Scene 2 Seen Podcast: ‘Appendage’ Director Anna Zlokovic On Expanding A Short Film Into A Feature, And Why The Horror Genre Is Perfect For Exploring Mental Illness

Hello, and welcome to the Scene 2 Seen Podcast. I am Valerie Complex, associate editor and film writer at Deadline. Today’s guest is writer-director Anna Zlokovic, here to talk about her feature-length debut Appendage. The body horror comedy starring Hadley Robinson had its world premiere at this year’s SXSW and debuted October 2 on Hulu.

Robinson plays Hannah, a young fashion designer who seems fine on the surface but secretly struggles with debilitating self-doubt. Soon these buried feelings begin to make Hannah physically sick and sprout into a ferocious growth on her body: The Appendage. As Hannah’s health declines, The Appendage grows more powerful and begins to fuel her anxieties – her perceived lack of talent at work, her deteriorating relationships with her boyfriend and best friend, and her parents’ lack of love and understanding. At her breaking point, Hannah makes a shocking discovery: there are others out there like her.

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Zlokovic is an award-winning writer-director based in Los Angeles. Her work has screened internationally at festivals including Sundance, SXSW, Slamdance and Fantasia, and she was a fellow of Tribeca and Chanel’s women’s filmmaker program Through Her Lens. She was named one of IndieWire’s 28 Rising Female Filmmakers to Watch in 2023.

Appendage is based on the Sundance 2022 short film of the same name starring Rachel Sennott; it debuted on Hulu in 2021 as part of the second season of 20th Digital’s Bite Size Halloween. Zlokovic was approached to extend the story and turn it into what it is today. On today’s episode, we discuss the process of expanding a short into a feature, navigating anxiety, and the intersections of horror and mental illness.

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