The beautiful – talented actress and filmmaker Jennifer Nangle is known for Demonic Attachment (2016), Spirit Board (2015) and Case #311 (2015) is showing no sign of slowing down as her new short Slit just wrapped a few days ago. Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock, Jennifer is pursuing her dream of performing and creating content that is not just entertaining but inspiring to many people. Majoring in Theater Studies at Niagara University, Jennifer is no stranger to the arts, and I believe first hand that we will continue to see more and more of her imaginative work. I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer at Monsterpalooza back in April, and I recently spoke to her about her love and trials of filmmaking. Check out our interview below:
Jennifer Nangle Interview With iHorror:
iHorror: Can you please tell us about yourself and also where you are from?
Jennifer Nangle: My name is Jennifer Nangle and grew up in an Irish family in a small town just north of Boston; Mass called Danvers. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to perform. I always loved singing and being a part of a choir, but at age 10 when I auditioned for my first play, I was hooked and haven’t looked back. Any audition that came up, I went to. Any show I was cast in, I did. The only thing I ever wanted to was act. As soon as a graduated high school, I wanted to move to New York City and audition, but I wasn’t allowed to. I had to go to college and get an education. So, I majored in Theater Studies at Niagara University, in Lewiston, NY. Halfway through my freshmen year, I fell in love with television. I just remember my friends always talking about what show they loved, or what characters they related to – wanting to tune in next week to see what was going to happen. My goal after graduation was to move to LA, and two years later I did. I enrolled in Meisner Technique class which changed everything for me. How to approach and/or create a character. How deep one can get with back story and wardrobe to form this being, even down to the littlest of details.
iH: What were the beginning years of your filmmaking like? How did you become involved with the horror genre?
JN: I never wanted to be a filmmaker. I just always wanted to act. But living in La La Land with all the other actors and pretty people, competition is pretty fierce. I always thought I would be judged on talent and looks… Little did I know that how many twitter followers would effect an actor of being cast. Not performing can kill an actors soul. I couldn’t afford classes any more (as an outlet to perform), so I started to create. My friend Jenn Wilson created the sci-fi comedy web series “GUIDES” where she let me help produce, and it was an amazing learning experience along with being able to create your content. Since then, I can’t stop.
I have always loved horror. My father and my paternal Grandmother are huge horror fans, so I was introduced to the genre at an early age. Hitchcock, Universal Monsters, Vampires, Twilight Zone – these were always topics of discussion or were always playing in our household. When I was 8 or 9, I stayed up one summer night watching “The Gate” with my Dad. I was suppose to be asleep, but I peeked! I was horrified and thought little creatures were going to come up out of my mother’s garden in our back yard for weeks! There is something about horror that makes me feel… something. I knew I wanted to get into horror, but I was so fearful of failing at it.
iH: What do you love about being an actress and a filmmaker?
JN: I love to tell stories, so being an actress is natural for me. I crave it. I love to be creative and embody another personality in a scenario and play out a scene.
I love being a filmmaker because I can tell whatever story I want. I don’t have to wait for permission or approval or for someone to say, “Yeah, ok you can do that.” I can present the story however I want. I can also play so many different characters that I would never have the chance to play. It boggles my mind how industry can just look at someone and type cast them without even hearing someone speak. As humans, we are all complex. We all have many sides to us. I go out for “the best friend” or the “young mom” and “the victim” – which are all great roles! But sometimes as an actress, we want to get dark, we want to be challenged, we want to get complex, and being the filmmaker, I can say, “YES I CAN!”
iH: What are the greatest challenges that you face as a woman in the filmmaking industry? How do you believe these challenges can be resolved?
JN: Let me start out by saying I see a lot of women filmmakers supporting other women filmmakers – and it really warms my heart. We are all in this together and need to stand together to make an impact. I feel like women in the industry have taken two giant steps in a positive direction, but we are not 100% there yet.
For me, I’m seeing a lot of male filmmakers, who were starting out and finding their voice at the same time I was, being given some amazing opportunities that some women haven’t been thought of. Horror anthologies are trending right now, and there is one anthology that only had one female filmmaker out eleven segments. There are A LOT of female horror fans that want women stories they can relate to. I’m hoping we are headed in the right direction. I have also been fortunate to surround myself with other male filmmakers that have notice my talents and treat me like an equal. I feel extremely lucky for that.
iH: What filmmaker has inspired you the most?
JN: Alfred Hitchcock and his later works, specifically “Psycho”. Talk about someone who sacrificed, thought outside the box, and didn’t take no for an answer with his filmmaking. Just with “Psycho” alone, he fought tooth and nail for what he wanted. Was he successful? I think so. Goes to show that you always need to go with your gut and that the money/studio people don’t know all. Where there is a will, there is a way. Oh, and you really need to be a good story teller.
iH: Rumors travel fast! Your short ‘Demonic Attachment’ has been said to be “your true story!” Is there any truth behind this rumor?
JN: It is. I grew up in a haunted house! Danvers, the town I grew up, was apart of “Old Salem Village” or the “Salem Witch Trials”. The area is so historical that its no wonder that the paranormal roam that town. And everyone in that town has a story or knows someone who has had an encounter. Growing up, I always heard the stories of our house over and over again and knew they would great topics for a film. We have an incredible town historian who was able to give me some information on the man that built the house in 1865 and his family that lived there. The stories and the experiences all add up. It’s insane! I only shared some of the information in “Demonic Attachment”. There is soooooooooo much more I want to do with these stories.
iH: There has been a lot of “hype” on the web about your new short, ‘Slit.’ Can you give us any details?
JN: I really, really wish I could, but I can’t. Just know that something is in the works for it, and I am super pumped about it. No one has ever given me a chance like this, and I just can’t wait until we can talk about it!
iH: Jennifer, you have filmed several wonderful shorts over the past couple of years. If you had to pick one short to become a feature which one would you choose?
JN: Had you of asked me this late last year, I would have said “Demonic Attachment” because I have always seen that as a feature. However, my 15 Second Horror Challenge “Case #311” has created quite a buzz around it. Who knew 15 seconds could effect some many people! But is has! It’s been doing great in the film festival circuit, and I had a Producer wanting to know what was next with it. I even had a reviewer tell me straight out that I needed to make it into a feature. I’m currently working on the script for it.
iH: Do you have anything new in the pipe-line for the remainder of 2016?
JN: My next two projects I can’t talk about…. NDAs. However, I have to say this has been the most exciting year for me yet! I also have been writing a lot – so more short films in the works!
Jennifer, thank you so much!
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