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A New Ghost Story Comes Alive on Film

  • Ray Kouguell

Moviegoers never seem to tire of ghost stories. A good scare filled with ominous sounds and darkness, along with premonitions are what keep the stories alive. Even if some of the people in them are not. A new independent film called "I Am A Ghost" offers a unique twist- a ghost who is actually spooked by another spirit.

It is written and directed by 35-year-old Filipino-American HP Mendoza, who takes traditional ghost story elements and adds something unexpected with a healthy dose of horror and violence.

A young woman named Emily is living in a 19th century Victorian house. Emily is dead but is unaware of it and is trapped inside the home. A disembodied medium arrives and enters into a kind of patient-therapist relationship with the goal of freeing Emily from her confinement.

There is jarring repetition of scenes as Emily acts out her daily routines, sometimes violently. The movie concerns memories that "have to become the audiences memories. The order becomes really crucial to the plot," Mendoza explained.

The movie stars Anna Ishida, a San Francisco, California based theater actress. Mendoza said she was chosen because of her "intense presence."

Mendoza, who had his start in film doing musicals, says he always had a love for horror movies. The idea for "I Am A Ghost" came from his childhood fears. "What if I'm not actually in this moment right now. What if I'm actually stuck in the future," Mendoza said.

The movie has played at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, the Silk Screen Festival in Pittsburgh and the Foundation for Asian American Independent Media Showcase in Chicago. Other screenings are planned throughout the year.