Last issue I continued my conversation with actress Katherine Joan Taylor, director Aaron Martin and producer Bev about their independent, full-length apocalyptic lesbian sci-fi epic Archangel Alpha. In our last part, the three of us will discuss the mechanics of production, and the making of an Archangel Alpha actress.
JoSelle Vanderhooft: About how many people would you say is involved with the movie?
Aaron Martin: I would say at least 60 people are actively involved [as] crew, production assistants, costumers, actors, etc. Granted, they’re not ever all there on the same day, but it’s a great bunch of people and everybody believes in the story and is trying to do as much as they can. It’s made me feel really good because you hear so much noise in this business, so many people talking about what they want to do and what they’re going to do for you. And we’ve had our share of disappointments, people promising things and then disappearing, but our core group is dedicated.
JV: Katherine, what’s it like being in the movie from your view point? Have you acted before?
KT: I’ve been acting since I was nine, but I started out as a theatre actress and really thought for a long time that that was my main focus and what I wanted to do, so I actually have two degrees in acting, a bachelors degree from the University of Utah’s actor training program and a master’s degree from the University of WI, Milwaukee. But after I got done with grad school I moved to Chicago and started taking film acting classes and I loved it. One of the things about my theatre acting style is it’s often too subtle [but the camera picks up everything. It changes the whole thing – it’s just more real I guess. I started pursuing [film] there, got some independent film roles, smaller things, and moved back here because my family’s still here and my dad was going through some health issues. But I’ve picked up a lot of work, so it’s been good. I’ve really been enjoying this process. The actress I’m mostly working with is terrific. It’s funny. When [fellow actress Nikki Meauvais] and I auditioned we ended up reading together and the chemistry between us was so amazing. It’s really rare in an audition to know you’ve got it … but on that one I was like, “I’ll be really surprised if this isn’t how it turns out. [laughs] Aaron texted me two days later and said, “How about if you play Alex and Nikki plays [Alex’s love interest] Elena, does that sound good to you?” It’s been great working with her.
JV: About how much, Aaron, would you say is complete now and when are you hoping to get it done?
AM: We just started shooting so I’d say we’re only about 10% in. But things are going to pick up soon. We’re on a bit of a hiatus now because Jason Ball our director of photography is at the Sundance Institute workshops, but then we’ll come back full force. We’re hoping to have it done by – my goal would be December or January.
JV: Then after that, are you hoping to submit it to a film festival or rent a theatre and show it in Utah?
AM: Well, we’ll definitely rent a theatre because I think everyone deserves a big premiere. I think everyone’s earned that. To me that’s one of the magic moments that all of us get into film making for when you get to see yourself on a huge screen. Past the premiere, we will do a little bit of festivals. It is an interesting mix of genres so it’s going to be unusual to find the right festivals it will fit in.
JV: Are you thinking of doing the gay and lesbian film festivals?
AM: I would be totally open to that. I think, I would hope anyway, that would be an audience that would be very receptive, very cool with what we’re trying to do.
JV: It sounds like it, if you’ve got this amazing love story between Alex and Elena.
AM: Yeah, a lot of this movie deals with how they come together. It’s basically following their relationship all the way through from the beginning to – and I think I can say this without spoiling anything – the tragic end. So you get to see the evolution of how these two people get together. I think it’s great for that specific audience [gays and lesbians] and for everyone in general.
JV: So people are going to read my column (I hope!) and go to your page because there’ll be a link there. Maybe some of them will get really excited and be like, wow, I want to help out. What can they do?
AM: We still need help with our costumes. Bev is a great costume person, but he’s way undermanned and he hates it anyway.
JV: You need people to sew them?
AM: Yeah, just extra hands to help. And building materials is huge. If people can’t donate money they can donate building materials. We need plywood and masonite, I think we need like 90 sheets of masonite. We also need help with miniatures, scratch building stuff and matt painting. On the post [production] side we’ll need a lot of help that we haven’t addressed because we’re not there yet. I think we’ll put a list on our blog so people can get more specifics. Even if people can’t do something then spread the word, tell a few friends to go check us out. Soon we’ll have behind the scenes footage, gigabites of pictures we’ve been taking, and we’ll start posting clips and a new trailer in a few weeks.
JV: Any last thoughts?
AM: I think it’s amazing what we’ve been able to do in this last year. Even the teaser trailer. And we’ve shot so much I just should cut a short together. There’s a lot of genre movies shot here and we want to make a really great vocal SF film. We want people to just go to the theatre and be blown way by it and be glad it was shot here.
Visit Archangel Alpha online at indiegogo.com/project/view/364.