PN 27: Morgan Spurlock & Jeremy Chilnick on “Rats”
After “Super Size Me,” director Morgan Spurlock teamed with producer Jeremy Chilnick to form the production company Warrior Poets. Their latest film is “Rats,” based on the book by Robert Sullivan, conceived as a nonfiction horror movie. The film uses New York exterminator Ed Sheehan as a fountain of knowledge about vermin as it examines human encounters with rats around the world. The film had its world premiere in the Midnight Madness section of the Toronto International Film Festival and debuts on Discovery Channel on October 22.
In this interview with Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers, Spurlock tells his origin story, recounting how “Super Size Me” was made while his company was in debt. Jumping to the present, he and Chilnick describe their ambition with “Rats” to merge the horror genre with documentary; and they discuss the contributions of cinematographer Luca Del Puppo and editor/composer Pierre Takal.
The conversation also brings up another new film supported by Warrior Poets. “Eagle Huntress,” directed by Otto Bell, profiles Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl in western Mongolia, who competes in the male-dominated sport of eagle hunting. While “Rats” plays as horror, “Eagle Huntress” plays as a nonfiction fairy tale.
Lastly, Powers discusses the case of documentarian Deia Schlosberg who was recently arrested in North Dakota for covering oil pipeline protests. She spent two nights in jail and was charged with three counts of conspiracy that carry a maximum penalty of 45 years in prison. Schlosberg was a producer on “How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change” directed by Josh Fox (“Gasland”). Fox has been updating Schlosberg’s case on his Facebook page.