Ubiquitous Horror was able to grab a moment with film industry’s renaissance woman on the rise, Rakefet Abergel. Whether it’s producing, directing, writing, or acting, Abergel seems to do it with ease, and we horror fans are just fortunate enough to have her in our genre, even though that wasn’t her initial intent, “I fell into horror by accident”. Believe it or not, the creator and star of the short film Jax in Love had this to say about it, “I didn’t think that Jax in Love was a horror, but it seems it is!” Lucky for us!
Btw, if you haven’t seen it yet, seriously, what’s wrong with you? You can read my review of it here and watch the full short here, and while you’re at it, watch the trailer for Boo, you won’t regret it! Go on, now, go watch it. We’ll wait here for you.
Welcome back. After mistakenly creating a horror short, Abergel could’ve corrected the mistake by removing horror completely from her next project, but no, instead she decided to embrace the darkness and create Boo, a short film that she not only wrote but also starred in and directed, “…I wanted to make an “intentional horror” movie so that I could revisit the festivals and friends that I found through Jax.” With Abergel staying on the scene, we’ll get to enjoy the bloody wickedness of her creative mind, which is a win for us all.
“I love the horror film making community! I didn’t want to stray from it just yet.”
While most film makers want to create something based on what they’ve seen in the society around them, Abergel says that her personal life seemed to creep its way into her films. Both Jax in Love and Boo held a similar aspect, love. But why is this? Abergel states that this is due to how important love has been in her life. Her personal journey for love is what caused it to bleed onto the screen of her films. In Jax in Love, Jax seems to be constantly searching for the perfect companion, while in Boo, Devi seems to have already found love but is struggling to keep it. Abergel’s use of love and secrets helped to create two very relatable characters. This is a great point for those who are aspiring writers, it’s important to write what you know because it gives life to your characters.
Writing a script and making sure it becomes a film is hard enough, but when you write, produce, star in, and direct, things could get even more stressful. It can’t be easy to stay confident with the work you’ve created, and that was the case with Jax in Love. Viewers may have watched it and loved it from start to finish, but like many creators out there, Abergel found things that she wanted to do differently. In particular, her portrayal of Jax, “I intended for Jax to have more of a child like quality which I don’t think I fully realized while performing the role and trying to produce at the same time. It was definitely a learning experience.” One that she seemed to perfect by the time she created Boo. Looking back on the production of Boo she said, “As far as Boo, I don’t think I would do much differently. I’m pretty happy with it and I definitely think it’s better than Jax which is a good thing because I always strive to improve.” This can be seen in the creative process. Clearly, Jax in Love gave Abergel the experience she needed to push Boo to the screen faster. She explained that from “script to screen” Boo took a total of 7 months, which was a faster process than Jax, but this was mainly due to her determination to get the film completed in time for certain festivals. However, the production of Boo was faced with its share of hiccups. The biggest being gaining the permits needed to film, but thanks to a personal friend of Abergel’s they were able to get the help they needed to get Boo off the ground. Abergel also mentioned that a tight budget made things particularly difficult, but she took on the challenge of crowdfunding all by herself, which took six weeks. She then stated, “We got lucky with most of our crew, but we did have to deal with a learning curve. Mine included.”
“Thank you to all those that shared and contributed! It would have been for nothing without you.”
Abergel couldn’t’ve been more right about the crew she had for Boo. Both cast and crew for the film are incredibly talented and Abergel noted, “We’re also really proud to say we had a cast and crew of over 50% women…”, a fact many film makers can’t say. She wanted to help women get into the film industry and genre when they would otherwise be looked over. Looking at the horror genre, we mostly see women being portrayed as the half-naked ditz that is usually hunted down and slaughtered, or if we are lucky enough to see a female protagonist, we will have plenty of close ups on her chest and ass to show that she might be smart enough to out run a killer, but the story can’t continue unless we objectify her throughout it. It’s a disappointing truth. Thankfully, people like Abergel are going out of their way to ensure that women are seen for their strengths and talents, in front and behind the camera. “It was really important to hire as many women for our crew as possible because I wanted this to be a project that created opportunities for me and for other women as well. I embraced the, women in film and women in horror missions to the fullest extent possible.”
“If women won’t hire women, then how can we demand that men should?”
But how does one on a tight budget land such an awesome cast and crew? For Abergel, it was a matter of knowing the right people and making friends with those who truly believe in your work. Networking people! There were a handful of people she already knew she wanted for the film such as, Laura Slade Wiggins (Shameless), Parisa Fitz-Henley (Luke Cage), Michael Villar (Amy’s in the Freezer), and Ned Thorne. But here is where her networking really came in handy, Parisa Fitz-Henley suggested Josh Kelly, Ned Thorne brought in Marshall Langohr, and the two of them recommended Alex U. Griffin. With this she gathered a cast and crew that she considers to be, “…Amazing…helpful…kind…beautiful…and talented…”
Abergel was asked if there was any advice she would be willing to give to those who are aspiring to work in the film industry and this is what she had to say,
“Run! Just kidding…umm. I would say learn as much as you can about what you want to do. Offer to help out on sets or in pre-production. Offer to shadow someone. Intern. Be a production assistant or a background performer. Anything to get you meeting people and doing and learning things about your chosen path.”
So, what does the future look like for Rakefet Abergel?
Currently, she is working on a supernatural horror feature, which was originally a short called, New Mom. Also, we can all look forward to a feature length version of Boo, and there is chance that Jax in Love will be turned into a web series, but once those are complete, she will be focusing on another short called, Dancing with Strangers. Abergel is even diving into her family history for a film, “[I’ve been] researching my parents’ story of how they met and fell in love on a kibbutz in Israel during the Yom Kippur War in the 1970’s. I’m hoping that will be a big sweeping, wartime romance movie.”
Rakefet’s Favorite Horror Movie:
The Sixth Sense. “That twist ending got me so good. And I’m not sure I can make a movie without one now!”