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Chester County Press

Kennett Square native’s production company making strides in horror genre

04/04/2024 01:24PM ● By Caroline Roosevelt
Kennett Square native’s production company making strides in horror genre [2 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
The Philadelphia area boasts a rich history in filmmaking. We’re home to the Rocky series, the stomping ground for director/auteur M. Night Shyamalan, the birthplace of director Sidney Lumet, the inspiration behind long running sitcom “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and the setting for silver screen classic, A Philadelphia Story. It’s no surprise then, that there continues to be a dearth of inspired film makers generated from the region. 

Jeff Gorcyca, a Kennett Square native and a participant/creator of Girl Soup Collective, now adds his name to the list.

His short film, Don’t Bother the Neighbors recently won “Best Grindhouse Film” at Grindhouse Nights Horror Film Festival in New Jersey, and it’s also about to be screened at additional theatres in Pennsylvania. Gorcyca already has quite a few short films under his belt and is in post-production for his first feature length film, a quiet-horror film based on Appalachian Witchcraft entitled Outen the Light. As a fellow film enthusiast -- especially of the underappreciated horror genre -- I was excited to recently talk with Gorcyca about his upcoming projects, and how he got started in filmmaking.

Caroline Roosevelt: Who makes up Girl Soup?

Jeff Gorcya:  We are a group of six collaborators. Some of us met through graduate school at the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University, and some of us kind of just met through the industry or through friends of friends. We’ve been working together now for six years, and we collectively decided we wanted to tackle subjects that we’re interested in and, as I think you saw in our projects, it leans more supernatural, and a little bit weird. 

Describe how you take on projects. It all seems very collaborative.

The way we work is that one of us wants to try something in film, they just need to say, “I’d like to direct something” or “I’d like to write for our next project.” It has really served us well because while we all have our strengths, and we’re all ready to learn everything about film.

For instance, one of my partners is Michael Lamarra, whose day job is to shoot news interviews and small commercials. He has brought his knowledge into our group because he knows all the steps of pre-production. We all take what we’re doing in our day jobs as actors into this collective.

You grew up in Kennett Square, but Girl Soup is based in New York City.

I did. I graduated from Kennett High School and my family is still there. We all live in New York City except for one collaborator named Ray, who lives in Norway. He starred in Don’t Bother the Neighbors and he has a very large role in Outen the Light.  

So you’ve got an international tie-in here. Tell me about Outen the Light

It is our first feature. We have been really inspired by some of these recent folk horror movies that have come out -- Midsomar and Hereditary come to mind -- quiet horror movies that aren’t so “jump scare” but more tongue in cheek, with living dolls coming to life or something like that. 

Because Michael grew up in Harleysville and had heard of Appalachia witchcraft in the Christian community, he wanted to write a film that dealt with it.

I love the films you all have made, because each one of them embodies a different genre of a pretty well-established horror trope but breathes a new personality into it. 

I am so happy that you kind of noticed that because I don’t think it was intentional on our first project, Let’s Leave the Planet. The conversation has always been like, ‘What do we want to pay homage to?’ So, with Let’s Leave The Planet, we wanted the film to look like a Nineties Stoner B-movie. We went into Don’t Bother the Neighbors with an “I Love the Eighties” theme, from the standpoint of the music and the pink lighting, and even the tentacle monster. We definitely wore our love of the Eighties on our sleeve in that one. 

What do you have upcoming on the docket? What themes does Girl Soup want to tackle?

We are already planning our next feature which we’re hoping will shoot in Norway and it will be in the tone of Swiss Army Man, so it will be kind of like two friends in the woods. 

How are you guys funded? Have you been successful in the grant world so far, or are your films more like passion projects?

We are completely self-funded, which means I’m looking at an envelope of my tips for the last year and a half that I literally just put into an envelope and towards Girl Soup. It’s a slow process to get enough funding to do one of our projects, but we’re extremely fortunate to own a lot of our own equipment. For Don’t Bother the Neighbors, we only had to pay the crew, and then we also found a black box theater to film in that some friends of ours owned. It’s the classic story of calling in favors to make these projects happen.

I didn’t know what to expect when I got this project, because I hadn’t heard of Girl Soup, but it turns out that I am impressed with the quality of your work. When I saw the clip for Outen the Light, I was thinking, “Where’s the rest of it? Can I see more?”

That’s a really good sign!

Learn more about Jeff Gorcyca’s work and Girl Soup Collective at, or follow them on Instagram: @girlsoupco. They will be showing at Creature Feature Weekend ( in Gettysburg on April 19, and at the Jim Thorpe Independent Film Fest ( on April 21. In the fall, Don’t Bother the Neighbors will be featured at the Media Fright Fest.