12 questions for Kimberly BUSBEE (co-writer and producer of "Haunting Villisca")
- What's the first movie you remember seeing in a movie theatre and how old were you then?
I saw "Old Yeller" when I was
about 6 and it marred my life. I just couldn't accept that they had to kill that wonderful dog. I grieved for
- What's your favourite movie (of all times) so far?
As I write this, it is a tie between "
The Wizard of Oz" and "
Truly, Madly, Deeply". I may change my mind tomorrow
- How long did it take for you to make "Haunting Villisca" from the first idea of making it up to its
premiere on the big screen?
We began germinating the idea in late 1999 and premiered it in Europe January 2009.
- What can you tell us about casting the main characters of "Haunting Villisca"?
We began to brainstorm about the cast years before we shot it. When we decided to "greenlight" the picture, cosmic forces helped bring the
right ensemble together. We had great actors with Iowa/ Midwest ties drawn to the project at exactly the right time. We had a daunting number to cast;
over 80 speaking parts! We saw hundreds of actors at the auditions. In my mind, James was always a clear choice for "David", we had read Kerry
Skram for the role of "Iola" years before and we recently had worked with Chelsea Long on stage and she seemed the perfect "Riley".
Darwin and Marta Linn proved to be naturals as "Darwin" and "Martha". Michael Cornelison even looked like "F.F. Jones" and our
DP (director of photography), Francisco Rodriguez, read against other talented actors for "Rev. Kelly" and was the obvious choice. And, of course,
our good friend GregAlan Williams, agreed to do "Dolan". We were blessed with (as Rev. Kelley says in the movie) an "embarrassment of riches!"
- Where did "Haunting Villisca" premiere?
Its first real premiere was in Vienna at the Breitenseer Lichtspiele. It had a Villisca, Iowa screening in 2008. We are still planning a Midwest
premiere when the DVD becomes available.
- Is there one scene in "Haunting Villisca", you remember, you had to shoot over and over again because
something would go wrong all the time? If yes, which one?
We moved very quickly those 14 weekends and had an exceptionally low shot ratio
(number of takes.) We rarely shot anything more than 3 times. But, the last day we were shooting the blood effects in the house, it was emotionally
difficult to recreate the crime scene gore in the actual house where people died. On top of that, we had a lighting instrument explode which delayed
us and we also were hurrying to get out by midnight, so a paranormal investigative group could come in, so we were really stressed that last night.
- What can you tell us about your next project?
My daughter Kaitlyn Busbee and I are working on a TV pilot for a series called Opened Doors: Glimpses from the Spirit World which we are doing with
the San Diego Ghost Hunters. Kaitlyn shot the footage and I wrote the narrative and directed/produced the episode. We captured some exceptional
paranormal evidence (including EVPs, apparition photos and thermal footage) at the Villisca Axe Murder House and at the Bird Cage Theatre in Tombstone,
Arizona. We are really excited to show everyone!
- What makes it so interesting for you to be a filmmaker?
Telling a good story through vivid imagery and working with talented actors in narrative to accomplish that storytelling is incomparable.
Film actors are artists who use their bodies, minds and spirits in moment to moment action that, along with the seemingly fleeting images,
is captured and can be replayed for posterity. I find that to be contradictory and fascinating.
- What would you be doing professionally if you weren’t working in the film business?
I used to be a professional singer/actress who toured internationally and did USO Shows with a theatre company named Music/Theatre Artists
(M/TA) which I directed.
- What did you like best about Vienna?
I loved the gorgeous, picturesque architecture and beautiful scenery, the palpable sense of history and the kind people.
- Do you think you will visit Vienna (Austria) again sometime? If yes, for business or pleasure?
Absolutely I will return, and for both pleasure and business (since I try to allow them to coincide.) And soon, I hope
Kaitlyn and I would love
to shoot an episode of "Opened Doors" in Austria! There must be hundreds of haunted sites to investigate in a country with such a rich history
- Can you imagine ever shooting a movie in Vienna?
I would love to shoot a feature film there as well! It is a visual delight!