A supernatural thriller about the first year of motherhood.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Shoshana Rosenbaum
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
After writing for years, I was ready to take one of my stories off the page and onto the screen. I had been thinking about this story since I was pregnant with my first child, and it lent itself to being a low-budget short that I could produce myself, locally. The script had a staged reading as part of the DC Shorts Film Festival Screenplay Competition, and the way the actors and audience responded to the material gave me the confidence that it could become a film.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
If you are into stories grounded in the real world, with magic and the supernatural lurking around the edges, you’ll probably like this. Or if you like horror but prefer creepiness and dread to gore, this is a film for you. If you want to see a film written, directed by and produced by women, with complex and interesting female characters who have agency, check it out. Finally, if you’ve had the intense experience of caring for a young baby, you may find a lot you can to relate to!
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The idea of changelings -- mothers believing their babies have been replaced with look-alike creatures -- appears in the folklore of various cultures. When my oldest child was an infant, I kind of got it – babies are wonderful, but they can also seem incredibly alien. The first year of motherhood wasn’t an easy time for me. In the early months, before babies smile, they can really only communicate by crying, and they sleep in little spurts. Caring for a baby can be pretty isolating, and combined with sleep deprivation, the whole experience can be a little crazy-making. Postpartum depression is also more common than we realize. Adding a magical/supernatural layer to this makes it even more interesting.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
I developed the script for a couple of years with the help of two women in my writer's group, one of whom became a co-producer on the film. I just kept honing the story until it could be well-told in 15 pages: character development, plot, pacing. Once we went into production, there were lots of instances where great ideas from the cast and crew brought the story more fully to life.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The Goblin Baby has really resonated as a feminist horror film, especially at festivals like Stranger With My Face in Hobart, Australia; Citizen Jane in Columbia, Missouri; and Final Girls Berlin. It also strikes a chord with people who have had an infant in their lives at some point (especially a colicky one!) I figured it would resonate with moms, but I’ve been struck by how many dads have told me it taps into their parenting fears.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I like supernatural stories, so I was surprised by how many people thought the film was squarely about postpartum depression. It works either way.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I’m developing a feature based on this short. My hope is to find partners and collaborators for the feature, as well as continue to build an audience for my work. Also, I think the film has something to say about the experience of parenting a young baby, and I’m happy for more people to come across it who can relate.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
I’m actively seeking a producer for the feature version. I’m also happy for the short to continue to play in festivals, and for journalists to write about it – I want the film to continue to connect with audiences.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I’d like the film to be part of the larger effort to get more content by and about women on screen. People of all types need to see their experiences – fears and anxieties included – reflected onscreen. And I think it’s healthy as a society to explore, through art, the feelings we’re not “supposed to” have.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Why do you think stories about changelings occur across cultures?
Would you like to add anything else?
Thank you for including us – We Are Moving Stories is an awesome project!
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
One of The Goblin Baby’s co-producers, Robin Noonan-Price, also produced my most recent short, Hide and Seek – which reunited much of the crew, including production designer Trystin Kier Francis, casting director Martha Karl, and composer Nyles Lannon.
Another co-producer, Via Bia, is on the festival circuit with a short she directed, These Colors Don’t Run.
The Goblin Baby’s lead actress, Oriana Oppice, recently directed a short narrative film about the Women’s March called Leia’s Army – I can’t wait to see it!
Interview: September 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
The Goblin Baby
A supernatural thriller about the first year of motherhood.
Writer/Director/Producer: Shoshana Rosenbaum
About the writer, director and producer:
Shoshana Rosenbaum is based in Washington, D.C. The screenplay for the feature version, THE GOBLIN CHILD, was named to The 2017 Bitch List.
Key cast: Oriana Oppice, Joe Brack, Kathryn Browning, Tonya Beckman
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): producer for feature version
Social media handles:
Funders: crowdfunded on Indiegogo
Where can I see it in the next month? Locavore Film Series at Arlington Cinema Drafthouse in Washington, D.C. on October 11: