Interview: Director Sarah Adina Smith Talks HOLIDAYS Segment ‘Mother’s Day’

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SHOCK talks to director Sarah Adina Smith about her work in horror anthology HOLIDAYS.

Sarah Adina Smith made quite an impression with her film THE MIDNIGHT SWIM, an indie horror film that established Smith as an up and coming filmmaker to watch out for. In HOLIDAYS (now in theaters), Sarah tackles Mother’s Day, a look at pregnancy and a segment that really raises its air share of issues. We spoke to Sarah regarding “Mother’s Day” and what it meant to her.

SHOCK: The subject of your segment was incredibly interesting to me, what inspired you to take Mother’s Day on and to tell the specific story you chose to tell?

SMITH: For the vast majority of human history, women have had little to no control over when and how they became pregnant. In many cultures they were treated as property, raped by their husbands, sentenced to a lifetime of perpetual pregnancy, had to watch as most of their children died from disease, until finally, mercifully, maybe they bled out giving labor and died themselves. I wanted to make a film about the primal fear of motherhood to remind us of the not-so-distant past when this was the reality for most women.

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SHOCK: your lead was incredible, did you have her in mind when brainstorming the film or was she someone you decided on in the casting process?

SMITH: Sophie is an incredibly smart actor and a very deep soul, we were so lucky to find her. In truth, I wrote the part for Kate Lyn Sheil but she wasn’t available. It all works out the way it should, because that lead me to Sophie and I got to work with Kate in my latest film, Buster’s Mal Heart. So I got the best of both worlds.

SHOCK: I love films, whether short or long-form, that cause you to think. The debate between pro-choice and pro-life is still a debate that seems to happen just as much today as it ever has in the past. Was it your intention to take a good bit horrific look at just that with your segment?

SMITH: I don’t know if I was necessarily trying to spark debate because I don’t think there’s anything to debate about. Every woman has the right to choose whether or not to be a mother. Anything less is slavery. Women have been terminating their pregnancies ever since women first started getting pregnant. Some animals kill their babies when they don’t feel the time is right. I think it’s natural and right. So I liked the idea of starting with a character who is perpetually pregnant and perpetually terminating her pregnancies. It’s not presented as a question of right or wrong, it’s just presented as her reality.

SHOCK: What’s next for you?

SMITH: I’m in post on my next feature Buster’s Mal Heart, starring Rami Malek, Kate Lyn Sheil, and DJ Qualls. It’s about a mountain man on the run from authorities who survives the winters by breaking into empty vacation homes. It’s my first film with a male protagonist and it has been such a pleasure to explore the other side of the coin.