Please introduce yourself.
My name is K. I am a British filmmaker with a Pakistani background, and I write, direct, and produce my own work, as well as doing many other roles. The XI in my name is for ‘11’ because energy and good vibrations are important to me, and the number itself is significant. I studied film theory and a class about text to film adaptations changed everything as I was always a writer, and this transition allowed me to visualize my own work and be the creator of it. In 2007 I created my company Bad Wolf Films by studying and working full-time to buy my own equipment so that I could continue making short films in order to experiment with ideas.
What is it that attracts you the horror genre for your chosen field of creative work?
Chosen is a very interesting word because I think the horror life chose me! I grew up interested in creation stories and death rituals from a variety of different cultures. I watched a lot of horror movies and wrote horror stories as early as the age of 6. I started reading a lot of Carl Jung at the age of 11 and became really fascinated with dream symbolism, archetypes, and the shadow. It all seemed to fall naturally into the realm of filmmaking. I would say that I have always felt spirituality and horror to be connected. Perhaps one of the best visual representations of this idea is the French film Martyrs.
Who inspires you in your work and in life?
I am driven by some great spiritual force. I thought I would be making fun and blood splattered movies like The Evil Dead but the universe had other plans. I always describe my filmmaking process as voodoo-esque. People who inspire me include Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga, Sridevi, Maya Deren, and David Lynch. In fact, David Lynch’s book on meditation, consciousness, and creativity, has recently in the last year, helped me to grow creatively and spiritually after achieving a sense of catharsis when finishing my feature film Black Lake and seeing it travel from festival to festival.
Women in horror have made great strides, but it’s clear that a lot of work is still needed to make it a most inclusive genre. To you, what is the importance of a movement like Women in Horror Month?
For me, the importance lies in the feeling of community. I believe in celebrating the success of others, especially women, as if they were my own. Women have the unique ability to create, whether physically or spiritually, and I think it is important to remember that and highlight that as much as we can. I really felt this when I attended Women in Horror Film Festival last year for the world premiere of Black Lake. It was an incredible feeling of being supported and supporting others.
What would you tell an up-and-coming creative in the world of horror who sees that being a woman/identifying as a women as something that makes it so much more difficult at times?
Do what you love and don’t allow anyone to tell you otherwise. Create healthy boundaries and be fierce.
What are your favorite bits of helpful advice that you have received about your work or your field?
The best piece of advice I have ever received is that you do not need external validation. I believe that you have the power to create and manifest whatever you like as long as the intention is there. Believe in yourself because that’s where it all begins. It can difficult sometimes to differentiate between advice and opinions, so it really is best to stick to your vision and what you want out of your creative work.
In honor of celebrating Women in Horror Month, who do you believe viewers should keep an eye on in terms of the creative ladies in horror?
There are many women creating amazing work. I would like to highlight the works of Ariel McCleese who has an amazing aesthetic and storytelling technique. I had the pleasure of watching her short film The Daughters of Wolbachia at the Women in Horror Film Festival last year, she has since written and directed her short, Hexatic Phase. I’m also excited to see what Jen and Sylvia Soska are working on next.
What do you have coming soon that you can talk to us about?
Black Lake is being released on Amazon Prime UK on March 15th on the new Cine-Excess channel, it is also still on the festival circuit. Black Lake won Best Cinematography at WIHFF and was nominated for four other awards. Despite selling out of the original score on vinyl the day of release, you can listen to it and purchase it digitally on all major platforms. Meanwhile my feature film Maya is back in post-production and will be festival ready by the end of this year. In between all of this I am scripting my third feature and conjuring.
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