Eduardo Sanchez Takes a “Mistress,”; On Directing TV and “FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: THE SERIES”Fearful Features,Movies/TV,News Ken W. Hanley
To re-animate FROM DUSK TILL DAWN for the small screen, Robert Rodriguez has carefully chosen what hands would craft his beloved property. Aside from helming the first two episodes himself, Rodriguez acquired a rogues gallery of extraordinary Latino filmmakers, matching each director with their thematic strong suit. For instance, while the first episodes hold true to Rodriguez’s aesthetics, the bloodiest episode comes from EVIL DEAD (2013)’s Fede Alvarez and the most character-driven episode to date comes from BLAIR WITCH mastermind Eduardo Sanchez.
The forefather of contemporary found footage horror, Sanchez makes his television directorial debut on FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: THE SERIES following a string of exceptional work in LOVELY MOLLY and V/H/S/2. Sanchez found the transition from film to television easier than expected, spurred on by mutual respect and admiration between himself and Rodriguez.
“I had met Robert years ago when I came onto the [filmmaking] scene,” says Sanchez. “I’ve always been a fan of his work, and he’s been a fan of mine. So when FROM DUSK TILL DAWN came up and Robert offered the chance to direct an episode, it was really a no-brainer. Robert had already laid down the groundwork, so I had the chance to come aboard and do my thing, and I had a great experience doing that.”
Coming off of two back-to-back found footage projects, his segment of V/H/S/2 and the upcoming Bigfoot horror EXISTS, Sanchez also returns to traditional filmmaking with his episode, “Mistress.” But Sanchez wasn’t reluctant to work conventionally once more, as his experiences in found footage horror readied him for the demands of television direction.
“Yeah, I was better suited to the schedule from independent filmmaking,” adds Sanchez. “The one thing I learned most from V/H/S/2, which I co-directed with Gregg Hale, was just how collaborative I am as a filmmaker. I thrive on collaboration, which worked out great on this series since Robert is very hands on as a producer. And since the schedule for television is even shorter than independent film, the faster pace inhibits collaboration.”
Unlike the pilot, Sanchez didn’t necessarily have the luxury of following the film’s narrative, considering much of his episode fills the spaces between those iconic moments and introduces several new characters into the fray. In fact, Sanchez’s films are often singular in nature, focusing on groups of characters in one timeline rather than delving into subplots or branching away from the action. Yet, rather than be dissuaded by the new framing device, Sanchez learned to adapt, approaching his episode through his uniquely refined lens.
“It’s true; a lot of my films follow one narrative, and with my episode of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, I had to follow three or four different stories at once,” Sanchez admits. “But I kind of approached it like I was filming three or four short films rather than one sewn-together narrative. To be honest, it was refreshing to do something different like that, and the cast was just really fantastic, which certainly helped.”
Fans of Sanchez know the director exhibits versatility, bouncing between gorier fare such as ALTERED and the mind-bending nightmare of LOVELY MOLLY. “Mistress” offers room for Sanchez’s range in its various subplots, aided by the increasing freedom of content on cable television.
“You know, [the lessened restrictions] were a factor,” Sanchez says. “Coming from independent filmmaking, I’m used to working outside of content guidelines and doing what works best for the material. But you can get away with a lot more violence on TV nowadays, which benefits FROM DUSK TILL DAWN a lot. And even though the show follows Robert’s vision for it, that’s not saying my vision for the episode was far off from that anyways. Robert’s vision was always to provide freedom, whether it’s creative or technical, and I was very grateful.”
As “Mistress” airs, Sanchez is already keeping busy while patiently awaiting the release of the long-gestating EXISTS. And even though Sanchez still keeps his eye on the horror genre, it seems that his television-directing experience may have been infectious.
“EXISTS just got picked up by Lionsgate, but I haven’t taken a meeting on the film, so I don’t know what their release plans are just yet,” Sanchez saus. “I just directed four episodes for a show on the BBC called INTRUDERS, and I got to work with Glen Morgan on that. He was fantastic and I was a huge fan of his work on THE X-FILES. I was very excited to work on that. Otherwise, I just hope Robert lets me come back for season two.”
FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: THE SERIES’ third episode, “Mistress”, directed by Eduardo Sanchez, debuts at 9 p.m. EST tonight on the El Rey Network. For more on Sanchez, see our in-depth interview with director celebrating the 15th anniversary of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT here.