Exclusive interview with movie writer, producer and director Jordan Graham

Director of Sator, Jordan Graham, talks to us at MarkMeets media about his debut feature and seven year filmmaking journey of movie ‘Sator’.

This chilling and atmospheric slice of slow-burn horror is set in a desolate forest, where a broken family is being observed by Sator; a supernatural entity who is attempting to claim them.

Written, directed and produced over seven years by first time director Jordan Graham, Sator enjoyed a successful worldwide premiere at Fantasia and UK premiere at Soho Horror Fest in 2019. The impending digital release on 15th February has been long awaited. The film was heavily praised by critics following the premiere, who compared it to The Witch and Hereditary.

The film was a long process from the script to finish, how did you manage to stay so focused on this project?
“It was one step at a time. There were definitely times where I would panic about everything I had to do in the future. So I would just have to stop and take a breath. I always knew I would finish this project eventually because I had put all my money into it and there was no going back”.

Did you know Gabe Nicholson and Michael Daniel (leading cast) before the movie?
“Michael Daniel has been one of my best friends since I was 13, and he was 11. We met in middle school. We’ve been doing video production stuff together for 20 years now. He has been acting in everything I have done since 2001. I met Gabe in high school and we were skateboard buddies at first and later he started acting for me as well. Since this is a very quiet film – Gabe has a lot of expression in his eyes and can portray a ton of emotions without saying a word. That’s one of the main reasons why I casted him in this film.”

The movie has some amazing locations throughout – where did you film this?
“Most of the film was shot in the Santa Cruz mountains in California. I’ve lived around that forest my entire life (About 40mins away) and know all the unique secret spots. I also shot two days in Yosemite Valley for the snow sequences “.

When asked about using a studio Jordan revealed that not all the film was on location and that he’d “Built the cabin in my mother’s backyard, six blocks away from the ocean.” It took 2 months and $1500 to complete but no actual studio. He shot the film for 120 days where most days was just himself with one or two actors.

I found the background music really fitting through the film, what did you have in mind to add to the suspense?
“I’m not a musician, but I used a pots, pans, nuts, bolts and a bass guitar with a violin bow to make the sound effects”.

When asked about the final scene. Sator film director Jordan Graham said he wanted the movie to be “Very quiet and deary as possible. I try to put you in a somber trance-like mood, then when the violence hits, it hits hard. You weren’t expecting that kind of movie and it’s shocking.”

When asked about his director inspirations and actors he would want to work with in the future, Jordan revealed “There are so many directors that influence me like Jonathan Glazer, Yorgos Lanthimos, Stanley Kubrick, Nicolas Winding Refn, Ari Aster, Robert Eggers, and Gaspar Noe. But as far as actors I want to work with, I haven’t really thought about it. I mean sure Ethan Hawke and Robert Pattinson would be wonderful, but it’s been really freeing to just write without anyone in mind. In the past, I would write parts for my friends and their capabilities, which came with many restrictions. Now my focus is just writing a good story with strong characters.”

What’s next for you?
“I’m using this time during covid to write. One script I spent a couple of years on is heavily influenced by the child abductions that happened throughout Belgium in the 90’s. The script I’m currently writing now is about an impossibly long shipping container with a cosmic horror-like feel.”
” I will never make another film on my own again. 7 years on one project is a very long time and it really did take its toll on me. So hopefully I did enough to show I have value in this medium I love so much and maybe there’s people out there that will want to work with me.”

SATOR (2021) | Official Trailer HD


Lightbulb Film Distribution is delighted to share the official UK poster and trailer for Sator ahead of its digital download release on 15th February. This will be followed by a DVD release a week later on 22nd February.

Interview by Freelance media journalist Mark Boardman for MarkMeets.com

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Mark Meets
Mark Meets
MarkMeets Media is British-based online news magazine covering showbiz, music, tv and movies
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