Brendan Steere made his feature debut with the horror/thriller Animosity in 2014, which he has now followed up with The VelociPastor, which was in turn based on a viral 2011 short trailer that he created.
We were lucky enough to get to talk to him about the film, as well as some of his influences and what’s coming up next.
B&S About Movies: How do you come up with an idea like The VelociPastor?
Brendan Steere: Well, the short answer is that it was an autocorrect on my phone that inspired the title, and I was young-and-20 enough to think it was a good idea. Haha! Grindhouse had just come out at the time we were making the original trailer, so starting with the title seemed natural in the circumstances. I worked backwards from there.
B&S: How did you go from the 2011 trailer to the final film?
Brendan: It took a lot of work. The trailer wasn’t intended to be a proof of concept film or anything, it was just intended to be the full idea. A lot of the work was taking what was supposed to last for 3 minutes maximum and making sure it still worked over 70-75 minutes, so that meant fleshing out and changing characters, exploring relationships and making them more interesting, etc.
B&S: Were you surprised by the buzz the movie got when it was announced?
Brendan: Um… yes. Haha! Let me say this: there’s no point in making a film if you don’t think it has an audience. The end goal is for people to SEE it, so I always thought we would have some group of people paying attention, I just had no idea how many we’d have. It’s been an incredible surprise.
B&S: Are you Catholic? Or did it just seem like a priest would make a good hero?
Brendan: Not a single bit. I was raised without a religion. I think I’ve been into churches for services like 3 times, all at the bidding of friends/ex-girlfriends. I have nothing against any religion whatsoever, it’s just not for me. Strangely though, even though I don’t have a single religious bone in my body, I really love crisis of faith movies like Silence or Andrei Rublev. It’s really easy for me to identify with someone who believes in something so strongly, kind of regardless of if it’s “God” or not. At that point it’s just about questioning your core beliefs/what makes you YOU, and a character in that much conflict is always fun to watch. In terms of this movie in specific, it was definitely because of the title. You can’t call a movie VelociPastor and NOT have the main character be religious.
B&S: Are there plans for a sequel?
Brendan: Yes. Big ones. I’m actually in the process of writing it with (co-producer and cinematographer) Jesse Gouldsbury as we speak. What I can tell you right now is that it gets waaaaaay weirder and hopefully remains just as funny and entertaining for fans.
B&S: If you could cross The VelociPastor over with any film, what would it be?
Brendan: Wolfcop seems the obvious choice. I think it would make a fun dynamic, with the VelociPastor on the run from the law.
B&S: What villain would make a great arch-nemesis for him?
Brendan: We’re exploring that in the script for the sequel right now, actually! Hopefully the answer surprises people.
B&S: What films influenced you?
Brendan: There are definitely specific films that led to VelociPastor, like Hausu, Equinoxand Black Dynamite, but I’m someone who tries to draw inspiration from anything I watch, even (and sometimes especially) if it’s bad. Like, I watched the entire first season of Riverdale in a single day, and I’m sure parts of that will bleed in somehow. Haha! This is a movie that was started from an autocorrect – you’ve just got to be open to seeing or hearing anything and thinking “Huh… that’s kind of funny.”?
B&S: We loved the scratchy look of the film. Did you really bake it in an oven as IMDB states?
Brendan: Yes! …for the 2011 trailer, not the final film. IMDb is a very old and slow site, and try as we might, we can’t seem to get the trivia from the original short to stop mixing up with the trivia for the feature (because they have the same name). It’s NOT our intention to mislead people, so if anyone could help us remove that from the feature’s trivia: please do so. We achieved the look of the movie through cinematography, lighting design, and digital manipulation in post.
B&S: We loved the ninjas. Movies need more ninjas. Am I right or what?
Brendan: SO right. “Ninjas” are the biggest element missing from the original trailer that we brought in for the sequel, and I think we can all agree it’s an upgrade.
B&S: That poster art needs to be a shirt. Any plans for merch? Action figures? Comic books? Video games? Stuffed Velocipastors?
Brendan: Yes! We’re actually going to open up a merch store very soon, and at the very least shirts will be available. I wish I could talk about other plans we have for merchandise, but it’s still too early.
B&S: If you had to confess anything to The VelociPastor, what would it be?
Brendan: I’d confess that I’m ready to make the sequel already. Haha! I think people tend to forget that we shot this in 2016, so I am READY for more movies.
B&S: Are there any plans for a TyRabbisaurus Rex? A Brontosisterous? Stop me before any more bad puns come out.
Brendan: In a word: yes. We’ve had so many amazing suggestions come in on this festival circuit and you can rest assured that some are already in the sequel’s script.
Thanks to Brendan for his great interview and Katie from October Coast for setting up this interview. We had a blast! Check out The VelociPastor review and grab the movie as soon as you can!