Myth Creation: Local director Elza Kephart seeks film funding

Local filmmaker Elza Kephart is on a crowdfunding campaign for her Biblical fantasy epic, Go in the Wilderness. She talks to us about the project and why it deserves your cash.

Local filmmaker Elza Kephart’s first feature, zombie flick Graveyard Alive, screened at over 20 international festivals and won a cinematography prize at the Slamdance fest. Now she’s completing her follow-up, Go in the Wilderness, and has less than two weeks to go on a crowdfunding campaign to finance post-production.

Go in the Wilderness is quite a departure from the marauding undead of her debut: it’s a retelling of the Biblical myth of Lilith, the rebellious first mate of Adam. But to Kephart the difference isn’t that drastic. “There isn’t really a term for it in English, but I consider myself a cinéaste fantastique — creating a surreal film with unnatural or mythical characters,” she says. “I find horror movies are sort of like modern myths.”

The germ of the idea came to Kephart years ago. “I was in college and doing a research paper on the history of the devil,” she recalls. “I’ve always been interested in dark, occult, esoteric subject matters. I found a book [Maximillian Rudwin’s The Devil in Legend and Literature], and there was a chapter on the myth of Lilith, which I’d sort of heard of because of [feminine music fest] the Lilith Fair. She was kicked out of the Garden of Eden because she didn’t want to submit to Adam’s rules, and ended up having relations with Satan, so I was interested in that,” she laughs.

A decade after this inspiration, Kephart’s take is a minimal story with only four characters. “Because there isn’t a lot to the myth, I had a lot of leeway,” she explains. “A lot of people write Lilith as a demon, and I was more interested in how she learns how to survive in the outside world. It’s like a coming-of-age story.”

The film was shot entirely in the Quebec wilderness, on the north coast of the St-Laurent and in the Charlevoix region. With shooting entirely in the can and editing well underway, Kephart intends to use her requested funds to pay for a sound mix and original soundtrack.

With a lot of filmmakers out there seeking funds, I ask Kephart why film fans should support her project in particular. She steps up to the plate with a spirited pitch: “It’s a story that’s never been told on film. It’s a totally novel take on the myth of creation, and there aren’t that many fantasy films being produced in Quebec, so it supports a different kind of Quebec cinema. And I don’t wanna play the ‘woman filmmaker’ card, but the sad reality is that here, only 10-20% of women get financing for producing features.” ■

GITW Teaser from Bad Seed Pictures on Vimeo.


The Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for Go in the Wilderness ends Nov. 14. Check out the project’s Indiegogo page and official website. The film is also in competition to be Indiewire’s project of the week; you can vote for it here before 11am today, Monday Nov. 5.

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