THE WICK – A disturbing tale of deceit and persecution two years on.
Two years ago I reported on an exciting new Folk Horror film that was in its early pre-production stages trying to raise funds to help move the project on. A Crowd funder page was set up and through the generous support of people from around the globe – including Folk Horror Revival – enough money was raised to move the film closer to becoming a real thing. FHR caught up with Michelle Coverley (writer and producer of `THE WICK’ and the films herbal healing protagonist) for an update.
Folk Horror Revival: Can you briefly remind us what the film is about and in particular what you feel makes it a work of Folk Horror?
Michelle Coverley: `THE WICK’ is a dark, period drama, set in the early 1800’s in rural England, seventy-three years after witch trials were banned. It’s a disturbing tale of deceit and persecution of a woman who fights for justice against a lawless witch hunter.
`THE WICK’ definitely channels Folk Horror. The village that Esther, our female protagonist lives in, is extremely superstitious to the point of horrifying. What these villagers are led to believe, without much proof and the lengths that some of them go to, to ‘fix’ things is quite shocking. The deception and ignorance is quite barbaric, with folklore and religion being at the heart of it.
FHR: What inspired you to embark on this journey and dedicate so much of your life for the last few years to `THE WICK’?
MC: I decided to take a step from acting into writing and producing as I found there is a lack of female protagonists in film, as well as a lack of presence of women in the film industry. I realised that doing this would bring me more control over my career and give me the satisfaction that by telling my stories, women have a voice.
I wanted to make short film on a small budget with a strong female lead. I thought about potential locations that looked interesting on screen but were cheap or free to film at. I decided a forest would be a great idea, then went to bed and the next morning, awoke with the idea about witchcraft. Who knows where it came from? I really have no idea? But I searched for historical British witch trials that morning on line and came across a few about how some of these women fought back, this really caught my eye. From there, I heavily researched the subject and then began to write the script. Although period drama can be pretty difficult and expensive to make, I felt so strongly about the subject matter, I just went with it.
FHR: So what stage in the production are you at now?
MC: We are in post-production at the moment. We finished shooting at the end of June, then went straight into the editing room. We are now trying out and tweaking different versions of the edit and experimenting with music composition. After this, it will be the colour grade, then onto promotion and pushing it round domestic and international film festivals.
FHR: Has much changed about the story during the filming and if so was it born of necessity or was it an organic change that occurred once the actors started inhabiting the characters?
MC: The story didn’t change during the filming process as that could be tricky and problematic, but the script had gone through changes after the postponement of the shoot last year. We had to postpone because of budget limitations and then I realised that the story had to be more focused on just a couple of themes and characters instead of skimming over the surface of many. It was a blessing in disguise and I’m so happy that I waited till this year to shoot.
FHR: What has been the biggest challenge so far and what has been the biggest/ best moment(s)?
MC: The forced postponement last year was one of the biggest challenges that I endured and I was totally not expecting it. It was a massive shock to the system and as I was the writer, producer and lead actor, I had so much invested in this project and had to single-handedly sort it out. Although I got through it and didn’t lose too much of the budget, I found it hard at first, to pick the project up again. Finding the right director was also a challenge. Not only do you have to share a similar vision, you also need to have the same way of working too. I feel that finding the right people to collaborate with is one of the most important things to get right as a filmmaker.
One of the best moments for me was turning up on set with my actor’s hat on and feeling so confident and content that I could trust every single crew member to do their job. Those first few moments kind of blew my mind actually. I arrived on set with the other actors, crew were running around, setting up their equipment, placing last minute props and the extras were all in costume. It was pretty emotional seeing it all coming together. I couldn’t actually believe it was happening at last and we were finally about to do the first take. I’ll never forget that moment. The other amazing moment was on the last day and wrapping the last scene. Holding the clapperboard and getting a group photo was so special too.
Also, having quite a well-known actor, Ian Reddington on set was a fantastic experience. He was such a great laugh and really relaxed and easy going. Acting alongside a pro was amazing. I was buzzing, knowing that he genuinely wanted to be a part of my short film and that he took time out of his busy schedule to do it. It was a privilege and I am very thankful to him for that.
FHR: So what is next – for the film and for you?
MC: I can’t wait to finish post-production, to then start the fun process of promotion and the film festival circuit so people can actually watch what we’ve all created. I’m also itching to start my next short film script too. With THE WICK, I didn’t want to direct it, as I was wearing too many hats already. But I’m very keen to direct this next script. It’s a supernatural thriller.
THE WICK Website:( http://www.michellecoverley.com/the-wick-short-film)
THE WICK Facebook:( https://www.facebook.com/TheWickShortFilm)
THE WICK Instagram:( https://www.instagram.com/thewickshortfilm/)