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A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak with documentarian turned horror filmmaker Erin Lovett. It took a personal story combined with reading a lot of horror books and a love for horror films to find her way to her latest project, “The Knowing”. Not so different from “The Babadook” or “Relic,” this short film portrays certain pains dealt with by women that often aren’t brought to the screen through a female lens. They will be shooting the film in June. Please donate today and read my interview with Erin below.
“The Knowing” is about the trauma of infertility and loss – complex emotions that for many, go unspoken. By framing this story in allegorical horror, our talented, experienced and diverse team of storytellers aims to normalize dialogue, and help others realize they are never alone.
Can you share with me about how you came to this project?
My background is in documentary. I’ve been working in documentary for the past 10 years. I’ve always wanted to write a screenplay and I’ve always been drawn to horror. I came to horror as a kid, and I loved it, even into my adult years. I moved to Los Angeles and when the pandemic hit, I started a horror book club with my friends, where we were reading a lot of horror. Over the course of the past two years, I really dove into the genre. I had been setting goals for myself, like reading more, and I read 50 books last year. And I was really writing, reading and pushing myself to learn more. I think you can always keep learning in this industry.
In tandem, I was going through IVF. I started to think about all of the things that women go through that they don’t talk about. I had experienced a loss and it was a very traumatic experience. I was going through this basically on my own. Because of COVID, things are a little different in how they work right now. I had to sacrifice things like work because I couldn’t travel. So I always had to be home, getting the blood work done, getting the ultrasounds, taking the medication, and going to the appointments. It really effected my ability to even tell stories out in the field.
I was home a lot, and I am one who cannot sit still. I have to always be doing something. And so this story came to me. Specifically to me, I had been going through this tragic loss. I really went inward and I didn’t want to talk about it with anyone. After finally opening up to a few friends and hearing their stories, I realized that I’m far from being the only one on this island. There are so many other women who are there with me.
And it just got me thinking about women’s health in general. Regardless if it’s a miscarriage or if it’s menopause, it shouldn’t have to be shrouded in secrecy or shame to some extent. That’s where the seed came from. The elements in the story are very much connected to my life. One of the main characters is an artist, but I like to say she’s multitudes. Like my main character, we’re not just one thing or another. As an artist, she likes to work with stained glass, which I thought would be a very interesting element to play with.
I see that. Stained glass can cut you, make you bleed, but also be a beautiful thing.
Yeah, it provides a kind of lens for a certain part of her life that’s not necessarily seen.
Where do you go from here after you raise the funds?
We now have the money to film it. That’s going to happen in June. We’re working out those details now, and our next plan is to cast in April. We are going to be casting all of the roles, and I’m really excited about that.
What advice would you give emerging female filmmakers about being true to themselves, and bringing personal stories to the screen?
For a long time, I was holding back, and not digging deep enough into what I had to say. I think if you open yourself up and be a little vulnerable, you’re going to find your story, and then you’ll realize a lot of people will connect with it. As a documentarian, I’m always talking to people about the power of sharing your story. I finally had to take my own advice. I felt like I had to be really open about what happened to me because I wanted to be authentic. We’ve seen horror films about infertility, but they usually involve devil babies (“Rosemary’s Baby”). They don’t look at the actual impact it has on women.
I really like your horror film inspirations, “The Babadook” and “Relic”. I love seeing the deconstruction of a woman’s mind on screen. What do you hope people see in this film?
I hope that it opens their eyes to the women around them, and what hidden horrors they might be going through. I think that there is a lot of talk in this nation about women’s reproductive health and it’s a lot of talk from men who have no clue what we go through. There’s a lot to be understood, and I’m hoping to build more empathy and understanding for women. Everyone has a different story here, right? Mine’s just one story, But I hope it empowers others to keep telling their own.
I think it’s a real exciting time for female horror directors. What are your feelings of being a female horror director at this time?
I think it’s really exciting. I’ve definitely been influenced by other female filmmakers in this genre. I feel like women filmmakers and stories are pretty uplifted in this genre. At least so far, that’s been the feeling. Even in the community, it feels very welcoming. Horror typically is comprised of outsiders, people who may not feel like they fit in, but the people who want to be there want you there. They are there for you, so that’s exciting to me. But I think for female filmmakers, horror directors, and genre directors, it’s an exiting place to be because you have so much material to work with. It’s so visual and it’s so emotional. You don’t have to hold back. That is exactly why I want to do that.