To start things off, can you introduce yourself to the readers?
My name is Vincente DiSanti and I am a filmmaker from Los Angeles, California. I began my career in 2008 working in the development and production of animated feature films such as "Free Birds" and "Rock Dock".
In 2016, I left the animation industry to form my own live-action focused company, Womp Stomp Films, and direct "Never Hike Alone: A Friday the 13th Fan Film" which became a viral hit with over 1.4 million views and counting.
Our team has just finished a highly anticipated prequel "Never Hike in the Snow" which will debut later this year. I am also currently attached to direct the upcoming horror comedy “The Kindness of Strangers” for Circle of Confusion.
What is the best thing about working in horror?
The people. The fans. The artists. The horror community is such a fun group to be a part of and collaborate with.
It's funny to think about a genre so rooted in death and mayhem to be populated by such wonderful people. Filmmaking is a tough business and it is filled with a lot of long hours and hard work.
The people you meet on your filmmaking journey make it the most rewarding and the horror world is filled with lots of great ones.
What inspired you to be an actor?
It's funny. I never intended to be an actor, but I was often encouraged by my teachers and peers to pursue it.
I can't say that I actively pursue roles, but when offered I simply ask myself if I think I am capable and throw caution to the wind.
That said, the more I have acted, the more comfortable I have become with it and recently began trying more serious and challenging roles.
Can you say anything about your movie you have been in?
My first official role was voice acting as an old woman in "Free Birds." I did a lot of stand-in character dialogue back in my animation days. Most early passes of animated films are voiced by the in house crew and like all "scratch" voices, it was supposed to be replaced. Some how, my take survived all the way to the final cut, even beating out a well known actress from Downton Abby.
After that I started doing bit parts in friend's indie films and eventually took on the role of Jason Voorhees in "Never Hike Alone." That was a very big acting challenge, attempting to carry the torch of such a popular character. Luckily for me, I am a huge fan and relied on my passion for the franchise to guide me in the right directions. It took a lot of long walks in the forest and camera testing, but with the help of my stunt double Bryan Forrest, we were able to create a portrayal of the character the fans have seemed to widely embrace, even dubbing it "Ghost Jason".
Since then, acting opportunities in films like The Spirit of Haddonfield, Face of Michael Myers, 13 Fanboy, and others big and small have seemed to follow one after the other mostly through personal connections. It was around that same time I started attending Friday the 13th Part 6 Alumni Vinny Guastaferro's acting class in LA as part of our development of the Never Hike in the Snow project.
Although I very much enjoy acting, studying acting from all these perspectives helps me better understand the actor's struggle as a director. I feel very grateful when I do get the opportunity and often find my experiences acting on set to be much less stressful than when I am directing. Directing requires so many neurons to be firing in your brain at once to manage the whole process, but with acting it feels like a relief to be focused on one singular part of the process.
How did you prepare for the role?
Practice and more practice. I am not a trained actor so I find that repetition and working scenes in rehearsal help me feel confident in front of the camera. Talking with the director is also essential. As a director I know actors like a clear goal and when performing as an actor I can understand why.
Can you tell us about the greatest moment in your film career?
Friday, October 13, 2017. The premiere for Never Hike Alone at the opening night of the Telluride Horror Show. So many amazing things happened that night. After years of hard work it felt like such a big accomplishment to cross the finish line in the way we did.
The screening was sold out, we had a great response, and we walked out of the theater with 40,000 YouTube views within the first few hours. Far more than any video we had ever posted before.
Most of all, Friday the 13th Fans around the world who were lucky enough to catch it were celebrating a new film release instead of lamenting about the downfall of another studio feature. Most who had seen it felt like it was a return to form the franchise has been waiting decades for. As a fan to hear that from fans was a probably the most rewarding thing of all.
What are some of your upcoming projects?
We most recently completed principle photography on a prequel to "Never Hike Alone" called "Never Hike in the Snow." It takes place 3 months prior to the events of Never Hike Alone and follows the story of Mark Hill, a young Crystal Lake resident who goes for a hike in the dead of winter and never comes home. The film welcomes back Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives Thom Mathews in the role of Tommy Jarvis as well as Vinny Guastaferro reprising his in as Rick Cologne who is now the Sheriff.
