Movies Galore Interviews Emir Skolanja about his feature Films The Butcher, Flesh of my Flesh, The Plague and his newest Confessions of a Homicidal Prostitute check it out!

Written by David Strege of Movies Galore Of Milwaukee an Interview with Director Emir Skolanja!

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MGOM: First let’s begin with your name, where your from, and What were your inspirations for becoming a director of independent films?

ES: Thank you for this opportunity.My name is Emir Skalonja, I was born and raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Europe) and I came over to USA when I was 13. I’m 29 now.

I read a lot; I grew up on Stephen King, and read him to this day. I also listen to a lot of Black Metal, bands such as Dark Fortress, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Marduk, Rotting Christ…I draw a lot of inspiration from the bleak and nihilistic lyrics from those bands. Also, with the crazy world we live in, and all the pain and suffering around us, it’s not really hard to draw inspiration, however morbid it may be.

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I also look up to George Romero, Eli Roth, Robert Rodriguez, Sam Raimi…I like those guys. I like what they do and how they do it. You know, they are all budget filmmakers and damn they deliver a great product. You gotta love what they do. And they are good at it.

MGOM: Why did you choose horror? Or at least the genre your creating in Independent Film?

ES: I love getting a reaction from people. And horror is something I grew up with it. The first horror film I ever saw was A Nightmare on Elm Street. I like shocking people. I do a lot of gore and that’s an easy way to get people to react. When we screened The Butcher, we handed out barf bags hahaha

MGOM: What kind of challenges did you have in making “The Butcher”?

ES: The Butcher was a grand scale film, for me at least, and applying all effects and managing a cast of 3 extremely cold girls (it was 38 degrees in the warehouse) was a lot. But they were all great troopers and gave it their 100%, couldn’t be more proud. But yeah it was tough filming such elaborate gore scenes on a very tight schedule. My great effects and makeup friend Sean really did a great job building all props and making them pop on screen.

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MGOM: “Flesh Of My Flesh”?

ES: Flesh of My Flesh was tough because of one thing…the end scene had eleven characters and we were on a farm in a middle of nowhere and it just started to rain. Managing everyone at once, trying to get them on the same page while keeping our eyes peeled to the sky for the rain was tough, but I look at it today, and can say it was extremely fun. We had a big fire built and everyone one was gathered around, in corpse paint and what not.

MGOM: “The Plague”?

ES: Weather, once again. When you are on a slim/tight budget, you are exposed to the elements of nature. We had 2 dozen zombies and we had one last shot to film and it started downpouring. A few guys rushed to my side and held a tarp over me and my equipment. That’s what I call teamwork and dedication.

MGOM: “Confessions of a Homicidal Prostitute”?

ES: This one was pretty easy, it took place mostly indoors. The cast and crew were all great, everyone was on the ball and ready to roll. I am fortunate to be surrounded by great and dedicated people on all the sets, on all my films. My wife keeps me in check and is great to work with. She is in a lot of my stuff, except this one. I’m good friends with most of the people in my film and always become friends with newer cast I meet.

MGOM:  Did you have a favorite scene or shot you remember that you can share from “The Butcher”?

ES: Oh man, The Butcher was the placenta scene. I won’t give away too much, but man, we filmed itand were like, “Can’t wait to see what people say to this.” The scene involved a coat hanger, a newly pregnant girl…you can do the math hahaha.

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MGOM: “Flesh of My Flesh”?

ES: For Flesh of My Flesh, definitely the end. I did the film in black and white and the last scene took place in a clearing in the woods. Had many people as cult members, gathered around the fire. The colors and everything looked perfect and really captured the mood of the film.

MGOM: “The Plague”?

ES: The Plague, my favorite scene is when two characters, brother and sister are surrounded by the zombies and they have to fight through. It was just great, took couple of tries because I had like ten or so zombies at once, plus I got to direct my wife in hand to hand combat…turned out great, I think. “Confessions of a Homicidal Prostitute”?If I say, it would be a huge spoiler, but part of this scene is…on the poster of the film so beautifully created by my distributor, Daniel Koehnen.

MGOM: Where did you happen to film “The Butcher”?

ES: The Butcher was filmed all over the place. My wife’s cousin’s bar, a warehouse, my friend’s Sean’s house (again he is the wizard behind the gore) etc.

MGOM: “Flesh of My Flesh”?

ES: Rochester, Buffalo, um…somewhere in between Rochester and Buffalo, NY, on a farm. The owner was amazing. Told him what I wanted to do, he said to knock myself out, and have fun. Hahaha I meet a lot of great people on my journey.

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MGOM: “The Plague”?

