close

Feld Films

Chilling Out

Danielle Burgess

DanielleBurgessFeatured
Photo By: Travis Emery Hackett

Chilling Out is where TrunkSpace talks all things horror and genre with those who work in the projects that give us the thrills and chills to keep coming back for more. This time out we’re chatting with Danielle Burgess, star of the new film “Killer Kate!,” which arrives in select theaters and on Digital HD today.

We recently sat down with Burgess to discuss the risk/reward of independent film, the ebb and flow of creativity, and why she was so happy that “Killer Kate!” was the first project she shot upon arriving in Los Angeles.

TrunkSpace: “Killer Kate!” is not the first independent film you’ve worked on. As an actor, is there a bit of a leap of faith involved with signing on to work on an indie, not knowing when (or even if) a particular film will see the light of day?
Burgess: Absolutely. One of the first feature films I was involved in had that exact fate. Everyone worked really hard on it, poured everything into it, and in the end it wasn’t finished, and no one ever saw it. That can be heartbreaking of course. So I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have been part of “Killer Kate!”, something that is actually being seen, and received so well.

TrunkSpace: What was it about “Killer Kate!” and the team behind it that gave you the confidence to jump into the work and take on the character Angie?
Burgess: Everyone involved with “Killer Kate!” is a genuinely good person. I feel like I’ve made lifelong friends. That was apparent to me right away, that these were good people, and people who knew what they were doing, so I had a lot of faith in it from the get go. It was the first thing I ever shot in LA, which felt very fortuitous. It has given me a lot of confidence in the people who are out here making things happen.

TrunkSpace: The thing that interests us most about the world of independent cinema right now is that it seems like the only place where original stories are being told in the medium. Mainstream films are all “Based on…” or “A remake of…” and that is leaving very little room for new POVs. As an actor, is that part of the draw in working on a film like “Killer Kate!”?
Burgess: Absolutely. And the fact that it was a horror film that is female led, and that has a very different depiction of female characters than the genre is stereotypically known for – that was exciting to me. Independent cinema has always been a passion of mine, and there is incredible work being made right now. I love what A24 and Annapurna are doing, and the fact that those movies are being so recognized – it does feel like independent cinema is having this massive comeback.

For the first time, there is the space being made for so many different voices and so many stories that were unspoken or hidden before, so it is really an exciting time to be a part of this industry.

TrunkSpace: For the audience, the most enjoyable part of a movie is the movie itself, but for those involved in the project, we would imagine it is the experience. For you, what will you take away from the production that will stay with you?
Burgess: The relationships. I really made great friends on this set, and that is a special thing.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the work you did in the film?
Burgess: I think it was something very different for me. I hadn’t played a character like this on screen before, and that’s always what I’m looking for – the opportunity for newness.

TrunkSpace: As far as productions go, horror is a genre that, from an outsider’s perspective, seems like it would be a lot of fun on the day-to-day stuff. That said, all of the blood must become a continuity nightmare! For the horror fandom out there, what for you is the most enjoyable aspect of getting to work in the genre?
Burgess: The horror movie scream, hands down!

Danielle Burgess as Angie in the horror film “KILLER KATE!,” a Freestyle Digital Media release. Photo courtesy of Freestyle Digital Media.

TrunkSpace: You’ve worked on some big projects the last couple of years, including “The Deuce” and “The Sinner.” Do you feel like your path has been leading you to this moment – a point where the roles and characters keep getting bigger and meatier?
Burgess: That is definitely the hope. Henry Winkler said it beautifully during his acceptance speech this year at the Emmys.

If you stay at it long enough, the chips come to you.”

I believe that’s true. If you are persistent enough – and even say, stubborn enough – and you have the grit and the grace, a path that’s very non-linear starts to open up.

TrunkSpace: That being said, what do you ultimately hope to accomplish in your career? In the best case scenario of your personal dreams, what does that outcome look like?
Burgess: Consistency and freedom of choice I think are the greatest things you can ask for as an actor. If I am able to choose the roles and projects that I want, and I can be at it for as long as I want, I will be a happy woman.

