debut for Pipedreams. It has all the elements. Great acting, gore, skin and last, but not least, a story that I think is very important. You can have all of the other stuff, but without a story, people lose interest. My goal is to keep putting out enjoyable entertainment. Weather it be on a shoestring budget or not, I have a lot of stories floating around in my head and I want to express them all. I want to keep improving on my visual storytelling. I want to make people cringe when they are supposed to, laugh when they are supposed to, cry and get nervous. If I can pull people into what's going on, I've accomplished my goal on the project. I would also like to direct all kinds of features, and not just my stuff. Film or video, it doesn't matter. Basically, I want to do it all.

Q: I thought it was interesting that you cast an African-American as Serena's husband…

JOHN: That IS an interesting story. Believe it or not, that was the toughest part to cast. I couldn't find anyone. The person I originally found didn't work out right at the last minute (the night before we started filming.) Dori, the woman who plays Tyler, suggested I talk to a friend of hers and I did that night. We hit it off and boom, he was cast. The fact that he is African-American has no bearing. I didn't cast him to start controversy. It's just a part in a story. He was thrilled to do it and I was happy to work with him.

Q: How did you cast the other actresses?

JOHN: The part of Rachel I cast Felicia Pandolfi. I have known her for a couple of years and she was right for the part of the Gothic friend of Serena. Believe it or not, she has never taken an acting class. She is just one of those people where it comes naturally. Through most of the shoot, she was extremely ill. But as soon as everyone got into places, it was like the illness vanished and she did her part beautifully. When the cameras stopped rolling, she headed to the nearest place to lie down and rest. She is truly amazing.

For the part of Cindy, I cast Arlene Henry. Again, this is someone I have known for a couple of years now. I approached her with the part and was thrilled and nervous. This was her first acting job. Starting off she was kind of shy on the set towards everyone, but that soon changed. I cast Dori Schwartz as Tyler, the tomboyish friend. I have known Dori for sixteen years now and she is involved in theater. This was also her first gig in front of a camera, but it came naturally. Sometimes with theater performers their actions and expressions come across over exaggerated on screen, but she was very good at just acting normal. Overall I think it's an awesome cast. These actresses went through a lot to get this thing made, along with the crew.

Q: How did you come up with the idea of THE EVILMAKER-and how do you think it's different than other Indy stuff out there?

JOHN: Very simple. I sat down at the computer and asked myself "what scares the hell out of me?" The answer came to me in about two seconds. The spirit realm. Hauntings. Things that go bump in the night and no one is there. I can handle the slasher movies, but the unknown gives me the screaming hee-bee-jee-bee's. Being trapped by a haunted house seemed like the only thing to write at the time because it would scare the crap out of me. I wrote the first ten pages and then sat back and evaluated where it should go. I let my mind run wild and 24 hours later I had the completed script. How do I think it's different? I have seen some movies out there that just aren't that great due to bad production values. The story is good and so is the acting, but it seems rushed and they didn't take the time to do things right. Our shooting schedule was damn hectic, but we took the time to figure every shot out, to storyboard, to light it correctly, and to make sure the sound was good. And we did take after take sometimes until it was done well. Everyone took pride in this production. Sometimes it seems movies are punched out as fast as they can get them out, weather they are done good or not.

Q: Who did the movie's special effects?

JOHN: Rob Merickel from Dark Desires make-up and effects. Man, this guy is a genius. He is also one of the most busiest people I know doing make-up and effects. I gave him the script and in a week he had it all broken down into effects shots, make-upshots, prop shots and so on. We started working on the effects about two months before production. We had to make a severed head, build a fake wall and a ton more. If there was a shot that we all thought was impossible due to some restraints with make-up or effects, he figured out a way to do it.

Q: Who do you want to work with in the future (on a film)?

JOHN: I would love to work with Debbie Rochon, Sasha Graham and Brinke Stevens. I have heard they are wonderful to work with. I think that all three of them have tremendous talent.

Q: What is your take on independent movie production?

JOHN: An excellent experience. It gives writers/directors/actors chances to explore all avenues and play around with their ideas without the studio breathing down their neck. Sometimes it can be quite a headache, (such as funds running out, scheduling, many different personalities on the set, sometimes not everyone gets along, half the time you are playing peace keeper) but the payoff and rewards are tremendous. I would suggest everyone in his or her lives try it at least once. Me, I'm going to do it the rest of my life.

Q: Who was your Director of Photography?

JOHN: A true wizard behind the camera, Joe Sherlock (A.K.A Dr.Dquid). This man has a natural talent that just floors me. He is also a director in his own right (F&C Productions) with over 9 projects of his own on video, and several more being edited. He is a true inspiration. I would tell him "I want the shot to look like this.." and he made it happen. Just awesome.

Q: Talk about your future projects.

JOHN: I will soon be working with Lilith Stabs, Leslie Culton and Jeff Dylan Graham on a project called "The Seekers." It's the story about a man's life that falls apart over night and he is completely lost as what to do. He has a strange encounter in a video store with a bizarre woman and from that point on, his life turns into a nightmarish hell from which he tries to escape. Does he? Maybe. He puts everyone in his life into extreme danger to which there seems to be no exit. Should be a blast and a half to shoot. I am also working on a script for a story called "Flesh Eater" and have outlined "Wicked", the sequel to "The Evilmaker." Plus, several other stories in development called "Houseboat" and "Caverns".

Q: Anything you want to add?

Just that I hope you enjoy my movies. I am here to entertain you, if only for a little bit. Follow your dreams, make your movies to the best of your abilities. Don't ever give up.

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