THE BLAIR WITCH PHENOMENON
Broadcast in the UK October 23rd, 1999
Written and presented by Mark Kermode, film journalist, broadcaster and
writer of the British Film Institute's Modern Classics book on The Exorcist,
this half-hour documentary looked at the making of the film and the
resulting publicity. It included interviews with Eduardo Sānchez, Daniel
Myrick, Joshua Leonard and Heather Donahue, recorded at Sundance in January
of that year, as well as talking to British comedians and film fans Adam
Buxton and Joe Cornish, and film journalist Louise Brealey, who saw the film
at Cannes and came out shaking.
Sundance Film Festival, January 1999
Daniel Myrick: The casting process was really important in this film
because, y'know, Ed and I came up with these character profiles that we felt
fit the story and, so really what we were trying to do was cast
personalities, rather than actors to portray a particular role, because we
knew there was so much improvisation throughout the film.
Heather Donahue: We were given a great deal of freedom, especially as my
character was sort of making a documentary initially, and I had tons of
freedom as far as making the documentary that I wanted to make as my
Eduardo Sānchez: We trained them before the shooting began, a couple of days
on, y'know, loading the camera and Mike the sound guy was trained on the DAT
recorder so, y'know, we just trained them to kind of give them a three-day
We definitely warned them that they were gonna be pretty much not treated
Dan: We guided them through the woods with this GPS system, this global
positioning system that allowed the actors to remain isolated and yet still
in contact with us.
Heather: We had little instructions put in milk crates with big bicycle
flags and we could spot them using the GPS and, and then (narrows eyes,
pretends to look around nervously) every once in a while around the milk
crate you'd hear this little skulking in the woods and every once in a while
if it was dark you'd see this red beam, (pretends to glance around) and you
knew, it was (laughs) it was the Haxan band of goons running around again.
Joshua Leonard: They let us sleep, the first night.
Heather: Yeah. (laughs)
Josh: And then starting on the second night there was certainly building of
how much they'd torture us and how much was gonna go down and what that was.
Introduction and transcript by Craig Oxbrow.