Interviews: Director Dallas Morgan Talks About Bigfoot, Aliens, And His Upcoming Film Sightings

Dallas Morgan’s Sightings premieres on VOD this November. 

When former Sheriff and skeptic of the paranormal, Tom Mayfield (Boo Arnold), encounters three dead bodies on his TX ranch, he must enlist the help of his conspiracy-theorist brother-in-law (Rawn Erickson II), a local surveillance expert (Dante Basco), and a renowned cryptozoologist (Stephanie Drapeau), in order to uncover who or what is behind these mysterious events.While being pursued by the local detective (Kevin Sizemore) as a lead suspect for these deaths, Tom is forced to reconsider his preconceived ideas of what lies beyond our planet.Ultimately, he must mend the estranged relationship with his daughter (Tahlia Morgan) and come to grips with the truth of his missing wife (Tiffany Heath), as he discovers the importance of community in survival and the belief in the unseen. 

From High Octane Pictures, the studio that brought you Clowntergeist and The Answer, comes another workout for your goosebumps, Sightings out 11/7.

TMS: When did the film get up? Where did you get the idea? 

DM: I started the outlining process over Christmas break 2011. I sat down to write the first draft in January of 2012. We started the fundraising process and brought our first investor on in January of 2013. It took us two years from then to secure all of the financing before we could go and make the movie. It’s been a long journey, but we are so excited for people to finally see it! As for the idea - I knew I wanted to make something that was inspired by some of my favorite movies like Signs, Jaws, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. And we had been given permission to film on this 200-acre ranch outside of Austin TX. So I started brainstorming ideas in the paranormal, sci-fi, and supernatural realm that could take place on that property. I went through several concepts — including a dark comedy and even a more classical ghost story at one point — before landing on what ultimately became Sightings

TMS: Was the subject of Bigfoot and aliens something you were personally interested in? 

DM: Not entirely. I’ve always been more interested in aliens then Bigfoot actually. Sasquatch never felt super scary to me. So when a friend of mine sent me a news clip about this guy in NC who had claimed to see a Bigfoot, I was more intrigued by the guy making the claim then I was the actual Bigfoot. So this is what started me thinking about the characters in the story. Who are the types of people that believe in Bigfoot and what types of evidence do they provide to convince themselves it’s true? That question interested me. It wasn’t until I had the idea of exploring a unique take on the origin of Bigfoot and where they come from that I really got excited about the whole story. 

TMS: Research before scripting? Any interesting discoveries? 

DM: Absolutely. Several of the things that I discovered in my research ended up being incorporated into the story. Without giving away any spoilers, one of the most interesting had to do with particular blood types and their correlation to abduction accounts. 

TMS: There are so many organizations out there that ‘believe’ in both. Have they been in touch? 

DM: Yes. One organization being the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO). They’re the team behind the Animal Planet show Finding Bigfoot. One of our characters in the story, played by Dante Basco, is actually a member of the BFRO. Before we filmed the movie we reached out to them to get permission to use their name. They read the script and had some questions, but ultimately agreed. We’ve also been in communication with The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON). They’re the largest UFO research organization in the U.S. They have been very supportive of the movie. In fact, some of the books that Hannah flips through in one of the scenes of the movie were suggested to us by MUFON. 

TMS: What’s the feedback been like on the movie? 

DM: So far so good! When people are giving you positive feedback to your face you always have to take it with a grain of salt. But we’ve also gotten some good reviews from actual critics online, and that’s been nice to hear and read. We knew going in that this wasn’t intended to be an Oscar-winning masterpiece, but our hope is that people have a great time watching it and that it will present some memorable moments and unique ideas that they talk about afterwards. 

TMS: What’s the next project you’re working on? Anything lined up? 

DM: I’m writing something now actually that I plan to direct next. I’m quite excited about it. It’s currently untitled but it deals with human pain and suffering against the backdrop of a unique take on time travel. In the meantime our company, BrighterMoon, is developing some other projects to produce as well.