TrunkSpace: You have other passions, including music and dance. Do you view them all as separate parts of the creative you, or do they all fall under one larger umbrella?
Burgess: I don’t necessarily think of them are separate parts. Humans are just inherently creative beings, and that manifests in so many ways. I used to be hard on myself if I hadn’t written a poem or taken a photo or played my guitar in a while, but it really is an ebb and flow and different mediums come to you when it’s appropriate. But I do feel happier and more myself when I’m singing and dancing. Doing a movie musical would be my dream come true.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Burgess: No way! The mystery and the adventure is what keeps me coming back for more.

Killer Kate!” arrives in select theaters and on Digital HD today!

read more
Chilling Out

Alexandra Feld

AlexandraFeld

Chilling Out is where TrunkSpace talks all things horror and genre with those who work in the projects that give us the thrills and chills to keep coming back for more. This time out we’re chatting with Alexandra Feld, producer and star of the new film “Killer Kate!,” which arrives in select theaters and on Digital HD today.

We recently sat down with Feld to discuss the horror fandom, how her family helped to make “Killer Kate!” a reality, and the reason the film – their first – finished on time and within budget.

TrunkSpace: As you gear up for the official release of the film, what emotions are you juggling with?
Feld: It has been an amazing process to get to this point, but I’m still in producer-mode leading up to the release, so I’m not sure I’ve had time to process the emotions of it all yet. I’m definitely excited for the film to come out and interested to see how it’s received! I’m sure there will be some relief once the film is out but also bittersweet because “Killer Kate!” has been such a part of our lives over the last year. That being said, I’m excited to shift focus and begin something new!

TrunkSpace: You wore multiple hats in bringing “Killer Kate!” to life. How much of your blood, sweat and tears went into making the film a reality? Was there ever a moment when you doubted it would happen?
Feld: I had the wonderful opportunity to produce on this film, my first feature as an actress. As part of the film since early development, I was able to be part of the creative process, including casting, selecting locations and crew, all the way through notes on the edit, which really allows you to get close to a project. We had originally planned to shoot another script last November, but a few months prior to pre-production we decided to put that script on hold due to budget and location constraints and create a new script around our resources. We knew we were going to shoot in November of 2017; we had our director, lead actress, and budget number, so that’s where we began. There was never a moment when I thought the film wouldn’t happen. Our production company, Feld Films, is comprised of myself, my husband (director Elliot Feld), my brother-in-law, David Feld, and my father-in-law, Larry Feld – it’s a true family business, and we work extremely well together. We are a pretty driven bunch and time is valuable, so once we made the decision to shoot, it was going to get done because it had to. We work full-time in the commercial world, so we are used to quick turnaround and working with very strict budgets, which lends itself well to indie filmmaking.

TrunkSpace: Did producer Alexandra and actress Alexandra ever butt heads in terms of what one knew was possible to accomplish and what one hoped was possible to accomplish? How do you find the middle ground between the creative wants and the day-to-day needs on set?
Feld: This is something we were all aware of and tried to set ground rules early on. Once we got to our shoot days, the plan was that I take my producer hat off entirely and just focus on acting, but that was better in theory! (Laughter) It took two days or so to get into our groove and quickly learn that I was most comfortable staying involved in certain parts of day-to-day production life. It’s certainly a delicate balance and something I will continue to learn as I follow this path, but I love being able to use both sides of my brain on set. Having other things to put my energy into also allowed me not to get inside my head as an actor, and it really challenged that “acting muscle” as far as turning it on and off – I loved it!

TrunkSpace: In the film, you play THE killer Kate. Because you were involved in the project on numerous levels, how did you see the character grow from where she was in the early stages of development to where she is in the final cut of the film?
Feld: If I remember correctly, Kate didn’t start out quite as likable or relatable. She was a little harsher and more sarcastic, but not in a fun way. After a few read-throughs with our co-writers, Elliot Feld and Daniel Moya, we all agreed to work on making Kate more authentic. I mean, sure, it’s great to have flaws in the characters, but in this case, you really have to care about Kate and her sister Angie; you have to root for them to get it together because, ya know – family!

