I had the honor of interviewing filmmaker Jerry Seward today, please support his new films “Ravenfall” and “Cyber Hunt”-
Me: So first interview question, you’ve been a short film producer?, this is your first feature?, tell us about Ravenfall
JS: Yes, I’ve primarily been producing short films. I live in Michigan. Ravenfall is one of two features actually that I’ve been working on getting off the ground – the other one is titled Cyber Hunt.
Ravenfall is a science fiction film where the lead characters are a group of Native American bikers. It takes place a few years from now, where technology is slightly more advanced than it is currently. The hero of the title, Raven, is a Native American woman to be played by Tanis Parenteau (who has appeared as a guest star on the Netflix original series House of Cards).
Raven and her group are living off the grid, traveling across the Midwest when they discover a mysterious young man on the road. It turns out this man – named Seth – is a living experiment who has escaped from a technology firm. With her group not exactly wanting to get involved with Seth’s plight, Raven decides to take him under her wing and protect him from his pursuers who want him returned to the lab.
Me: Who’s playing Seth?, and what inspired the story?
JS: Seth hasn’t been cast yet, although I have been holding auditions…
I decided to do Ravenfall while working on Cyber Hunt. I was trying to find investors for Cyber Hunt, which is a bigger-budgeted project, when I thought to do something similar (sci-fi with Native Americans) but lower-budgeted. I looked at films such as the original Mad Max, El Mariachi, and Billy Jack, which were all made for well under a million dollars and were just little passion projects. My writer, Jason Reichow, and I took the female lead from Cyber Hunt and presented a younger version of the character in Ravenfall, so it’s a prequel to the story that will be the other film.
But the genesis was simply that I wanted to make something cheaper than what I was trying to raise for the Cyber Hunt project.
The more I got into developing Ravenfall, the more I realized how great it would be to show a strong, powerful Native American woman as the lead as I couldn’t recall ever seeing that. It was very important to me to cast an actual Indigenous actor in the role.
Then I came across Tanis Parenteau while searching for Native actresses and she is Raven – she’s a powerful woman with a moral code, she’s physically strong, beautiful, talented, everything I was looking for.
Me: For those wanting to audition, where can they find a casting call?, and cyber hunt will star Tantoo Cardinal and Jason Carter?
JS: I’m just auditioning local actors in my area right now but when I get a little further into pre-production, I’ll open it up to outside actors. I’ll also be looking to cast a couple of name actors if I can.
Cyber Hunt will star Tanis Parenteau, Jason Carter (Babylon 5), and Chase Masterson (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).
Me: I’ve actually met Chase a couple times, I grew up going to sci-fi conventions, you’ll love working with her!:) have you met her yet?
JS: Oh, I’ve known Chase for years – she’s a friend
Me: Awesome!:) so what are your plans for the festival circuit and distribution?
JS: Will submit to various festivals. While I’d like to get the film in Sundance, there’s a lot of competition and it’s not a guarantee. So I’ll focus on smaller festivals and look for ones especially catered to sci-fi, adventure, and Native-themed material. There are many good ones to choose from and to submit to, both in the U.S. and abroad.
I have several friends who work in distribution so that’s something I’ll be exploring with them and see what they can do. The American Film Market is also something I plan on having a presence at.
Me: Well we definitely look forward to seeing how far you can take it!, do you have any projects lined up after this?
JS: I’m working on setting up another low-budget indie project – a feature-length film to be shot in Michigan – it’s in early script stage but it’s a drama. No stars of any kind, just locally-made….
Thanks, Bryan, for this interview about Ravenfall – the Kickstarter link to the current campaign is: http://kck.st/1crCmGz