He is the man behind Suffer The Little Children Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Corey Norman: My name is Corey Norman. I’m a college professor by day, horror filmmaker by night. I’ve been working in the industry for close to 16 years. I began in television documentaries, before finding my true passion in creating narrative films. I served as the director on this film, while my wife, Haley Norman, adapted the story for the screen. Together we run a production company called Bonfire Films.
Over the past few years, our work has begun to reach larger audiences. Our first feature film, The Hanover House won several awards on the festival circuit is nearing a release date. Our short film NATAL found its way onto The Invoking 2 anthology film, which will see international release on October 6th through Image Entertainment.
SKSM: When did you make Suffer the little children? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Corey Norman: We shot “Suffer the Little Children” over the course of four days in July 2015 on a budget of $8,500. The thing that most impressed me about this production was the way in which the local community came together to support the making of this film. From the donation of props, food, and filming locations, to the families who brought their 76 child actors to set, this was a true community effort.
SKSM: How come you picked Suffer the little children to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Corey Norman: Suffer the Little Children was the first King film to have literally left me with my jaw wide open. I’ve never believed in pulling punches in my work, and often find myself going where other filmmakers might find themselves turning back. I knew I had to make this film, but there was more to it than simply the shock of the ending. The thing that interested me most about taking this project on was the process of understanding Ms. Sidley. For this film to work on screen, we needed to sympathize with her as a character and understand why she felt her actions were justified. I knew there was only one person that could bring her to life…so I called Anne Bobby.
SKSM: Are you Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Corey Norman: Stephen King has always been my favorite author. The thing that has always drawn me to his work is the depth he puts into each of his characters. I generally feel for them, which makes things all the more horrific as things take a turn for the worst. My favorite King works really fall all over his literary spectrum. I absolutely love Different Seasons, from Apt Pupil to Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, this marks some of the author’s best work. I’ve always found The Shining to be absolutely terrifying, and thought Dr. Sleep was a marvelous sequel. But as a Mainer, I love it when landscapes I know well show up in the story. Having spent my summers in Bridgton, ME, The Mist will always stand out as my personal favorite King novella, as I can’t help put myself in the story.
SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wild guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?
Corey Norman: A lot of King’s programs are pretty well known here in the State, so I had heard mention of it a few times.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Corey Norman: The most memorable moment for me came on the third day of filming. It was early morning, and we had just rounded up the 12 students who would be taking their final “walk” with Ms. Sidley. As I prepared them, and their parents, as to what each of them would be doing on screen, the children were literally jumping up and down in excitement to be killed. That was pretty surreal.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Corey Norman: We already premiered this film at the HorrorHound Film festival in Indianapolis, IN. It won Best Short Film and Best Actress (Anne Bobby). I’ve got five other festivals currently booked, including: Austin Revolution Film Festival (TX), Crimson Screen Horror Film Festival (SC), Boston Underground Film Festival (MA), The Emerge Film festival (ME) and The Sanford International Film Festival (ME). King fans can keep up to date on other screenings at: www.bonfirefilmsonline.com
SKSM: How does it feel that all the King fans out there can’t see your movie? Do you think that will change in the future? Maybe a internet/dvd release would be possible?
Corey Norman: As a filmmaker, it’s always hard when you know folks want to see your film, but can’t. That being said, when you’re granted film rights to someone like Stephen King, you just need to accept that there are limitations that come with that $1 price tag. I’m just happy that those who have been able to see the film have enjoyed it.
As for the future of Dollar Baby distribution, I can’t really say what will happen. I think it would be awesome if King would champion the release of films he really likes, but it’s not really my place to comment.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reference have you received on your film?
Corey Norman: So far the press has been fantastic on our short. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:
“One of the most daring film in a decade, Suffer the Little Children goes where few filmmakers dare.” – HorrorHound
“If there is a chance that StLC is playing at a Horror/Thriller/Film Festival either in your city or a neighboring city any time soon, you owe it to yourself to drop what you’re doing, pull a Nicolas Cage and phone it in because it’s a powerfully prophetic film that’s not to be missed.” – Knifed in Venice
“Norman, as a true King fan, refuses to be limited by taboos and goes all the way with the story. Perhaps he was inspired by Darabont’s The Mist?” – Creepercast
“A truly haunting experience” – (re)Search My Trash
“SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN pulls no punches and is bound to shock those who are lucky enough to catch it.” – Ain’t It Cool News
“Suffer The Little Children just might beat Tickle for the best short film I’ve been lucky enough to see this year.” – Girl Terror
SKSM: Did you have any personal contact with King during the making of the movie? Has he seen it (and if so, what did he think about it)?
Corey Norman: I met King a year before the production of our film. We tried to reach out to him during our production, but he was on the set of 11/22/63 during that time. We finished the film just over two and a half weeks ago. I sent a copy to King, but I don’t think he’s seen it yet. When he does watch it though, I hope he enjoys it.
SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick – at least – one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?
Corey Norman: Creating a film for the Dollar Baby program has been a blast. Since I was a little kid, it’s always been a bucket list goal of mine to do a Stephen King film. I can now say I’ve done that. Down the road, I’d love to do another one, but it will be a while. When that time comes, I’d love to adapt Nona or I Am the Doorway.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Corey Norman: Thank you all for taking the time to watch our work and taking an interest in what we do. Without an audience, a film really is nothing.
SKSM: Do you have anything you’d like to add?