Interview: ‘GIRL’S NIGHT’ Director David Teixeira
David Teixeira is a filmmaker who was born in France and has lived most of his life in Portugal. In 2012 he co-created a documentary for TV about migration and the idea of comfort for the people who travel called “HABITAT” that premiered on national television in Portugal and was officially selected on a film festival in Spain.
Since then he migrated to France to live in Paris. In 2016 he decided to live in Bordeaux – where he was born – and he started to write, produce & direct his first horror short-film “Girls Night“. “Girls Night” has been selected to some film festivals such as Video Nasty Film Festival in Seattle, Stockholm Independent Film Festival and Midsummer Scream Film Festival in LA and has received the honorable mention at the London x4 Seasonal Shortfilm Festival. David finished working on its sequel “Girls Night 2” which will come out later this year, on Halloween. After a while he decided to start writing a feature film which, for now, is called “Lorem Mortuis“. On a blocking moment while writing his latest script, David filmed an experimental horror short called “ECHO” which is now online and available publicly on Youtube and Vimeo.
We asked David a few questions about horror filmmaking and the Girl’s Night series.
Give us a quick introduction to yourself and the Girls Night series.
Well I’m originally from France but I’ve been raised in Portugal and lived there most of my childhood life until my 25 years old. I have a licence degree in Filmmaking and I’ve always been fond of arts in general but especially visual ones. In 2013 I migrated back to France and since then I’ve been working on and off and trying to write and direct some of my own personal work. Since last year I focused my passion into the horror genre which I always loved and wanted to explore.
Girls Night came about after a long hiatus on the filmmaking experience since I had no right opportunities and other works got in the way of having time to do it. I decided to rewrite a script I wrote back in 2010 and Girls Night was born in this moment when I was spending time with my family and creating back and forth a story that I was able to do without any budget. So I adapted my script to this idea and I got right on it without thinking much of the consequences and it was hard to do by myself but it was hugely rewarding. It opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities.
You’re following a long tradition of horror films set around Halloween – what helped you make that decision?
This decision was made genuinely while writing the script. I wanted to make sense to an arc of the story where we see for the first time the killer with a mask. I wanted it to be plausible that someone might be lurking around the house with a mask because it was Halloween night. It was a no brainer.
Your filmmaking influences have included Wes Craven and Osgood Perkins. Tell us about how their work helped the creation of the films.
Girls Night was originally a web series about urban legends. After a while I decided to do a short film where I presented the legend of Bloody Mary and I wanted to create a supernatural kind of vibe to it making the killer as a true horror form not really someone behind the mask. That was the idea. One of my favorite scenes in slashers is the opening scene in Scream with Drew Barrymore. I thought that the film went south a bit after that even thought I love the saga. That specific scene was so scary for me at the time – and still is – that I wanted to do that, to pay homage to it in some way. Wes Craven wanted the audience to think that the character of Drew was the final girl in the movie. I think in some way, I wanted to do the same with the audience for Girls Night. I wanted to make people react with which one or which ones might survive.
Osgood Perkins was a great discovery for me and his work influenced me on how minimal the feeling of terror and dread can be transported on screen without any jump scares. I love how just a hallway in a school basement is scary. He is such a great filmmaker.
We’re part of the Women in Horror campaign, so it’s great to see three female actors in leading roles! Was this important to you when creating the films?
Definitely. I wanted to write a story about girlfriends being themselves and having fun with each other like they are in the real world. They needed to be the usual next door girl you might meet on the street with a lot of personality. I always had a sensibility with female characters. I needed them to be unique and real in their own way.
Do you feel that the Girls Night series goes against some of tropes associated with women in horror?
I think so. I wanted the characters to be as real and close to the viewer as possible. I wanted the audience to feel empathy for them… Each character is based on a real girl. I mean, I wrote the script thinking about these three girls on screen. They aren’t actresses and I wanted them to go out of their comfort zone but I wanted them to feel good on set and on screen. I didn’t want to denigrate in any way women, I wanted them to have their own personalities that they felt comfortable with.
Do you expect there to be more installments in the series in the future?
For now I don’t think so. Girls Night 2 is going to be released soon on Halloween night on YouTube, Vimeo and Amazon Prime. Some people ask me when the 3rd installment is coming out but I think I need to focus on something else. There are a lot of stories that could be explored within the Girls Night universe but right now I’m focusing on something else. I would love to come back though. If someone could help me out to create a feature of Girls Night I wouldn’t say no!
Do you have any other horror projects in the works we should look out for?
I’m working on a feature right now called Lorem Mortuis. It’s a pure horror slasher. It goes darker then Girls Night. I’m really excited for it but I’ve not yet finished writing the script so it might take a while… Other than that I directed an experimental horror short called ECHO which is out now on YouTube and Vimeo. I’m really excited for the release of Girls Night 2 this Halloween. I can’t wait to share it with fans from the first one.