Warrenton resident and filmmaker Amy Taylor looks forward to this weekend. Her feature film, Hunter’s Weekend, will be playing at the Loudoun International Film Extravaganza in Chantilly. Filmed in just five and a half days, Hunter’s Weekend is a horror/comedy mockumentary that answers the question, “Who hunts the hunters?”
Taylor’s film follows park rangers Lyle and Victor as they attempt to hold their annual Hunter’s Weekend gathering. But their weekend is disrupted when someone out there doesn’t want to follow the rules. It’s a recipe for mayhem and bloodshed.
Taylor’s love of watching and now making films was fostered by her parents.
“Very early on my parents introduced me to films like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and the Princess Bride. I was hooked,” said Taylor. “For a while, I thought I would become an archaeologist because I was such a fan of Indiana Jones, but eventually I realized that it was the storytelling I was interested in.
“My earliest memory of writing is in second grade when I wrote a Star Wars rip-off, where instead of rescuing a princess, they were trying to rescue a pony. In high school, my mother and I would go to the movie theater in Winchester every weekend, and so even though I majored in Classics for my undergrad at Princeton, it was always in the back of my mind that filmmaking was what I really wanted to do,” said Taylor, who attended Highland School.
Taylor earned her Bachelor of Arts in Classics from Princeton University and holds an M.A. in Classics from the University of Virginia. She also earned an M.F.A. in Screenwriting from Hollins University and an M.F.A. in Film Production from Ohio University.
Taylor, admittedly armed with way too many degrees, moved to Los Angeles where she spent several years as a director for the PBS/Hulu series Just Seen It. At the same time, she wrote and directed the web series Jess Archer Versus and wrote “The Big A,” which was selected in 2017 to be part of Bloodlist IX, a list of all the best un-produced genre scripts of the year. The script is currently optioned to become a major motion picture.
Hunter’s Weekend, Taylor’s directorial feature premiered at the Days of the Dead horror con in Chicago and is currently making the festival rounds.
Taylor’s fascination with the horror genre also started early. She was a fan of The X-Files and loved reading Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
“Horror has always appealed to me,” said Taylor who is drawn to this genre because of the possibilities for interesting female characters.
“Horror had characters like Ripley and the concept of the final girl - women who weren't just wives or girlfriends, but who fought back and had their own motivations and desires outside of the male characters,” said Taylor. “So really what intrigues me most about the genre is that it's a great place to explore issues that women face - everything from pay inequality to post-partum depression to bodily autonomy - in a way that's super entertaining even while it's making a serious point.”
When asked about her most satisfying project so far, Taylor talked about the web series, Jess Archer Versus, which is available on You Tube.
“That was very satisfying because I love the characters and it was exciting to see them come to life,” said Taylor.
“But, my most satisfying project, however, is probably Hunter's Weekend,” said Taylor, “[it] is my first feature film and actually having a project of that magnitude under my belt feels like a huge accomplishment. It was a super low-budget film and couldn't have happened without the collaboration and trust of the cast and crew. We had all worked together before (in film school and on Jess Archer Versus) and being able to build on those relationships was extremely satisfying,” she said.
So, what’s next for this budding filmmaker?
“A script that I wrote was recently optioned and they already have directors attached, so I'm hoping that will film sometime early next year,” said Taylor, who unable to divulge details until an official announcement is released.
In the meantime, she’s written a post-apocalyptic romantic comedy that she will be directing. “That will probably film next year as well,” she added.
Taylor is quick to list her parents as her biggest fans. They and friends have been very supportive of her filmmaking path.
“But more generally, fans of my work tend to be people who grew up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and enjoy that type of snarky comedy along with their horror,” said Taylor, who hopes that her Warrenton fans will flock to Chantilly this weekend to find out what happens on Hunter’s Weekend.
Reach Anita Sherman at firstname.lastname@example.org