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Home arrow Entertainment arrow Dark Gallery arrow SPICY SISTER: A Conversation with Amy Lynn Best
SPICY SISTER: A Conversation with Amy Lynn Best PDF Print E-mail
Written by by Seth Roman   
Jan 16, 2005 at 02:00 AM
Amy Lynn Best is becoming known as a "triple threat" in the independent film community, having established herself as an accomplished actress, producer and director. She made her film debut producing and co-starring the short haunted house film TENANTS, directed by Mike Watt. TENANTS can be found as an extra on the outstanding Sub Rosa Studios DVD release of CAMPFIRE TALES (starring Gunnar Hansen of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE fame). On the disk, Amy also moderates the audio commentary for the short film and promotes her upcoming film SEVERE INJURIES, on which she made her feature directorial debut. (SEVERE INJURIES was produced by Ron Bonk and is also due for a Sub Rosa release in 2004).

A staunch supporter of independent horror, Best has been doing her best to help people look at b-movies and b-movie stars in a different way. She recently coined the phrase "Outsider Cinema" to set certain types of films apart from no-budget T&A gore fests. In another turn of revisionism, Best joined together with such fellow actresses as Jasi Cotton Lanier, Debbie Rochon, Robyn Griggs, and Lilith Stabs to form the "Spicy Sisters of Outsider Cinema", in the hopes of retiring the exhausted "Scream Queen" title that seems to be affixed to any woman working in the horror genre.

Motivated, outspoken and beautiful, Best took time out of her busy schedule to talk to Dark Gallery about her work.

What can you tell us about "Tenants"?

"Tenants" was Mike Watt's senior thesis film for film school. We were sitting around with a couple of friends one day talking about all of the things that scared us as kids and still do. We came up with quite a few and Mike wrote a short script about it. At that time I had only worked with Mike on a VHS short and [another 16mm experimental piece] short so I didn't know too much about filmmaking. I learned a lot on that film.

How did you get into filmmaking?

I got into filmmaking by working on "Tenants". I remember one night after filming, I laid in bed looking at the moonlight coming in the window and I thought, "Wow, you need so many lights for film to achieve this look". After that I got interested in not just acting in films, but also lighting, camera movements, editing, writing, and producing.

What is your opinion of the movie now, with the hindsight you have?

I still think "Tenants" looks beautiful. 16mm black and white is just so haunting on its own, you almost have to make a ghost story. The rest of it is good too. I would have done a few things differently as far as my acting, but live and learn.

What were some of the decisions you made as a producer of "Tenants"?

I helped with the casting and did a lot of the scheduling. That was hard because even though there were only four of us in the cast, everyone had impossible schedules. Between school, work, and other projects, I think there was only a couple of hours where we were all in the same room.

How have you grown as a filmmaker since "Tenants"?

I've learned so much more. Scheduling a full cast for a feature is a lot different than four actors for a short. I've also learned more about cinematography. I've taken a couple of film classes. And I've helped on other's projects to see how they do things.

You've directed two films yourself - WERE-GRRL and SEVERE INJURIES - can you tell us a bit about those?

I had an entirely different experience directing SEVERE INJURIES than WERE-GRRL. WEREGRRL took four straight days of shooting working with only a couple of main characters. The script was short, but dialogue heavy. This made for long takes where the characters had a lot of dialogue to get out. It was tough, but the cast were real troopers. They didn't complain (too much!). SEVERE INJURIES was a feature that took us about 3-1/2 months to shoot, working mainly weekends. There weren't any scenes where the characters had speeches to memorize, there was more action, so the filming went quicker than on WERE-GRRL. I really learned a lot between these two films, most of the credit goes to the cast and crew for helping out and being so patient.

Can you talk about your film movement, "Outsider Cinema"?

I was tired of people thing that I made porn every time I told them that I made low budget movies. I realized that in most peoples perception there wasn't anything in between "indy" movies and b-movies. Indy movies were the ones shown at Sundance and b-movies were porn. I wanted to distinguish our films and the films of a lot of low budget filmmakers from the junk that's being put out by kids with a camera and a recipe for fake blood. "Outsider Cinema" became our term for this.

Can you tell us about some of your upcoming projects?

There are a few projects coming up that I'm really excited about. Our biggest one is a "Lovecraft" type monster story that we have some great people attached to already. Mike Quinn, Reggie Bannister, Brinke Stevens, and Amber Benson for a start. And there are others that we're talking to. We also have a short written by a couple of our company that's a return to gore and horror. There's also a dark thriller that's going to be a very interesting change for us. I also have a few projects coming up that aren't being produced by Happy Cloud Pictures. That should make for an interesting change!

CAMPFIRE TALES is available on DVD through www.b-movie.com
Visit Amy on the web at www.amylynnbest.com and www.happycloudpictures.com.

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