Alisa Yang, winner of the 55th AAFF PROCAM Best Regional Filmmaker Award for her film Sleeping with the Devil, sat down with us to discuss her inspirations and process of making a documentary based on a Skype exorcism that was performed on her. While the film presented a cynical view of the benefits of such fundamentalist religious practices, Yang practiced impartiality as she launched the project, saying “I went in with a very open mind that if there are supernatural interferences then I’ll accept that...when he asked very personal questions I gave him very honest answers.”
Yang, having been raised in a devout Evangelical environment with her family, made the film as a sort of catharsis, discussing her early wrestlings with religion and belief : “My intention of making the film was really to get closure from my religious background. I was really trying to be accepted by [my mother] and by the community that I was in at the time, and I felt really guilty and terrible that I wasn’t feeling what I was supposed to be feeling...”
However, the outlandish diagnosis provided to Yang over this Skype call (being cursed, having multiple personalities or dissociative identity disorder) added unintentional humor to the film, which Yang was very proud of: “It was really fun to watch it with an audience and I loved that they laughed so much.”
Yang also praises the Festival in the interview, saying that “...it’s just really incredible that Ann Arbor Film Festival allowed me to share my story like this...it was a very warm and supporting vibe.”
Yang will continue to tour the film in other film festivals this year. Make sure to check out the full interview as well as our profile of Alisa here.