I always thought that having a banned book would be cool.
Manchester's mother/son team of Gabriella and Salem Kapsaski want to bring you out to the fringes of your comfort zone.
Gabriella Kapsaski speaks of her lineage saying "We are a family with a film/theatre/writing background." Emphasis on the family . Her father Sokrates Kapsaski wrote the award-winning Greek translation of Ulysses on the highbrow end of things. He also directed 13 Greek films, one of which was eventually released in America as The Hot Month of August. This particular film was designated as "Corrupt and immoral; a picture without scruples (-The Morning Call)" and "Full of sex and evil (-New York Daily News)" due to an unauthorized repackaging of the story from the famed female sexploitation director Doris Wishman. The trailer alone for The Hot Month of August is so sordid you must confirm your age to view it on Youtube.
Of her prolific parent Gabriella Kapsaski says "My father was a Greek writer and film director/producer and also the Greek translator of James Joyce 'Ulysses', so creating and being interested in Arts was always a natural thing in our life and my kids grew up with literature and films." Gabriella expresses herself through poetry and in 2000 published her book Avti i Grigori Fthora Tis Sarkas .
"I worked in theatre for years," Gabriella says. "Mainly Anti-Theatre, Fringe and of course Ancient Greek Drama. And I had done some film work." Her involvement with all these energies translated over to her son Salem who began filming in earnest at the first opportunity. Salem's first award winning short film My Head Hurts was shot in only one week... and Salem was 13 years old!
"Salem got his first film camera at the age of 8 and made his first film at 13." tells his mother. "Salem studied Sound Engineering before he studied at the New York Film School. We worked together in theatre for years, but also separately. When Salem showed me his script for Spidarlings in 2011 I decided to produce the film and the journey began."
Spidarlings evolved into a prismatic horror musical of friendship, drag performances and serial killers expressed through story, song and animation. It included the support of Lloyd Kaufman of Toxic Avenger fame whose entertainment service Troma Now began streaming the film in July. "Uncle Lloyd" also makes an appearance in the picture as a whacked out spider salesman who adds to the bonkers plotline.
Gabriella told me, "We financed the film on our on and did a lot on our on. Being in Fringe Theatre so many years gives you the ability to face and overcome a lot of obstacles and find solutions, so I actually like to say that we are making 'Fringe Cinema'."
The Kapsaski family isn't slowing down.
"We are currently about to finish our next project Films Confiscated from a French Brothel, an anthology of silent black and white films with a group of filmmaker friends" says Gabriella. "A funny approach to vintage stag films and Salem and I both direct one segment. We have a number of scripts and projects lined up."
If directing an avant garde 1920's style erotica film with your mother sounds strange then you don't know Salem Kapsaski or his predilection for all manner of controversial subject matters. Salem wrote a novella titled "Nazi Sniper" in the wake of a real life mass shooting that occurred at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. Salem says "Because the book deals with themes of xenophobia and fascism and because of the swastika on the cover there has been some confusion about the meaning of the book."
He clarifies, "It's more of a thriller and character study of an assassin than a book about Nazis. I wanted to write something that went a little bit deeper than just 'Nazis are bad, m'kay?'."
Salem goes on "There are some parallels in the story to Dylan Roof and Joseph Paul Franklin. But mostly I believe it is a book about obsession and how one generation poisons the next. I wanted it to feel like a 70's exploitation movie in the vein of Fight for Your Life and Last House on the Left, as well as Italian police thrillers."
"Amazon pulled the book several times and it is now banned from being sold in the UK, Germany and Austria. I always thought that having a banned book would be cool. But I soon discovered that having a book banned does exactly what it is supposed to do-- It prevents people from being able to read it and the book from getting into any stores."
Keep up with the status of all the new Kapsaski projects by following them on social media. And watch their blistering film Spidarlings on Troma Now.
Follow Gabriella Kapsaski on Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/Kapsaski_Bitch
For more on Grabriella Kapsaski: www.imdb.com/name/nm3260168/
Follow Salem Kapsaski on Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/Salem_Kapsaski
Nazi Sniper on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Nazi-Sniper-Salem-Kapsaski