I am also attached to direct an original feature film titled "The Kindness of Strangers" for Circle of Confusion and Schemers Entertainment, about two serial killers that discover each other on the open road and battle it out until only one is left standing. The script was written by Ian Busch and we are now in beginning stages of development.
Womp Stomp Films also recently began touring our first original short film "Pathosis" and script "Ghost Chicken" to film festivals around the world. We are also co-producers on the upcoming "Jason Rising: A Friday the 13th Fan Film" and "Dylan's New Nightmare: A Nightmare on Elm Street Fan Film."
What was the project you learned the most from?
Never Hike Alone was the biggest challenge in my career. I learned a lot from my time in animation, but the application of all the knowledge I collected was put to the test when making that film. We made a lot of mistakes a long the way but with each one we got a little better as well. By the end of that production I felt like a completely different person and I haven't stopped making films since.
What is the last horror film you saw? What did you think of it?
Being "Safe at Home" in my apartment in LA for Covid-19 social distancing I have been watching A LOT of Shudder for the last month. I recently crossed Peter Jackson's "Bad Taste" off my "way haven't you watched this yet" list and it was hilarious, gross, and so absurdly genius it hurts.
After watching the film, I did some research and learned about how the film was Peter Jackson's passion project. He shot most of it for almost no money and it took years to create. At the time, I am sure everyone around Peter must of thought he was nuts and look at him now. That very much reminded me of my experiences making Never Hike Alone as well as many of the other horror stories my fellow indie filmmakers have shared at film panels over the years. So as an up and coming filmmaker it was a refreshing film to watch for many reasons.
What is your favorite horror movie and why?
Return of the Living Dead. This is funny because this just took over my #1 after rewatching a few weeks ago. For me, it is the best blend of horror and comedy ever put up on screen. Both from a film and writing perspective. On this latest viewing I started to realize how mean Dan O'Bannon was to his characters because no matter how logical, or well intentioned their plans were, things still got got every since time. The the obvious and not so obvious dark humor is sharp from start to finish. Even weeks later I find myself randomly quoting Thom Mathew's famous line "You mean the movie lied?"
My original fear of zombies came from this movie. I had watch the Night of the Living Dead series and loved them, but something about the zombies in this film being unable to die, run, and talk just really freaked me out. Night of the Living dead already had me clouting the number of windows in my house, but Return of the Living Dead made me feel like there was no amount of wood in the world who could keep those zombies out.
If you could work with any actors or actresses who would they be and why?
I would really love to work with Jim Carey, especially in a horror movie.
I have been a big fan of his for a long time and think he has so much range as an actor. He's also a very interesting person with a unique world perspective. I think it would be quite a memorable few weeks hanging around on set with him for sure.
Where can we find out more about you and your work?
www.wompstompfilms.com is our main website with information on every project we have in development as well as links to all of our social media:
What is your personal definition of horror?
Horror is the internal perspective of our fear of death, lessons in which we are know to take that fear for granted, and how overcome it...sometimes.
Favorite country or place?
The camp we found for Never Hike Alone is my favorite place in the world. Finding it was like every 12 year old's "dream fort." The surrounding nature is beautiful and it so very quiet. We've stayed over night there a few times and it is both the most peaceful and terrifying experience you can have. We spend a lot of time up there fixing up the camp to make it a little more safe for people who drop in to look around.
Did you know anything about Sweden?
I know it is a beautiful country and have been quite interested in it due to the Gothenburg metal scene. Many of my high school years from 98-02 were spent listening to a lot of In Flames, Soilwork, At the Gates, and so on. Sweden is one of the primary locations I have made it a point to travel to on my bucket list. A few or our team members are hoping to attend a music festival there at some point as well. (We'd love some good tips!)
Anything else you want to mention?
I just hope everyone is safe and secure during this Covid-19 epidemic. It pains my heart to see so many people struggling. A member of our team just lost their father and I know many other who have been sick or affected by the sickness in more ways than one. I know like most people I am looking forward to the day when we can all get together and make horror again, but until then everyone at Womp Stomp Films wishes the best for everyone in this harrowing time.