Tonjia Atomic

WiHM 2018 Interview with Filmmaker Tonjia Atomic

I haven’t known Tonjia Atomic for long, but everyone is always raving about her talent and how supportive she is of women in the industry. She is a force to be reckoned with in the horror community and after this interview, you’ll know why.

Learn about how she got involved in the horror industry, her passion, female inspirations and more for Women in Horror Month!

Tonjia Atomic

Photo Credit: Joseph P. Traina

PopHorror – Thanks for talking with me, Tonjia! How did you get involved in the horror industry?

Tonjia Atomic – I’d been making strange little shorts with genre elements for a few years before I realized that I was making horror. At the time I thought that horror was a narrower genre. It wasn’t until I started getting accepted into horror film festivals and meeting people like Hannah Neurotica and Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska that I realized that horror was a much broader genre than I imagined and that it was one I fit into.

PopHorror – You’re a jack of all trades. You act, produce, direct and so on. Which is your favorite to do?

Tonjia Atomic – My favorite thing is music. I love to sing and play guitar and also to write songs. I usually juggle my time between filmmaking and music. Even though music is my first love directing and acting are close seconds to it.

PopHorror – That’s amazing! What was the first project you worked on?

Tonjia Atomic – My first film was a 20-minute fairy tale short based on a Grimm’s tale called Clever Else. It was shot on 16mm film.

PopHorror – You contributed to the WIHM Massive Blood Drive 2018 with your PSA – Just A Prick. How did you get involved with it?

Tonjia Atomic – Jen and Sylvia were looking for filmmakers to fill a couple of the dates. This year that wanted to put one PSA out per day of February. My friend Joe Sherlock suggested me and I think another friend suggested Michelle Nessk, my co-director. Michelle thought it would be a good opportunity for us to work together since we live so close and were already talking about working on a project of some sort. I thought it was a great opportunity and jumped at the chance to work with Michelle.

PopHorror – How long have you known Michelle Nessk? Have you worked with them before or was the PSA the first time?

Tonjia Atomic – Michelle and I had been talking about working on something together, but the PSA was the first time. We’ve been talking together about other projects we want to do together ever since.

PopHorror – Can’t wait to see them! Speaking of Women in Horror Month, what are your favorite female-driven films?

Tonjia Atomic – Ginger Snaps, Fire Walk With Me, Serial Mom, Boxing Helena.

PopHorror – Those are great choices.Who are your female inspirations within the industry?

Tonjia Atomic – Jane Campion isn’t normally considered horror, but I think there’s something really dark about her work. She’s a phenomenal director. I love Jen Lynch’s work as a filmmaker and a television director. Barbara Peeters is a real pioneer and I aspire to even have one-tenth of her spirit and generosity. Jen and Sylvia Soska are an amazing team and have accomplished a lot while still maintaining their charitable works. Debbie Rochon has stepped into directing and is making some strong films. Brinke Stevens is a talented actress and writer and I’m excited to see what she has to offer as a director of her first directed film.

PopHorror – All wonderful women. What is your goal as a filmmaker?

Tonjia Atomic – My main goal is honestly to be able to keep making more films and to keep learning in the process.

PopHorror – A solid and honest goal to have. So far what is your most favorite/memorable moment in your career?

Tonjia Atomic – Making Manos Returns has been so life changing. The way that so many things weirdly came together easily and the friends I’ve made are truly unforgettable. Rachel Jackson in my nightie on my bed swinging dildos in the air is also something I’m not likely to forget anytime soon.

PopHorror – Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to talk about?

Tonjia Atomic – Manos Returns is the sequel to Manos: the Hands of Fate. It’s a return to Valley Lodge but in a modern way and with a cast and crew trying to make a good film, at least a better film than the original. We have a great cast including some of the original cast members. That film comes out sometime this year. I’m also working on a web series that’s a buddy cop comedy with live actors and puppets called Jose and the Hawk. I’m also in the production of a feature about a skinless killer called Raw Meat starring Bill Oberst Jr.

About Tori Danielle

Tori has had a passion for Horror and music ever since she was a little girl. She got bit by the writing bug in high school where she was involved in both the school newspaper and the yearbook. While getting her Bachelors degree, she took Journalism and Creative Writing classes where her passion grew even stronger. Now, in between work and family, she spends all of her spare time indulging in music, Horror movies, and nerdy fandoms, all while running/assisting one of the biggest Horror groups on Facebook and writing for various websites.

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