I recently had the chance to interview narrator/director George Popov about their new horror film Sideworld: Damnation Village, which presents viewers with a look into one of the most cursed areas of the UK. In this interview we discuss history, shadows of the past and the means and measures of storytelling. I hope you enjoy.
Q: Why focus on villages other areas with creepy pasts?
GP: In our research these three villages got mentioned often as the most haunted in the country. Pluckley and Prestbury especially quite famously compete for that title. Eyam was very intriguing with it’s history of the plague providing and a backstory and a possible explanation for the paranormal activity there.
Q: What Inspired This Sequel?
GP: Exploring Haunted Villages has been on our list of Sideworld topics almost from the beginning. The decision for it to be the third one in the series seemed very easy to me. The atmosphere and colours I was imagining for the documentary were complementing our first two features very well and it felt like a very natural completion of the first trilogy. Going from natural settings like Forests and Sea to something man-made and community driven, it established a needed new angle to Sideworld while still in rhyme with the previous films.
Q: What Was Your Message With This Sequel?
GP: We deal a lot with the impact of the legacy of events and the weight of history. In a great way that continues the topics about repetition and lingering that we have started in the previous film. However now we delve deeper in those themes, both in terms of folk horror and in science and history.
Q: Do You Think Buried Underneath The Surface Of Every Village There Is A Ghost Story?
GP: Wherever there are humans, there will be stories. it’s inevitable. The more closed local community of a village preserves those stories very well. I think, however that there are some locations where ghost stories and encounters are more prevalent, and that may be due to a lot of other external factors. That notion is a big part of our exploration in the documentary.
Q: Do You Have Any Funny Stories From The Production?
GP: Quite a few, yes. It was a very adventurous production as always. I can be here all day retelling even just one of them, but let’s say a lot of them involved nature doing extraordinary things for us to get some great footage. We also crossed paths with some really cool characters in the villages and twice we literally stumbled into an amazing hidden location.
Q: What Locations Will You Try And Tackle Next If There Is A Fourth Sideworld Film?
GP: More Sideworld is coming and we have a long list of potential topics and locations that we’re very excited to explore. It has been a crazy first year for Sideworld and making three feature films in that time was a new and amazing experience. Now I’m enjoying this stage of being able to stop for a second and look at what we’ve done and make sure those films can reach as many people as possible. But I’m even more excited for us to look at the next stage and implement our many ideas for the future of the franchise.
Q: Any Word Of Wisdom For Aspiring Filmmakers Gleamed From Your Time Working On This Film?
GP: You can allow yourself to be confident in your abilities once in a while. Sometimes. Maybe.
If you would like to check out Sideworld: Damnation Village it is available to rent or buy over on Amazon Prime Video.
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