A classic story by Joyce Carol Oates of a door-to-door evangelist, her young daughter, and the day they knocked on the wrong door.
Independent filmmakers Brandon Nease and Jackson Wickham plan to turn Joyce Carol Oates’s short story “Mark of Satan” into a short film, and you can help make this happen.
Jackson Wickham writes:
“I believe it may interest your readers to know why we chose Mark of Satan, and how we obtained JCO’s permission to adapt it into a short film.
Brandon Nease, our director for this project, attended film school with me at Watkins College in Nashville, TN. In one of the classes, Daniel Halpern’s The Art of the Story is the required text, and Mark of Satan is one of the stories Halpern uses as an example of the form. Brandon was born and raised in Tennessee, as I was. For him the skeptical, incisive Mark of Satan threw his own thoughts about religion into sharp relief. He never forgot it.
Years later Mark of Satan came up again in conversation. We’d already made several films, so we felt comfortable emailing JCO to ask if the rights were available. We thought we’d found an email address for her representation and were surprised to find we’d emailed her directly. More surprised that she replied, “Yes.” I appreciate a “Yes” far more now that I’m a filmmaker, but getting it from Joyce Carol Oates made my year. Her only stipulation was that we not monetize it, which sounded fair to us. We just want to tell this story.”
Many artists jealously guard their creations, and with good reason. Astoundingly, JCO just let us loose with it. This kind of support is vital to independent filmmaking. We’re proud and grateful to have the opportunity to make Mark of Satan.
Visit the Mark of Satan Kickstarter page for more information and an opportunity to contribute to the film.
“Mark of Satan” was originally published in Antaeus in 1994. It was reprinted in the JCO story collections Will You Always Love Me? And Other Stories; and High Lonesome: New and Selected Stories 1966-2006, and was included in the 1996 volume of Prize Stories: The O Henry Awards.
I'm a Reference Librarian at the University of San Francisco's Gleeson Library, and I run the Joyce Carol Oates web site, Celestial Timepiece.