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Interview with Lisa Comrie, co-writer/director of Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour

Lisa co-writes and directs Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour about Sarah Landon (Rissa Walters), a 17-year-old who investigates mysterious supernatural events in a small town. Matt (Dan Comrie) and his brother David (Brad Comrie) join in her Nancy Drew-like adventure into the paranormal. This marks Lisa Comrie's official directorial debut. I had the privilege to interview her.

Freestyle Releasing opens Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour on October 19th, 2007.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What did you do career-wise before making this directorial debut?

LC: I worked for an advertising company in Los Angeles called SkyTag who also made independent films on the side. I was hired to help with an independent film they were making and ended up working on the advertising side of the business after the shoot was over.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What inspired you to make this film?

LC: I came across this cool ghost story mystery that my Uncle John had written and I immediately knew that it had to be made into a movie. It reminded me of all the ghost stories that I read growing up. So John and I sat down and wrote the screenplay together. The idea was to make a PG thriller that would be fun for everyone. Kids like to get scared too, as long as it's not gonna give them nightmares!

NYC MOVIE GURU: What was the experience like collaborating with your own family on the film?

LC: It was a great experience and in many ways it was kind of like an extension of my childhood when my siblings and I would make short films around the house.

NYC MOVIE GURU: How/where did you find Rissa Walters and how did you prepare her for the role?

LC: When John and I were writing the role of Sarah Landon we based the character on my friend Rissa Walters. I had known Rissa for awhile and thought that someone like her would make a good Sarah Landon. So when it came time to cast, we did a nationwide search but had trouble finding someone who fit the part. Then I saw this short film that Rissa had acted in and it dawned on me…Sarah Landon had been right in front of me all along! Rissa has such a warm likable quality about her and an uncanny way of showing fear. As far as preparing her for the role, for the most part I just asked her to be herself, afterall to me she was Sarah Landon!

NYC MOVIE GURU: What kind of obstacles did you encounter throughout production and post-production. How did you overcome them?

LC: The story is based in Pine Valley and it was important for us to film on location as well as nearby towns that fit the role of a small town. The toughest part about that was convincing the people of the town to let us come in and take over their homes and film throughout the night!

NYC MOVIE GURU: Why did you gear this film toward pre-teens—why not an R-rated mystery/horror film?

LC: There are so many R rated horror movies and we wanted to come out with something fresh for a younger audience. An audience that also loves to get scared! It seemed odd that there were no PG ghost stories for tweens and teens when they're the ones experimenting with Quija boards and playing “Light As A Feather Stiff As A Board” all night at sleepovers! At least that's how I spent most of my slumber parties!

NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you believe in the supernatural?

LC: I absolutely believe something is out there. There are too many unexplained situations and encounters that I have a hard time believing they are all misconceptions or lies.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What project(s) are you working on next and do you plan on sticking to the same genre?

LC: We are working on the sequel to Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour called Sarah Landon and the Shadow People. I think this genre is fantastic because everyone likes a good mystery! Although, I plan on making more movies in this genre. I am also interested in writing comedy.

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