A few months ago Biff Bam Pop was lucky enough to talk to director Sean Cisterna and members of the cast of the sweet Canadian comedy Moon Point (you can revisit that right here). Sean and I have kept in touch and I’ve been eagerly watching the progress he’s been making on his next film, a documentary that, as you’ll see, fits right in with our 31 Days Of Horror feature. I asked Sean if he would explain for himself what he’s working on. Take it away, Sean.
“Behind every man now alive stand 30 ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living”. – Arthur C. Clarke
Several months ago I was listening to a CBC radio program when on came the troupe from Halton Paranormal. I had recently wrapped up a festival tour of my previous film, a quirky narrative comedy called Moon Point, and wasn’t really looking for a new project…but the voices on the radio were just too compelling to ignore. I did a bit of digging around and eventually got a hold of the group and arranged to meet them, just to see if there was anything else to their story that could justify spending an hour’s worth of screen time with them. It was at this meeting I met Kim Hadfield-Verheul, the eccentric, charming and intense lead investigator of the group.
The stories they told were both exciting and terrifying! Tales of dark moving shadows, doors opening on their own, children’s voices on recorders, and the occasional hopping of fences to get to that perfect abandoned home to investigate. I was pumped, and started shooting production footage a week or two later, hoping for a legitimately raw and spooky documentary, not the contrived reality show type of ghost hunter programming on cable tv networks.
As our crew started filming Halton Paranormal’s investigations, I came to a sad realization. Ghost hunting is kinda like fishing. It’s really boring. You’re constantly waiting for something to happen, and you can sit there for hours just holding a rod. But if you’re lucky enough to get a nibble on your line, things can get exciting. Most people don’t know that spooky things rarely happen while investigating. It’s in the evidence review phase (listening to EVP recordings and hearing voices of beings that you know were not in that room with you!) that you can really start getting the chills.
And this is where our documentary took a different turn. We decided to scale back on shooting the actual paranormal investigations and put to the forefront the story of lead investigator, Hadfield, who has such an incredibly compelling tale, even if she were not a ghost hunter. She manages a barn out in rural Ontario, adding “I’m a horse farmer, so yeah, I’m broke”. She takes a series of medication to control a variety of ailments caused from head injuries. And she’s incredibly obsessive about pursuing her passion to find proof of the paranormal. Not to give too much of our doc-in-progress away, but it is Kim’s story that delivers the chills…but in a different way.
I am confident that when we unleash this sucker to audiences next year, it’ll be a unique viewing experience, full of dramatic real life chills set against a creepy paranormal backdrop. And, for the most part, it’s full of humour. Though others who have seen some edited footage are even going so far as to calling it a tragedy. There are multiple facets to people’s lives that can’t be pigeonholed into one particular genre – which is why I love working in documentary.
Luckily for us, the Hot Docs Festival team has seen some of our test footage and liked it so much that they decided to jump on board and help us finish the project through Doc Ignite, their online crowdfunding site. From October 15th to November 20th, you can get involved in our production and contribute so we can reach our fundraising goal to help pay for a sound mix and colour correction in time for the Hot Docs entry deadline in early January. Each contribution comes with its own unique incentive for you, from autographed swag and t-shirts to even an appearance as 1 of 30 ghosts on our theatrical poster. Visit www.hotdocs.ca/docignite/project/30Ghosts to contribute.
I hope you enjoy 30 Ghosts – a portrayal of ambition, obsession, and one woman’s quest to capture something that may not exist – when it is released through Indiecan Entertainment next year.
Thanks to Sean Cisterna for contributing to Biff Bam Pop! You can follow Sean and 30 Ghosts at facebook.com/30GhostsMovie and on Twitter@30GhostsMovie