About the film
Directed by Emily Lou, from an original screenplay by Gabriel Diani, “THE SELLING” is a story about ghosts, demonic possession, and real estate. The supernatural comedy stars Gabriel Diani, Janet Varney, Jonathan Klein, Etta Devine, Nancy Lenehan, and Barry Bostwick.
A Redwood Pictures and Diani & Devine Productions production, the film was shot in a mere fourteen days on location in Los Angeles. It was produced by Emily Lou and Gabriel Diani, along with co-producers Trevor G. Allen, Etta Devine, and John Friend. Emily Lou was the executive producer.
Richard Scarry is too nice. He’s a real estate agent who tries to talk people out of buying houses they can’t afford. When his business partner Dave Ross comes up with a scheme to flip an old house for profit he only agrees because he needs to find a way to pay for his sick mother’s medical bills.
As Richard and Dave start fixing up the house for buyers it becomes obvious why their real estate nemesis Mary Best was so eager to pass the house along to them. Disembodied voices tell them to leave, walls bleed, and a portal to the spirit realm opens in an upstairs closet. In short, the house is haunted.
Leveraged to the hilt, Richard must figure out a way to get rid of the house before its ghostly inhabitants ruin his life. He enlists the aid of his intimidating old Sunday school teacher Father Jimmy to perform an exorcism and a Ghost Right’s Activist named Ginger Sparks to conduct a seance, each with disastrous results.
As the pressure mounts, Richard finds someone to take possession of the house. But when an evil spirit decides to move out of the house and into Richard’s body, he soon discovers he has a whole new set of possession problems.
THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY
In 1998, a play called “The Mirror,” a satirical look at the Grimm’s Fairy Tale Snow White told from the Wicked Queen’s perspective, premiered at the San Francisco Fringe Theater Festival to sold out houses and critical acclaim. It was produced and directed by Emily Lou and written and co-produced by Gabriel Diani.
Having met at San Francisco State University, Emily and Gabriel had become fast friends and discovered that they made a good creative team as well. They went on to found a theater company and work on various projects over the next few years.
Emily and Gabriel remained good friends and continued along their own creative paths until Emily made the decision she would direct and produce a feature film. “I wanted to work with someone I trusted,” Emily says, “Someone who could write the screenplay and that I could work collaboratively with.”
Emily’s husband, John Friend, suggested they ask Gabriel to write and star in it, saying, “He’s funny, a writer, and you seem like you can stand him.” Emily thought most of that was true and they asked him if he’d be interested.
An avid fan of ghost stories, Gabriel pitched the idea of a comedy about a real estate agent trying to sell a haunted house and the three developed the idea and Gabriel wrote the script over the next three years. According to Gabriel, “I was charged with the task of writing something that was funny, scary, and could be accomplished on a ‘no’ budget. It’s up to others to judge if I delivered on the first two criteria but I can say with confidence that I utterly failed to do the latter.”
The film went into preproduction. Locations were scouted, roles were cast, and crew was assembled. “We were very lucky to have a lot of things fall into place,” Gabriel says, “A lot of people were willing to come on to the production based on the strength of the script . . . or so they claim. Maybe they were just really hard up.”
Emily has a different theory. “Gabe and I really like and respect the people we are working with, including each other. People pick up on that and want to be a part of it.” Even after this is all said and done and the film’s in the “can” Gabriel and Emily STILL really like each other and “that feels pretty great.”
“THE SELLING’ has been earning critical praise in film festivals around the world. It has received recognition for its direction, acting, screenwriting, cinematography, and has won numerous feature film awards.