"Communication with a talented and enthusiastic crew is essential." Krystal Heib
What was your path into the film industry?
I've always had an affinity for acting which lead me to do theatre throughout college. After graduating in 2009, I started acting in the Kansas City (MO) film community and had my first supporting role in the feature film, "American Maniacs." Since then, I immersed myself in film groups like the Independent Filmmaker's Coalition of Kansas City and the KC Women in Film and Television while taking acting classes. Not only did I act in front of the camera, I helped behind the scenes with film crews on multiple sets. In working with experienced and knowledgeable filmmakers, such as Partick Rea, I observed the many aspects of film and grew as an actor and filmmaker. I eventually decided to produce and direct a script called "Weenies," a cute comedic film about three college kids who go ghost hunting. I learned a lot from producing and directing my first film and told myself I would never do both again. Which is really quite funny considering I ended up writing, producing AND directing my second and most recent film, "Jasmine." This was a big project that I put a lot of hard work and preparation in which has been quite a rewarding experience.
We really enjoyed your entertaining short film, "Jasmine". Can you tell us a little about the project.
The idea for "Jasmine" came from my Executive Producer, Matthew Scarlett, who is also the Chief Editor of the horror division for Harren Press (www.harrenpress.com). We met at a coffeeshop last January on a whim just catching up and he had this idea for a script and we just ran with it and brainstormed on the spot. I was struck with motivation and wrote the script the very next day. The main character, Jasmine, is a very mysterious, beautiful and powerful entity and during the film, you don't actually see her face until the right moment. I knew I needed and actress who exudes that presence and the only person I had in mind is our lead played by Jasmine Abou-Kassem. Funny story, when first promoting the film, people who knew her assumed the film was about the actress. Yes, the film is named after Jasmine the actress because I knew I wanted her in the film so her name stuck as the working title and inevitably became name of the film. I had Jasmine read the script and to my excitement she was on board. Next, my Director of Photography, Christopher Commons (who shot my first film, "Weenies") got on board and we had to quickly set up the date for principle photography based on his schedule. After that, everything was a blur with having to quickly set up auditions, locations etc.
The pace of the film turned out as a reflection to the lead character, driven, calculated and in her own time. The horror aspects sprinkled with comedic flare definitely shows my personality through the script and it is amazing to see how the cast and crew brought it to life. I hope the audience has as much fun with it as it is intended. I want them to see a glimpse of Jasmine's world and what is to come.
Which role are you most comfortable with on set?
I will be completely honest in saying that I am most comfortable in front of the camera on set. This is mainly because I have been acting for a longer period of time and have a lot more experience in this aspect of film. That isn't to say that I don't enjoy directing because I definitely do! I get extremely focused on set directing and the feeling of creating a film you are proud of is a rush like no other. I will say that my next film I would like an experienced producer by my side so I can just focus on directing instead of doing both. That is sometimes the name of the game in Independent film so I am grateful for having to do various roles at the same time.
Do you have a favorite film genre?
My favorite film genre to watch is horror and have been a big fan since I was a child, with my favorite film being "Night of the Living Demons." I also have an affinity for SPX makeup and I believe Eli Roth did such an amazing job directing "Hostel" which is one of my favorites to watch. However, I seem to gravitate toward more comedy driven stories in my writing and have been doing more comedic acting in film projects lately.
What piece of advice would you give to filmmakers making their first film?
My advice to filmmakers producing or directing their first film would be that you cannot have too much pre-production. I believe that everyone on your crew needs to be informed on every aspect of the process. Communication with a talented and enthusiastic crew is essential. That way when things do go awry on set (they inevitably will because it's film) solving those problems will be quicker and filming much more efficient.
Can you tell us what to look forward to you in the near future?
As far as "Jasmine" goes, I will be attending Scream in the Dark in Omaha, NE the weekend of October 16-18 where it will be screening. The film will also be screening at Fright Night Film Festival (Louisville, KY) and the Tri-Cities Film Festival (Richland, WA) the same weekend with many more festivals in the upcoming future!
Also, the editors at Harren Press and I are looking into possibly continuing Jasmine's story either through an anthology or (in a perfect world) a webseries. I have taken a step back from to get "Jasmine" through the film festival circuit and will get back to brainstorming in the near future.
As far as acting goes, I have a few projects that will be premiering or in production in January. One of which, "Top Coat Cash" directed by David Tittone will have a trailer out soon and have a Kansas City premiere next Spring 2016. Next January I am thrilled to be a part of a new television series called "Midget Mafia," a comedic mock reality show directed by Patrick Rea (SenoReality Productions) in which I play Gabby. Both productions can be found on Facebook.