Welsh helmer Prano Bailey-Bond didn’t call herself a horror director until someone beat her to it. “I didn’t realize I was one for a long time,” she says. As a teenager she was obsessed with David Lynch, Harmony Korine and Quentin Tarantino; college added a Douglas Sirk fixation to the mix.
“I loved dark worlds, dark minds, characters who were slightly repressed, but not just in one genre. Then the first short I made was about this god-fearing woman who hasn’t really lived, and ends up cutting a child’s heart out and eating it. As you do,” she jokes. “Some time later, I had submitted for a funding application, and they phoned me up and said, ‘We see you’re a horror director and we have a script to show you.’ But that was the first time I’d thought of myself that way.”
With her debut feature “Censor,” however, Bailey-Bond makes no bones about her commitment to the genre. A stylish, self-reflexive homage to the “video nasty” slasher films of the 1980s, the film was the opening-day selection for Sundance’s Midnight program, prompting comparisons to Peter Strickland and Ben Wheatley.
It’s the culmination of a circuitous path into features for the filmmaker, who studied at the London College of Printing — where she met and began her collaboration with “Censor” DP Annika Summerson — before taking a job at Goldcrest Films as a runner, working her way up the post-production ladder. She cut her directorial teeth on music videos and various shorts, before 2015’s “Nasty” (a thematic blueprint of sorts for “Censor”) took flight on the international fest circuit.
Now, Bailey-Bond is juggling several ideas for her follow-up project to “Censor” — not all horror-based, though it’s very much in the mix. “I can’t see myself doing a rom-com, honestly,” she says. And if Marvel comes knocking? She laughs. “Well, I think for now the U.K. is a nice place to be working. And I never saw myself doing that kind of thing. But I also have the attitude of ‘never say never.’”
Management: Anthony Mestriner, Casarotto Ramsay & Associates