It’s 11:36 am
Welcome to another edition of “8 Questions with…..”
I first met Lisa Ovies through Twitter. When I saw that she directed horror films,that caught my attention because the number of women who direct in the horror genre can be counted on my hands.
To boldly go into a area where men truly dominate by numbers and not necessarily by quality takes a lot of self confidence,creative courage and talent. Lisa has all three and isn’t afraid to take risks. Not only is she a fine director but she has a serious flair for comedy as shown in her semi-regular appearances on the “Scream Queen Stream” YouTube show hosted by Jessica Cameron and Heather Dorff. I tune in each new show in hopes of catching a new crazy Ovies guest spot which has me laughing my ass off. Her take on Heather is wickedly funny and is definitely not for the faint of heart!!
But Lisa Ovies is a film maker first and foremost and her new film, “Puppet Killer” is being released very soon. Tackling one of the hardest movies to make and to make well is horror-comedy and it takes a very fine hand to be able to do it well. Based on the trailer below,”Puppet Killer” is in very good hands indeed. Simon,the very cute killer puppet of the movie looks like a breakout star.
Lisa was in post-production and also gearing up to promote “Puppet Killer” when I asked if she find a little time to chat. I know this is a film directors most difficult when crafting a movie and I am glad Lisa was able to spare some time to answer “8 Questions” with us.
Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about you.
My name is Lisa Ovies and I am a director, producer and actress. I have a wide range of work but lately I have been known for my work in horror and have some amazing and kind fans within the genre. I,myself, am a huge horror fan so to be able to play within the genre is a real treat.
What was it like growing up in your home? Did your family support your artistic talents?
I was raised by an unbelievable single mother who taught me that I can do anything. No one else in my family is an artist but everyone on either side has been nothing but amazing. I moved to Mexico to write my first screenplay at 18 and quite honestly have known I would be involved in film my entire life. I ‘came out’ as an actor at 27 but no one was surprised, they were more or less just waiting quietly for me to have the courage to follow my dreams. They show up to all my film premieres and aside from my mom crying whenever I am killed in a film, they have never had anything but love for everything I do. My mother and step mom even did craft services on my latest horror film and my dad let me kill someone in my younger brothers bed for a short that I filmed in 2015.
When did you decide that you wanted to be a entertainer? What was the one moment that you knew this was what you wanted to do professionally?
I have definitely known for pretty much my whole life that I wanted to be in film. I made film projects for book reports in grade 7 and had my friends re-enact scenes from the book ‘The Dollhouse Murders’. Here I am, 12 years old with a VHS camera in my hand directing my friends as they run down the hallway with knives in their hands.
I don’t know if there was ever one solid moment or a series of signs or feelings that just reinforced it. I wrote a play for a project in High School and scored it with “Everybody Hurts” by Johnny Cash. It was about heresy and of course, someone dies. I looked into the audience and classmates were crying and I loved knowing I had effected them. I also remember bawling my eyes out watching ‘Pay it Forward’ and wanting to have the power to inspire change like that. And then watching Alien and seeing the power of the camera and how it can become as much an actor as the cast on screen, that it can create feeling with its movement and the support of lighting, that made me want to be behind the camera for sure.
What kind of struggles did you have when you first started out and how did you overcome them?
Well I have always been indie, since day one, so I don’t know if the struggles will ever end but I love finding a way to overcome them. I do comedy a lot as well (I have done improv professionally for over 8 years, have taught it for 4 and also own an improv school) but when I started acting I was also a model, and people told me I didn’t “look comedy”. What does that even mean? I got so frustrated I started my first production company and co-wrote and directed a sketch comedy pilot. So I guess I overcame that by not letting people limit or define me. It was scary sometimes but I was so determined to make this work I didn’t pause long enough to listen to all the reasons why what I was doing was crazy.
You have been a producer,actress and writer- what one pro/con has helped you the most develop creatively and in what way?
I think the limit of budget at the beginning forced to me to grow creatively in my writing and producing. When there is no money but it must be done, you come up with amazing solutions that end up making your project stronger. A pro would probably be my passion. I live and breath film so when I go to film festivals or meet people that are more accomplished and talented, I end up creating fantastic long term relationships that have given me a ton of knowledge and opportunity.
How did your new movie “Puppet Killer” come about? What is the story behind the movie?
You have a wonderfully diverse cast….Jessica Cameron and Geoff Gustafson (Signed,Sealed and Delivered) among others,how did you land some great actors for a indie horror comedy?
