Interview: Sahna Foley aka Miss Disco Bliss, Creator and Producer of ‘Hellskate’

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Sahna Foley from Hellskatemovie.com

Sahna Foley, who skated derby under the name Miss Disco Bliss, is the creator of the horror film in production, Hellskate. The film is currently raising funding for production in order to create a film about skates, blood and the darkness beyond. Sahna took time out of her busy production schedule to discuss skating, her film and what is so special about the derby community.

FGN: For those who don’t know about Hellskate, how would you describe your film? What were your inspirations?
Sahna Foley:  Hellskate is a female-driven, action horror movie with a touch of comedy.  If I had to compare the tone of the movie, I would say it’s closest to Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof.  As for the style, I like to say it’s a mash up of Tarantino, Rob Zombie and Lady Gaga. Those three artists are also big influences on me.  Music and music videos inspire me a lot also. I wanted to make something that was a bit of a reversal on female victims in horror films. None of the women in this film are weak, even the smaller roles have strength to them. That’s a direct reflection on my experience of what a sport like roller derby can do for a woman’s confidence and I wanted that to show in the characters. It may be a fun popcorn movie, and certainly I don’t take myself too seriously with it, but I feel like I can have that element and still create relatable female characters who not only like to dress up and have crazy makeup, but who are smart, funny and vicious – whether as the good girl or bad girl.

FGN: How did you find your cast? Did you audition fellow roller derby girls?

Sahna Foley: I haven’t cast the film or held auditions yet.  I have cast one actress, along with myself, to play the two leading female roles, but beyond that I am waiting until I get the budget raised to do much more than that.   The supporting and lead roles will be cast with professional actors, because those are the people who can get the job done and who deserve the chance to be hired.  Too many actors struggle to get cast as it is, and as an actor myself, I owe it to them to be true to the craft. That being said, I anticipate a lot of local derby girls and officials making appearances in the background and as featured skaters.

FGN: Which Roller Derby League did you skate with? Did you have a favorite derby position to skate? Have other derby leagues been supportive of your dreams?
Sahna Foley: I skated with Salt City Derby Girls from 2006-2008. I actually skated in their first official bout, eventually becoming one of the team captains and the co-captain of their All-Star/Travel team.  I played Pivot, although I would have loved to have jammed, I didn’t have the discipline to get into the shape I needed to be in to do that well enough.
The derby leagues have been pretty supportive, some more than others. It’s really hard to get in touch with them all, I have reached out to all of the ones in the US I could find, as well as almost all of the others in other countries, personally emailing every single one. I promoted at RollerCon this past summer and everyone I talked to was really excited about it.  I think I did expect a lot more support and it’s been a little frustrating, but I have come to understand that derby is so different than it was when I played.  Social media exploded, the number of leagues exploded, and it seems like every league out there has to constantly be doing some type of crowd funding to stay afloat…so it’s hard to break through all that noise and get people to pay attention, but overall the response has been very positive and I hope the support continues to build along the way. There have been those leagues or individuals who really stand out and have been so amazingly supportive and I cannot express how much that means to me.
FGN: Do you see Hellskate as more of a Halloween horror movie, or more of a year-round Whip It! like film?
Sahna Foley: The movie takes place on Halloween day and incorporates that a bit into the plot, but it’s not as specific to Halloween as say, the movie Trick R Treat. I hope it will be a movie that is revisited every year and placed with people’s annual Halloween movie watch list, but one that is not too out of place to watch in the off season.
FGNWhen will the comic book, Hellskate and Hellskate: Descent be available?
Sahna Foley: We created the prequel comic, Hellskate: Descent, as a way to help build an audience for the upcoming movie.  We didn’t anticipate such a positive and eager response to it! We had so many requests for a sequel, or a full length comic and even a series, that we decided we had to move forward with that.  So the prequel comic is available now, until they run out. The full length comic, which will hopefully be the first in a series, is being created now and I expect it to be finished and available before the movie comes out, sometime later in 2015.  I am really, really excited about it.  The writer and I want to explore some of the supporting characters from the film and some that we had to write out of the script.
FGN: How can our readers get involved with the Hellskate project?
Sahna Foley: Our Indiegogo campaign is running through November 14th, and that’s truly the very best way right now to get involved. Get in touch with your local derby league to let them know about our Indiegogo campaign.  I created a perk just for the leagues, giving them a screener of the movie when it’s ready to host their own event, using it as a league fundraiser and utilizing our horror/indie movie fans and comic book fans.  So, it’s a great perk for the leagues to have the opportunity to make money off the movie and hopefully also gain new fans through our horror/comic fans who want to be among the first to see the movie.  For the comic fans, start contacting your local comic stores and let them know about the Hellskate comics!  Help create the buzz!   I think and hope Hellskate provides a fun way for fans to get involved on the ground level and really become part of the journey.  It’s really about building a community around the movie and the comics.
FGN: Where will you be promoting next?
Sahna Foley: I hope to be promoting at the Sundance Film Festival in January, since it’s pretty much in my own backyard. After that we will continue to show up to the local comic cons and would love to get outside of Utah to other horror or comic cons. Of course, we’ll be back at the roller derby convention, RollerCon, in the summer. We pretty much show up to any event we can, but the comic cons are always the funnest!
FGN: Where is the best place to follow you and the Hellskate film as it develops?
Sahna Foley: All the social media sites are great – we’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Our website is www.hellskatemovie.com and for anyone who donates $25 or more on Indiegogo, we’ll be offering exclusive behind the scenes content for more in-depth looks at our journey.
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