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Q&A with Christina Raia, Director of ‘The Gaze’

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Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
Ellen Ripley

You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
I think all bad ideas can spark a good idea. I have a small collaborative collective where we meet up every week to give feedback to each other on new pages of ongoing projects or practice pitches that are either inspired by our own experiences or come out of challenges we give each other in session (like from news stories or a draw of the hat type of exercise featuring genres and settings). This regularly puts us in the position to come up with some truly bad ideas, which is actually great. It helps take away the pressure to nail it every time and just be open to our imaginations and the creative process. There’s usually some aspect of the bad idea that is really intriguing and turns into a seed for a good idea to grow from.

Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
Absolutely. Horror fans have this inherent bond because of our love for things that mainstream audiences have largely misunderstood. We’re often people who have been shunned or othered for aspects of who we are or even just for our seemingly morbid interests. And within the industry, creators who work in horror and their work are often excluded or dismissed. So there’s this real sense of community amongst horror fans/makers where it feels like there’s a place for you without having to conform to any one specific aesthetic or artistic approach to be included.

When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
For “The Gaze,” in particular, the themes are very rooted in my personal frustrations on film sets and walking through life on a daily basis. So I didn’t have to go looking for inspiration.The tone and style are subverting elements of my real world. However, when I’m looking for inspiration for something new, especially in terms of world building, I try to get outside of my personal bubble. I love deviating from my usual spaces or routines. Sometimes I go to a neighborhood I’ve never been in and just watch moments happen. I try to get a sense of the pace and personality around me.

What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
I’d probably just go on living my life because I’d be completely unaffected, ha!

Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
Jennifer Check, Daniel Robitaill (The Candyman), Asami Yamazaki

Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Freddy, Stephen King, Practical, Pre Apocalypse

How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
I have amazing collaborators who share my “get creative with what’s available to you“ approach.
What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
A lot of things scare me. In this particular moment, tyranny scares me. And it for damn sure is inspiring my storytelling.

And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
This question is so hard to answer because it changes based on my mood or current circumstances. But, because of the way the question was posed, I have to say Scream. It was one of the first horror movies I watched (and definitely first slasher) and the one that inspired 7- year old me to go watch all the things it was subverting that came before it.