TrunkSpace: Independent films are often operating on a limited budget, which means limited time. Did you have to make any on-site adjustments that weren’t in the script that ended up making it into the film, and in doing so, made the film stronger?
Feld: Yes, actually! So, we shot this film in 10 days, with two days of pickups which, if you’re unsure, is an insanely short shoot schedule. We had a director with a strong vision, a DP who loves to try anything, an incredibly talented cast, a rock-star crew, and the best 1st AD one could dream of – it’s this magical combo that allowed us to get our film made on time and on budget.

Alexandra Feld as Kate in the horror film “KILLER KATE!,” a Freestyle Digital Media release. Photo courtesy of Freestyle Digital Media.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the film?
Feld: Honestly, there are so many things, but I am most proud of my family. First off, I got to work with my husband, who’s drive and passion never cease to amaze me, and working together in the actress and director capacity was really special. Next, my producing partner and brother-in-law, David Feld – the level of trust I have with him is next level; he is so good at what he does! Lastly, my mom was the production designer (Stephanie Brewer), my dad the art director (Keith K. Brewer), my brother the prop master (Justin Brewer), and my sister the wardrobe designer (Kevynn Brewer). Looking back on it now, it still feels unbelievable that we had this opportunity to work together in this capacity! We could not have done what we did without the closeness, ease of communication, and intuition that comes with family. Even our dog, Daisy, came to set with us! It was a wonderful, comfortable, positive environment that allowed everyone on set to feel like part of the family.

TrunkSpace: Horror fans are willing to turn out for a film regardless of if they know anything about the film or not. Do you feel like the genre comes with a bit of a built-in audience, and if so, does that put more or less pressure on you with a film like “Killer Kate!” and being accepted by that fandom?
Feld: Oh, man, I think we’ve been totally spoiled by the horror fan community for our first film! I come from a theatre background, and one thing I have always loved about that world is the sense of community and support, and I feel a lot of similarities with our new horror family. I suppose if there is any pressure it’s that I love horror audiences, and I just don’t want to disappoint. Of course, I know our film may not be all horror fans’ cup of tea, and that’s totally cool, because, even still, everyone has been so supportive and enthusiastic, which I’m so grateful for!

TrunkSpace: Aside from making a quality film, do you hope that “Killer Kate!” will open up more doors for you, both in front of the camera and behind it?
Feld: Yes, absolutely! I am an actress, first and foremost, but it’s a tough business. As I mentioned, I began in theatre, but I moved to LA to transition to film, and, after a few years of auditioning for mediocre roles, stereotypes, and reading bad scripts, I realized I needed to diversify and start producing. I took four years off from acting to start from the bottom and learn the behind-the-scenes, so I could jump back in as a producer/actress and have a creative hand in the projects I was a part of. “Killer Kate!” is my first project back in the acting game, and boy, is it good to be back!

(L-R) Alexandra Feld as Kate, Amaris Davidson as Sara, and Danielle Burgess as Angie in the horror film “KILLER KATE!,” a Freestyle Digital Media release. Photo courtesy of Freestyle Digital Media.

TrunkSpace: This is an industry with so many question marks, and often, so much is dependent on the decisions of others. Do you feel like you’ve been able to control your own destiny a little bit in bringing “Killer Kate!” to life?
Feld: Entirely! Again, it’s why I decided to become a producer. I am a creative person, without a doubt, but I am also very business minded, owing in large part to the home I grew up in, where both were of equal importance. It’s also key to be wise with whom you surround yourself and also open to different thoughts and ideas. I was able to have a lot of influence on my role as Kate and the film overall, but I also trusted everyone on our internal team and then the key crew we hired.

TrunkSpace: Super general question, we know, but what’s next? After “Killer Kate!” is released and you’re able to come up for air, what project will you be breathing in?
Feld: Well, my current “day job” is as a commercial producer, so I’m always busy behind the scenes, but we do have a horror short film we are prepping for which Elliot will be directing. Beyond that I really hope to be sinking my teeth into another juicy feature part soon! We have a few scripts in development, so I’m excited to see which one we’ll be diving into next. Keep your eyes on IMDb, and follow me @AlexandraFeld on Instagram for more updates!

Killer Kate!” arrives in select theaters and on Digital HD today!

read more