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5 Questions with Louisa Krause and Jordan Galland

One of the highlights of a film festival is coming across a film that absolutely stops us in our tracks. We have very few expectations and it zags when we think that it will zig. Writer-director-musician-poster designer Jordan Galland’s Ava’s Possessions is one such film, premièring at SXSW. We were privileged to speak to Jordan Gallland by phone while he was at the festival. While Galland was more grounded, his leading lady Louisa Krause spoke to us from her Uber on her way to the second screening. She was scarfing down Texas barbecue and talking at the same time.

Scene Creek: How would you describe Ava’s Possessions?

Jordan Galland: The initial take of the film is that it was a “possession” movie, because it’s about a girl that’s recovering from possession. But I really love mysteries, as well, supernatural or not, and then I’m just really into the mysteries and sort of detective stories. But I realized that the movie actually for me, probably on a very personal level was a new take on a detective movie. The detective is actually a victim of demonic possession trying to get over it.

My elevator pitch when I was shopping the film around was that it was Rosemary’s Baby meets Memento…the other thing is that I think it tied in with the music for me was those aspects, the possession film and the detective story, so I always wanted to infuse it with kind of a youth culture kind of film style and energy. The music helped to do that, the cinematography helped to do that, lighting.

Louisa Krause: The concept of a girl…just the way the movie starts off, I said, “oh, that’s never been done before, how exciting and challenging”. And I really loved the mystery element of it. She doesn’t want to be vulnerable in front of everyone, but she’s dealing with a lot. And Jordan told me to watch My Own Private Idaho. That was the film he told me to watch as a reference film. River Phoenix’s performance, he drifts through the movie like Ava sort of drifts through the movie. His narcolepsy is like her demonic possession. I could see myself as being younger and being a total fangirl of the film and getting her necklace and dressing like the character in the film. She’s also the first character that I’ve played who’s cool!

Scene Creek: What was you filming approach?

Jordan Galland: I shot it in the style of movies that I grew up loving, like My Own Private Idaho and A Clockwork Orange. Certainly David Lynch. David Lynch for me is (Sighs. Pauses.) the director where I love the way he ties in music. You know, Blue Velvet, every music he has some sort of musical performance, and you know, I’ve been on-stage performing, there’s a theatricality to that. You know, in Eraserhead, the girl in the radio singing the song, and in Blue Velvet, it’s called after the name of the song. That’s so cool, the way that Dennis Hopper is singing along. I was more inspired by the way Julee Cruise was used, you know, new songs that sound like oldies. This came out in working on songs with Sean (Lennon).

Louisa Krause: It’s all there in spirit (wha ha ha ha ha).

Scene Creek: Have you ever been demoniacally possessed?

Louisa Krause: I’ve never been demoniacally possessed, but I do deal with my own demons, as we all do. Like Texas barbecue, for sure. Oh my God, I love food and devouring. I think that I’m possessed by work too, you know, taking on whatever comes my way and surrendering to it. When I got possessed, it was no-holds-barred, and I watched Angry Animal Videos. I watched it for the first time when it premiered (at SXSW), and I was like “Oh my God, there’s where I’m the feline, or there’s where I’m the angry goat”.

Jordan Galland: (laughing) The answer is no, not the way Ava was, but at the same time, like I it’s relatable because people have…there’s all kinds of demons that people have. And hide from the world, and feel insecure about. And also those demons are not the worst thing in the world. There’s something that can be reconciled.

Ultimately that’s the theme of the movie, reconciling your demons, but also, at one point Ava says in the film, “Is what I did while I was possessed, that much worse than what the average scumbag already does?”

Louise Krause: I am just thankful to be a working actress and an artist.

Jordan Galland: When I was writing, that’s just came out, but I then I was like “oh, cool”, that’s what I was trying to get at.

Scene Creek: What roles attract you?

Louisa Krause: I just love to portray humanity. I go for people and I just want to give justice whomever I’m portraying. And get them out there so all the humans in the world can connect with it. There are millions and billions of people out there and I just want to be them all.

Scene Creek: That was your biggest takeaway?

Louisa Krause: Oh, and I took home a tiny lantern. Set swag.

Ava’s Possessions makes its Canadian debut Friday, July 31st at Fantastia Fest.

Photo credit: Paul SarkisAVA_FILM_STILL_ BATHROBE