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Debit Wolf

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Debit Wolf

Chris Shields
2016, 15m, comedy, horror, mystery

A young woman wakes to find herself on a park bench, her hands covered in blood. She has no idea how she got there. Suddenly, she remembers, and begins to put together the pieces.
She notices a pattern: every time her bank account gets a little low she begins to transform into something not quite human.
Only with the help of a friend can she confront what may or may not be happening to her.

Produced by: Priscilla McEver
Cast: Asha Phelps, Mignonne Fowlis, Brian Sullivan
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The 3-week run for Debit Wolf ended on Aug 21st, 2017. Thank you to all the fans that supported it!
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Chris Shields

The Ten-Day Interview

6 questions with Debit Wolf director, Chris Shields at the half-way mark.
Thursday, August 10th, 2017
  1. 1 Hi Chris! Thanks for being a part of our film festival. First, what was the initial seed that inspired you to make Debit Wolf?
    I was living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and really fell in love with the neighborhood. I was running along the water a lot and it had this real kind of melancholy beauty. I kept imagining making a film there, something that mixed my love of werewolves (particularly Paul Naschy), EC comics, and monster stuff with a real slice of New York life and the more austere films I like . Also, for some reason I have always found the word debit funny.
  2. 2 Priscilla McEver wrote the script and is also the producer. Did she approach you to direct her script, did you approach her to write the script or was it something in between?
    I told her the story for the film and she is a writer and busted out the script. She did a great job and insisted that I pay people and organized a lot of the shoot. She was right, it means a lot to just give someone a nominal amount of money even if it is largely symbolic.
    I like to change the script as I go and make things more simple and try and make the inferential jumps as large as possible, so I think I took out some of the more explicit werewolfery and also allowed Mignonne and Asha to improv their dialogue. But the structure and most everything else is Priscilla's. She really crafted a nicely structured script.
  3. 3 The idea that a woman transforms into a werewolf every time her bank account gets low is pretty hilarious. This feeling of a financial strain that transforms a person into something else also seems especially relevant. How important is it to you that your films deal with some sort of metaphor or speak to something going on in the world?
    It's really important for me to mix the really mundane crap that everyone deals with into more particularly genre stuff. I think it's a funny combination--the fantastical and the very relatable and realistic. My girlfriend Sarah said I have some obsession with monsters and commerce. I think she's probably right. I think a film like Why Does Herr R. Run Amok? is mundane, horrific, and very funny. I have always wanted to do something like that but with monsters.
  4. 4 Can you share a war story from the shoot?
    The last scene at the waterfront was very hard to shoot. It was freezing but I was so jacked up on adrenaline I don't think I was even wearing socks. I was wearing my dumb loafers and kept falling down and slipping. It was kind of nuts and I think I was a bit of a maniac. Mignonne was trying really hard to light a receipt on fire and it wouldn't happen because of the wind. So the hand you see is my hand wearing Mignonne's glove. A touch of Bresson and Argento for ya.
  5. 5 What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker?
    Night of the Living dead was the movie that made me believe I could BE a filmmaker. Even when I didn't have a camera I was taking still photographs of myself dressed like a zombie in the backyard, so I think no matter what I was just bound do make movies or images in some capacity. As far as the film that made me want to be a filmmaker, it's hard to say. I can't remember ever not wanting to be a filmmaker. My father rented Corman's Premature Burial when I was very young and I remember that. Also, the Muppet movies and my mother accidentally rented and let me watch Halloween when I was very, very young. I remember Predator having a huge impact on me.
  6. 6 What's next?
    I made a documentary called Valton Tyler: Flesh is Fiction about a self taught Texas painter that has played around at some museums recently and is beginning the festival circuit. A film I acted in where Lloyd Kaufman plays my dad, A Feast of Man, is premiering at the Sidewalk Film Festival later in the month. And my next feature film, Killer Makeover, directed by Lindsay Denniber which I wrote with Sarah Fensom and Phil Chernyak should be out later this year. I am also a frequent contributor to the site Screen Slate and Film Comment, where I just wrote an article about Lucio Fulci and Italian avant-garde painting. Pretty close to self parody when it comes to my interests.
  7. About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
    Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
    Ben Hicks
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