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Interview with Chad Crawford Kinkle writer and director of Dementer
By James Whittington, Sunday 5th September 2021
Chad Crawford Kinkle Dementer Image 2

A movie which is bold not only with its storytelling but its casting is playing today at FrightFest. Dementer from Chad Crawford Kinkle, is an emotional, raw and very real feeling movie built around a care home which delivers some of the most effective acting you'll see at the event this year. Here he chats about this superb film.

HC: Where did the idea for Dementer come from?

CK: The idea was really years in the making. I had always wanted to do a film with my sister but my mind always went to doing a documentary of some sort. Then one year at Sundance, I watched the movie The Tribe and it sparked an idea that I could set a narrative in my sister's environment. After that, it was just about formulating a concept that would work in that space."

HC: It's raw, powerful and plays like a reality piece rather than a movie, was this atmosphere hard to capture?

CK: Not at all. I just pointed the camera and let real life unfold. Of course, I was telling a story so I needed certain things to happen. But that wasn't an issue because I built the story moments based on things that are a normal part of my sister's daily life.

HC: Can you tell us about the Skills Center you shot at and was it hard to get permission to film there?

CK: My sister has been going to this Skills Center for more than 20 years. It's the place that everyone in my town, who is like her, ends up going to after they graduate from school. My mother has always been involved so most have seen me over the years or have at least heard about me. I was nervous about getting permission, but from the beginning they realized I was going to show my sister and the other clients as they really are which is something that you don't see much.

HC: Your sister, Stephanie plays a key role in the movie, how did she adapt to being directed by her brother? Did she enjoy it?

CK: Well, she gave me a hard way to go. We have a normal sibling relationship where we would play and fight with each other. So when we were shooting, she would act out for the first five minutes before she would calm down and do what I asked. I think she had a blast making the film. She's a natural ham and enjoyed the freedom to play pretend, which is how I think she understood it.

HC: What was the most difficult sequence or set piece to get right?

CK: Really, the first day in the Skills Center was the hardest. It felt out of control but I knew we were getting some great footage. Most of the time, the set is completely controlled and not "live". But this was real life for them and everyone else who worked there.

HC: What's it like working with genre legend Larry Fessenden?

CK: Larry is the best. One of my favourite people to begin with. Just having him for the small about of time that we did was amazing. He brings so much knowledge about film and acting to the table.

HC: The score is almost like another character to the movie, would you agree?

CK: The score was its own unique character for sure. It was an extension of the cult that seemed to infect the mind of Katie, the main character, and the audience as well. A few people have commented that they didn't like the music because it got under their skin which is exactly what I wanted it to do.

HC: People with additional needs are poorly represented in the film industry with only a handful of movies using actors with disabilities. Do you think this film will help change thinking?

CK: Making movies is hard enough to begin with. And having people that make the process even harder is something that's probably not going to become a trend. But it is possible. So I think other filmmakers will take greater chances after being exposed to films like Dementer.

HC: Do you believe in the paranormal?

CK: Ghost??? Not really. But I'm kind of hopeful that I will one day run into something supernatural.

HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?

CK: Like always, I've got a few scripts that I'm looking for funding for as I write on my newer ideas.

HC: Chad Crawford Kinkle, thank you very much.


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