"A period film is expensive, but by using our wits instead of our wallets we have managed to find ways of making this possible."
In â€œThe Ningyo,â€? the characters are authentic. There are fantastic elements, for sure, but this only serves to illuminate the humanity of the main players. "We want to keep the consequences of our characters' actions more grounded in reality; death should have a deeper weight. And any character can die. We are more interested in the psychological than in the action", Ortega says. That doesn't mean that he doesn't love creatures; in fact, he is one of the premier geniuses at creating them from scratch. But what is most important is creating beings that seem as though they really could exist in the world. That means no "Heavy Metal" monsters, but beings that are inspired by nature, and therefore have added realism. There's an immensely talented team behind this project, who have helped Ortega to transform his ENTIRE home into a set. Though this may sound exciting on the surface, (one has visions of 'Synecdoche New York' where Phillip Seymour Hoffman's character keeps building and building until his whole world is his stage play), but it was actually quite insane for Ortega. He went about buying all the necessary skulls, taxidermy, and antiques for the set (because it was cheaper than renting) and to this day he is living amidst this odd home decor. All the items were found on Craigslist, and only the bathroom and bedroom remain immune to it all. "A period film is expensive, but by using our wits instead of our wallets we have managed to find ways of making this possible.". By distressing and refurbishing these online-bought props and set pieces, they've managed to create a whole new world on a very tight budget. Finding funding through Kickstarter was helpful but also something Ortega notes was a "full time job". At one point the whole funding process came to a halt, and he was tired of donors asking him what he was going to do when his project failed. That was tremendously hard for the director and his creative team, but they pushed on. When funding was low his team stuck by him nonetheless.