Puppet Killer is my passion project. It has been 3 years in the making and the product of a few other projects I was involved in back in 2014. I was casting the horror film ‘Suspension’ and also producing a film that involved puppets. I remember sitting on the steps watching a scene where the actress was singing and the puppets were singing and I though, “what would I do if I was in charge” and oddly enough, the answer was I would kill them, I would kill them all with a puppet. That night the entire concept fell into place and I called Lee Majdoub, who was an actor helping me with the ‘Suspension’ auditions. I told him the idea and instead of telling me I was crazy, he added to it. 2 years later he was one of the stars and also voices our Puppet ‘Simon’
And yes, the cast is insane. I am beyond blessed to have the calibre of actor that came on board. Everyone was an offer, most I knew personally and the actors and their agents worked with us to make this tiny low budget film work with their TV shows and movies. All of them make this film what it is and I will always be grateful. Aleks Paunovic, our star, who is in everything from iZombie to War for the Planet of the Apes, Richard Harmon of ‘The 100’ Lisa Durupt who is a huge Hallmark star and of course Lee, from Supernatural and Prison Break. Jessica Cameron came on after we finished principal photography because I really wanted her in the film and she adds to it in a really special way. She is insanely talented and powerful as a human being and we had never met until the day we filmed. I had no idea what the dynamic would be between us but I fell in love with her instantly and she is now one of my dearest friends and a producer on the film. Geoff Gustafson, it is interesting that you mention him. He plays my husband in the film but as a person, he was instrumental in inspiring me to go into film. I have known him for over 20 years and he was actually my high school crush. He and his friends were so passionate about film and so determined – they made it seem so possible. They were older than me so I remember in high school,students would be doing these cheesy monologues in drama and they would give me one from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. He is an amazing human and insanely easy to work with.
7. What are the three biggest differences between working in Canada and the United States as a performer?
I have actually never worked in the states as a performer so I can’t personally speak to that but as soon as I do, I will let you know!
Tell us about your family of companies that you have launched? ANFAgency seems to be a company that has been needed for years to help protect artists from janky convention promoters.
I own 4 companies in total; 2 production companies, ANFAgency and Rogue Studios. ANFAgency is an agency that represents actors for comicons and conventions. I absolutely love it and am very selective about the clients we bring on board. Rogue Studios is an acting school. We teach improv for adults and have a full service children’s school that provides top of the line training for young artists. It is literally everything I wish I had as a kid and I love it. We teach the artists and their parents everything they need to know to be successful on set, from blocking for camera, audition, the business of film, set etiquette, stunt basics, and of course a ton of acting. We focus on Vancouver specific shows and SCi FI and bring in amazing guests to work with the students and all of our instructors are actors on shows like ‘The 100’ and ‘iZombie’. It has become a huge passion for me and the students success brings me so much joy.
You have been a frequent guest on the YouTube channel “Scream Queens Stream” How did that come about and are the hostesses that crazy in real life?
HA HA HA HA, that is an awesome question. First off, Heather and Jessica are two of my favorite women and yes, all three of us are exactly as you see us on the show. I met Jessica when I directed her in ‘Puppet Killer’ and then Heather about an hour before the first episode I was in. Heather and I immediately clicked, I consider her my spirit animal. They are both super kind, loving, passionate and crazy talented. My goal is to have them both star in a film I direct.
What do you like to do in your downtime? What do you like to do for fun?
What is down time? Ha ha, no, I mean I work a ton but definitely make sure to carve out time for me and my puppies. I have an amazing circle of friends and we are pretty good at patios and wine. I am either out in the sun laughing with friends or curled up on the coach with my dogs, my man and Netflix, both make me equally happy. I love live shows and when I am healthy enough, I do kickboxing, yoga and snowboarding. I have had to take a break due to a car accident but am itching to get back. I live in Vancouver and we have beautiful beaches and mountains and I love taking advantage of that.
The cheetah and I just landed in Vancouver and you are our tour guide for the day….where would you take us and what would we do?
I had an awesome fan from the UK actually do that not long ago. I took her and her mother to Stanley Park, and to our historic Gastown for some great food and beer. We have such stunning scenery-a walk along the seawall stopping off at patios along the way is a great way to see the city and to relax. Our mountains have great hikes and the beaches are a great way to kill an afternoon with some friends and a ukulele.
What is your next project?
I am really excited to be working with an all female production company called ‘Neon Candy’ on my next feature film. I worked with the CEO on a film a few years ago and we really clicked. She pitched me the idea and I fell in love. The working title is ‘The Color Rose’ and it is a Thriller romance. Think the Devil’s Rejects meets Jawbreaker with a Pretty Little Liars aspect. I can’t wait to bring it to the world!
I like to thank Lisa for such a great interview. Puppet Killer will be released very soon.
To follow Lisa on Twitter – Please click here
Feel free to drop a comment below. If you want to answer “8 Questions”,let me know by going to the Contact page and sending me a e-mail. I don’t care who you are or what you do….I just want to hear your story.
If you are a film maker and want your film reviewed,same thing…..go the Contact page and let’s talk.