ES: This is a fun one. The Plague was filmed on a historical site of one of the biggest toxic dumps in Eastern USA. Love Canal, Niagara Falls, NY. Google the whole story, but the short version of what happened here was, in 1940, this little town became a dumping ground for chemicals, and people weren’t told about it. Years later, 70s and 80s, all this crap started oozing through people’s walls and stuff and people started getting super sick…I mean hospitals loaded, people dying, terrible side effects and what not. Well in early 90s the entire place was razed to the ground and very little remains but you can see old sidewalks and driveways…streets overgrown, no trespassing signs…the whole nine. Loved filming here. Cops didn’t even care hahaha.

MGOM: “Confessions of a Homicidal Prostitute”?

ES: We were fortunate to acquire a house for free, Sean is great at finding new places to film. It had the look of a poor prostitute’s house. I was like, perfect, this is it.

MGOM: Who were your make up artists for “The Butcher”,”Flesh of My Flesh”, “The Plague”, and your newest “Confessions of A Homicidal Prostitute”? And how were your relationships with them during any of these productions?

ES: Sean Saramak is my all makeup and practical effects guy. He does most of it, I only do zombie makeup with him. He’s great because he does such a great job, so I can just focus on crafting my shots. Our relationship is great, though…seriously, we feed ideas to each other and we come up with some sick, sick and twisted stuff. I asked him the other day if he would think a masturbation scene with a crucifix is too much, he goes, “Nah, let’s do it.” Hahaha so yeah, keep that in mind, we have a sick short film coming out in March.

MGOM: How do you think your characters or effects turned out after production for “The Butcher” andor “Flesh of My Flesh”?

ES: The Butcher was more effects driven than Flesh of My Flesh, as Flesh was more of a drama, psychological horror (I know surprise). I thought The Butcher effects were good, but could have
used a little more tightening. Confessions of a Homicidal Prostitute is where these great effects shine, in my opinion.

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MGOM: “The Plague” and or “Confessions of A Homicidal Prostitute?

ES: The Plague was mainly zombie makeup, but we had a very juicy gut eating scene and a head stomp. The Plague was also the first time we used digital effects for fire, smoke and city scape destruction, as well as blood splatter, courtesy of my friend Sarah Poley. She did a great job doing digital effects.

MGOM: Did you have any problems casting for any of these four features of yours? And how was your relationship with your casts and the rest of your crew or crews for “The Butcher” and or “Flesh of My Flesh”?

ES: I am great friends with all the people (well most of them). Main girl in The Butcher was Sean’s sister, Meghan…it was odd because, you know, brother, sister…and in the film, they go on a date. Sean played the Butcher hahaha. But yeah, all great people. Yet, you know, with indie, it’s tough. A lot of people work on volunteer basis, because they love what they do, you know. I had several times where I had to recast two or three days before because something came up. But everything works out in the end. I have people who remind me of that!

MGOM: “The Plague” and or “Confessions of A Homicidal Prostitute”?

ES: The Plague was tough. I had my wife in mind from the beginning, but getting zombies was a chore. People drop in and drop out. If twenty say they are coming tomorrow, eleven show up. Then you gotta work with that. But that’s ok, it was a good turnout. Even rest of the cast was great. My good friend Devon and her boyfriend Josh were great as these oddball psychotic killers for hire who find themselves in the middle of a zombie outbreak. My friend Rich played my wife’s brother in the film and their chemistry was amazing. I just tell my wife if she needs to get mad on film, just to think of how annoying I am to her hahaha. Flesh of My Flesh was the first time I worked with people younger than 18. I worked with 2 girls, Michelina, who had a lead role, and Kira, her co star. Michelina is 17 (then 16) and Kira was 15. Great girls, lots of fun filming with them. Very easy to work with.

MGOM: Is there anything else that you’d like to ad? If you have some possible new film in development why don’t you tell us a little about it? If not will we see more of your talent?

ES: I am all over the place. I was fortunate enough to meet some new friends, who live in UK and GERMANY. I met Matt Freckingham on the book of face and this great guy who is a filmmaker himself and all about gore, introduced me to Daniel Koehnen who is re distributing all my films. See, my films used to be through Legless Corpse Films, but are being re distributed one by one by Underground Gorellector Films, owned by Daniel Koehnen from Germany. Great guys, seriously. But yeah, The Plague is available again first week of March and Confessions of a Homicidal Prostitute last week of March/first week of April. We have a twisted short film coming out middle of March called Ave Satanas…keep and eye on this one. Also I will be collaborating with Matt Freckingham from UK, on a film that he began writing not that long ago, and also collaborating with author T.J. Weeks on adaptation of his book Horror Squad. For all the indie and budget filmmakers, keep grinding and doing what you love. Someone is always watching. These are some of the most accepting and greatest people I ever met. Thanks so much for this opportunity to share my work with you!

MGOM: Well Mr. Emir Skolanja we thank you so much for your time and for letting me dig deep inside your wicked independent mind!

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