Taryn Barker: Demon Hunter: Q&A with filmaker Zoe Kavanagh

Image provided by Zoe Kavanagh
Image provided by Zoe Kavanagh

Currently in post-production Taryn Barker: Demon Hunter is a new monster hunting indie flick from Irish filmaker Zoe Kavanagh. Well you all know how much we like a bit of punk film making so we tracked Zoe down to her secret lair and over a packet of virtual Hobnobs (dark chocolate naturally since it’s my virtual world) talked things through.

So without further ado lets find out just who Zoe Kavanagh is and how she got interested movie making.

“I did courses in TV & Film and Cinematography at Ballyfermot College of Further Education and then went on to the National Film School at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, to do a BA Hons Degree in Film & Television. I grew up watching films such as Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, Aliens, The Terminator, The Crow, Highlander, Fight Club and Blade Runner. I’d rewatch movies like that non-stop as a child. As I got into my teens I realised how bad most Irish films were and how we fail at making decent genre films. That’s how I grew an interest in becoming a filmmaker so I could possibly make a dent and change things.

“From 2006 to date I’ve mostly directed music videos for independent artists covering a lot of different styles and genres, it helped me train as a filmmaker and achieve high production values on low to no budgets. My chief influences as a filmmaker are James Cameron, John Carpenter, David Fincher, Ridley Scott. They’ve certainly influenced my style throughout the years and hopefully that will come across in Taryn Barker: Demon Hunter.

Image provided by Zoe Kavanagh
Image provided by Zoe Kavanagh

“When I decided to make a feature four years ago I knew it’d have to be self financed otherwise it would never happen. I went all out and decided to make my first feature as ambitious as possible.

“Taryn Barker is a woman in her mid-twenties who hunts demons. The films plot focuses on explaining where she came from and her connection to a series of  bizarre murders occurring across the city. She’ get brought in for questioning over the decapitation of a man who she claims was a demon. This is when detective Beckett realizes that this is the same girl that he made a promise to six years ago that he’d find the man who killed her sister, Annabelle. He’s in shock and determined to uncover the truth behind this case.

“Taryn made a deal with an aristocratic satanic man named Falstaff, who ensured he’d give her the power to avenge her sister. However halfway through the ritual, when he tried to possess her body and consume her soul, she was rescued by Demon Hunters, through this stroke of luck she was granted superpowers. When she focuses these powers, they will help her fight evil and eventually find the demon who killed her sister. When detective Beckett’s daughter is abducted by the demonic cult he realises that he needs to redeem the broken promise he made six years ago to secure Taryn’s help in rescuing her. The film basically does what is says in the title.”

Image provided by Zoe Kavanagh
Image provided by Zoe Kavanagh

The film was shot in Ireland and makes use of some interesting locations.

“There are a lot of locations, which made it a very exciting film to make.

“We shot a good portion of the film outside of Dublin in locations such as Charleville Castle in Tullamore Co. Offaly, The Old Mill in Slane, Westmeath and we also filmed in Dublin in places like  the Pigeon House Power Station, and quite a few other recognisable locales. We didn’t always get permission to film at  our first choice, but we got lucky with our alternate choices. The film has an action adventure feel to it and it certainly deserves it’s scale, so we worked hard in locking down the locations and it has different looks to it, it’s kind of a cross between cold urban industrial and Gothic architecture. I think that look represents the mood and style of the film, the crossover between fantasy and reality. Thinking in that mindset certainly helped elevate the aesthetic of the picture.

“As far as I know, nothing spooky or out of the ordinary happened to any of the cast and crew while we were filming, but it was an incredible experience all round. We got lucky filming in Charleville Castle, it’s history has been dark and tragic. Many people consider it one of the most haunted castles in the country. It’s great to think in that mindset as it’s the place of evil in the climax of the film.”

Image provided by Zoe Kavanagh
Image provided by Zoe Kavanagh

It all sounds very exciting so when can Horror Hothouse readers expect to see the finished movie?

”It’s hard to tell at this current moment in time. Although post-production will probably be fully finished by mid 2015, we don’t have a distributor in any territory currently. Ideally I’d like to say late 2015 it will be released, but that’s something I can’t say for sure. Hopefully the film gets to reach the audience it deserves.”

We hope so too Zoe, from the trailer and the production stills we have seen so far Taryn Barker: Demon Hunter looks like our kind of movie, so if there are any distributors out there looking for some dark kick-arse demon hunting action give Zoe a call now!

You can follow Taryn Barker: Demon Hunter on Facebook.

Interview by Simon Ball

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