Growing up as an American overseas in a military family, I spent most of my youth immersed in different cultures and learning different customs. This included coming back to the U.S. for college. Adjusting to these customs would often lead to comical, sometimes uncomfortable and even scary situations; all of which have informed my adult life. In college, I studied International relations and political conflict. I’ve spent the last ten years working in documentary film, seeking stories about cultural conflict from different perspectives.
As a result from this transient adventurous youth, I have a funny relationship with the notion of 'home.' To me; it's where my family is. But to many of the neighbors in the various countries we lived in - home was home because home has always been - particularly in Europe where it is not unusual for a grandson to live in a town or even a home where his grandparents might have. Home is passed down and inherited; roots continue to grow.
I'm curious in exploring the motives behind two groups; one that is transient but looking for those roots and one that wants to protect theirs. Both are noble pursuits on the surface but underneath those wants are darker tactics.
I'm excited to explore this through the vehicle of cults; a cultural phenomenon that fascinates me. I'm more interested not in the belief system of any one cult, but the very human, relatable reasons why so many are drawn to them. Family, Confidence, Loneliness, Purpose - and yes, home - all things anyone of us would want and often take for granted. These human wants and needs are so strong that they often blind us danger; threats that normally we would be protected from by the very community we are trying to find.
During Covid, my true crime intake kicked up to high gear. I watched shows such as Wild Wild Country, The Vow, Holy Hell and Heaven's Gate. And as different as those cults here, the survivors interviewed all talked about home and how they wanted one; how that the best they felt was when they felt at home.
I get it. I often envy those with a hometown; a community, inherited. But I had my family. The Emissaries tells the story of a girl who doesn't and teases the danger of that deficit. Without one, without a community, without a constant that grounds us, I think we all might be a little closer to joining a cult than we think.
Lastly, my team and I are excited to produce a story that is as much fun for an audience to watch as it will be for us to make. Being an audience member ourselves is what made us want to be filmmakers. They are who we are making this story for and we look forward to delivering.