Today, I am interviewing the very amazing Dia Taylor! Dia helped get me started in making films when she co-directed “Dark Night of the Zomboogies” with me. She certainly was a good luck charm too because no sooner was it out than it got selected by the Warrandyte Film Feast and was put on the Grindsploitation 666 anthology.
DB – Hi Dia. Thanks for making the time to be part of the Oz Femme Fatales of Horror Month. Let’s jump right into the questions. We may as well start with “Dark Night of the Zomboogies.” That film has been shown as the short before the main feature at a few cinemas around the world, and been on at least a dozen community TV stations.
I’d like to discuss with you the challenges involved in this short. I remember that we filmed this at an indie film night and were not allowed to disturb the patrons, not allowed to make noise and had to use poster paint for blood because we weren’t allowed to make any mess. There were other restrictions too. How the hell did you even manage to get this thing filmed?
DT – Hahaha yeah that was a fun night. I remember there was some confusion too because I originally thought I was just on camera then the day before I was asked to direct, which turned out for the best! Honestly with every film location there are rules and restrictions you need to adhere to. I find it’s a creative challenge to follow these rules and still come out with something looking great. Which I think we did. I have the worst memory so I don’t remember all too well our challenges, but we got passed them! Boogieman Bar is a great establishment though.
DB – In the same year that you made Dark Night of the Zomboogies, you also made Hungry Cole. When you compare Zombie movies, these two are on opposite sides of the budget. Please tell us about Hungry Cole?
DT – Ah yes, ‘Hungry, Cole?’. So ‘Hungry, Cole?’ was more of a proof of concept/teaser trailer to my later short film ‘Little Miseries’. I would say ‘Hungry, Cole?’ And Zomboogies have some similarities so I’ll focus more on Little Miseries if I may.
So Little Miseries is what I call a passion project. My producer Nick Koniuszko and I were lucky to gain a large budget – close to $40k AUD if I remember. We had a lot more time to prepare for Little Mis too. We rehearsed our cast, had a full crew on board, multiple locations, and shot over a week in total. Whereas Zomboogies was put together rather quickly. But each film is good in it’s own right I suppose and caters towards different audiences.
On the set of Little Miseries
DB – Although this is our big horror month, I would like to veer to the side of the subject for now to ask you about “Marital Problems”, because this was your first feature. It is certainly a mile stone that stands out. Can you tell us a bit about it?
DT – Awww thank you. Yes, Marital Problems – seems like forever ago. I directed it when I was 20 and it was released in 2018, I’d like to say? This film is a bit of a sore spot for me if I’m being honest. At the end of the production, the producers and I did not get along, that plus with a lot of on-set issues, it’s not a project I like to discuss a lot but it was a good learning experience and because of it I met so many great and talented people that I continue to work with to this day!
DB – You also have another feature that you’re currently working on called “Jett.” Is that all top secret? If so, tell us about it anyway and I won’t tell anyone that you told me.
DT – Hahahaha ah yes ‘Jett’, my baby. This film has been bubbling up inside me for many years now. I based it loosely off a band I was in while I was in high school and built the story around it. We’re currently halfway through shooting. We would have been finished by now had we not been delayed by Melbourne’s lockdowns, but we push on! I love my entire cast and crew dearly. It’s like one big happy family now and despite the stresses of being a writer/director/producer, I love coming to set each day.
The film is self-funded with a few investors who have chipped in a bit and you can tell everyone who is working on the film wants to see it do well. We’re aiming to wrap production by June and we’re editing as we’re shooting so hopefully the finished cut will be out not too soon after.
On set with Jett
DB – Dia, you are known as one of the busiest people in the local indie film industry. I’d like to ask you about your future plans, but I’m afraid that could go on for pages. Is it possible to tell us in a few short paragraphs?
DT – Hahaha yeah a few people have said that I do too much, maybe it’s an obsession that I always need to be making something? Who knows. I was a very lazy teenager so it’s a full 180 shift hahaha.
What plans do I have fr the future… hmmm. I’m currently also working with NHP and directing my 3rd Feature – a romance titled ‘Disconnected’ starring Nathan Hill, Jeanette Coppolino, and Crystal Wang. Two features at once is not fun! Ahha. Apart from that, we’ve almost finished post on three other features I’m producing; ‘The Green Woman’, ‘Wanda and Sully’, and ‘How Deep is the Ocean’ - so keep a look out for them!
DB – Thanks for taking the time out to chat to me today Dia. Where can our readers follow your work?
My YouTube: www.youtube.com/diataylorofficial/
My portfolio: www.diataylor.com
My Company: www.taymaynari.com
Feel free to check Jett out here: www.taymaynari.com/jett