For this installment of “Artifex Glimpse”, I wanted to put a spotlight on LatinX writer & director Miguel Angel Ferrer. After watching the latest and highly award nominated installment – “deMonica” (a time or two more that I initially expected), I absolutely wanted to speak with him and get an expanded/in-depth interview on the film. I was blown away by our discussion and interview.
You can read my entire “deMonica” review/thoughts, here.
My FULL interview with Miguel is below.
1.) Lola: Miguel, you have such a well versed background in TV and film. When creating “deMonica”, how difficult was it to take seemingly oh so familiar horror film tropes and incorporate South American culture to make a new concept?
Miguel: It was a delight actually. To merge two things that I love dearly and to come out the other end with something that people enjoy is a huge blessing. There were tropes that I wanted to steer clear from and new elements that I wanted to bring into the mythology of the genre.
One element for example is the cliché upside down cross in the Exorcism sub-genre to symbolize a Satanic presence. Originally, the symbol had nothing to do with Satan but rather with Saint Peter, who asked to be crucified upside down because he felt he was not worthy of being crucified the same was as Christ was. So in essence it’s the symbol of a Catholic martyr, not Satan. Hence why in deMonica you’ll never see an upside down crucifix. It just didn’t ring true to me and within the realm of my mythology, “demons” would never consciously choose that symbol to announce their presence. Nor would they speak in Aramaic, Latin or any known language – not at first.
2.) Lola: Being that the plot of the film is centered around sex work mixed with the Catholic Church, do you feel at all like you’ve challenged and accomplished suspending prudish beliefs/ narrow mindsets?
Miguel: There’s a lot more to be explored on the subject. It’s definitely something that runs in the undercurrent of the story. Something that I spoke about with actresses Claudia Serven (Monica) and Daniela Azuaje (Maye), is that these women don’t believe themselves to be victims. Are they victims of the system?
Yes. Of the society in which they grew up in? Yes. Of external forces? Yes. But still – they do what they need to do in order to survive. They accept the cards that life has given them and move forward. Would they wish they were in a better situation, of course, but it is up to them to make the choices that will take them out of that situation. They are women of action, and they know what they’re doing. Very much like Ripley and Sarah Connnor in Alien and Terminator respectively. They are faced with a different kind of monster, both internally and externally.
I had this conversation with Claudia about how society generally looks down at a woman who is a sex worker, be it in Nevada, Costa Rica where it’s legal, somewhere where it’s illegal, or even through OnlyFans. Sometimes people are too quick to judge and don’t know the full story of an individual. And to those that are quick to look down upon those people I ask, What would you do, if you were in that situation? Would you be willing/able to do this kind of work to feed your family? Would you have the strength?
3.) Lola: When filming deMonica, you ran into some very horror like obstacles traveling with the cast and crew. What was your mindset in trying to see this entire production through and can you divulge a snippet of that time that you’ve never spoken of before?
Miguel: We took calculated risks. I never ask anyone to do something that I wouldn’t do myself. So I’m very comfortable with asking because in the event that they say “I don’t feel comfortable” I happily understand and do it myself. Something that I’ve never spoken about before… I got a Venezuelan government ID which I had to pay for, and on the third day of travel we got stopped by a military officer in the middle of the country that told us it was fake. We didn’t know. And he had all the evidence to bring us in. But producer Wil Romero got us out of the situation.
4.) Lola: In the climate of COVID-verse filmmaking, how do you personally stay inspired and what is your process like day to day with all of the events and projects on your plate?
Miguel: Gratitude. That’s how I stay inspired. It boggles my mind how much we’ve achieved even in the last few months.
The more I’m thankful for the people I work with, family, health and career, the more things land on my plate and the more people I get to hire. Which has always been a dream of mine, to give back to the people that believe in me and the vision behind all of this. To hire my Venezuelan crew on international projects and fly them all over the world, it’s a huge blessing and I don’t take it for granted.
I think that’s what keeps me inspired, to continue to keep my eye on the goals I have for myself and for everyone around me, all the while being thankful for the things we’ve achieved, and the things we’re going to achieve.
Miguel Angel Ferrer is not only humble, but tackles the importance of heritage and challenging others’ views in the process.
Self published author, indie horror MUA/film set advisor, & social media manager from Pittsburgh, PA.