Rows is an independent thriller by David W. Warfield that stars Hannah Bernal, Lauren Lakis, Kenneth Hughes, and Joe Basile. Learn more about the movie in our spotlight article: The 5Ws and How: Rows.
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We had the pleasure of talking to David Zellis, the producer and co-writer of the indie horror flick Dark Forest.
In 2013 we entered a filmmaking competition in Canada called CineCoup (basically American Idol for filmmakers) we didn’t make it far, but decided to make the movie anyway. We are located in Winnipeg Canada, so we used local talent some who been active in the community for years. The story revolves around four girls going on a camping trip getting away form the group’s psychotic boyfriend.
It is about a group of friends that go on a camping trip and are terrorized/stalked by one of the group’s jealous and psychotic boyfriend.
We never really specify where it takes place, but we filmed in Winnipeg and outside of the city as well. We were very fortunate to have a friend that let us use their property that has a forest directly behind it.
We made it over the summers of 2013 and 2014. It is not set at any specific time, but it has an atmosphere of feeling like it was made in the eighties. We did a theatrical release ourselves across Western/Central Canada which we are extremely proud of. It outgrossed some high profile government funded films and at the local theatre it played at it was held over for three weeks while outgrossing some of the high profile Hollywood films it was playing alongside. It hit the streaming services in 2016 and was finally released on Blu-Ray/DVD on February 13th.
Good question. In Canada, the system is very much government funded which although seems and can sometimes be a good idea, it unfortunately causes more problems then it solves. So we wanted to make a feature on our own terms and this is the end result.
It is available on a number of streaming services (links below). For horror fans that prefer the physical medium, they can officially get a copy on Blu-Ray/DVD on Amazon.com and at independent retailers across Canada.
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Odd Brodsky is a quirky comedy about a woman who quits her job to break into Hollywood. Check out all all of our coverage on the feature here. Directed by Cindy Baer and starring Tegan Ashton Cohan, Ilana Klusky, Matthew Kevin Anderson, and Scotty Dickert. You can watch the flick for free on Amazon Prime.
We are thrilled that we were able to discuss the indie film A Legacy of Whining with producer Maria Munro and director/writer Ross Munro.
The indie feature A Legacy of Whining was written, directed and stars Ross Munro (his second feature after Brewster McGee) and Produced by Maria Munro and Ron Heaps. The cast includes Ross Munro as “Mitch”, Robert David Duncan as “Dunc”, Angie Descalzi as “Esmeralda”, Keilani Elizabeth Rose as “Grizelda”, Emily Haine as the “Starlet”, Dayana Hernandez as “La Muda”. The Production Crew includes Ron Heaps (Cinematographer), Maria Munro (Costume Designer/Art Director), Ivan Barbou (Music), Eric Carbery (Production Designer). A Legacy of Whining is being distributed worldwide by Los Angeles-based film distributer Indie Rights.
A Legacy of Whining is a 1970’s-influenced buddy comedy with serious undertones about two former high school friends who reunite thirty years later for an event-filled and quite disastrous evening that painfully proves “the past ain’t what it’s cracked up to be”. Some of the movie’s tonal and thematic references ranged from the classic American buddy films of the late ’60’s/early ’70’s like The Odd Couple to the early work of Woody Allen (Bananas/Take The Money and Run) and Martin Scorsese’s After Hours.
The story and events depicted in A Legacy of Whining take place in a nameless city in present day North America over the course of a single evening (from dusk to dawn) which helps establish a more “universal” tone to the movie and allows viewers to further imprint their own experiences and to the film’s actions and characters and captures a more “dream-like” essence and surreal vibe to the proceedings.
The film itself was shot in Vancouver, Canada (and some of its surrounding suburbs) over the course of six months from February 2014 – July 2014 using a combination of actual existing locations and constructed sets.
A Legacy of Whining had its World Theatrical Premiere in Vancouver at Van City Theatre in April 2016 and has since played at numerous film festivals (and is currently available on all major online digital platforms including iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon Prime).
Having recently come to a mid-life artistic crossroads as a filmmaker, I originally wanted to concoct a funny tribute to all those cool ’70’s buddy films I grew up watching every Saturday at my beloved Winnipeg movie theaters but as the story of the characters developed I began to discover that A Legacy of Whining started to reveal more darker shades having to do with questioning one’s life and the ultimate issue of wondering whether or not your life has amounted to anything. I was interested also in examining through the character of “Mitch” why one feels so desperately inclined to living in the past and how this affects your ability to move forward and grow. Hopefully, we- as the audience- can relate to all the messy aspects of growing older and figuring out this great unknowable void called life through the diametrically opposed view points of the main characters Mitch and Dunc as they spend the evening sparring over what their lives have become as they take their painful views into the rearview mirror of their existence.
A Legacy of Whining is available to rent/own on all major online digital platforms in North America and internationally on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime as well as having all distribution, broadcast and sales rights currently available by Los Angeles-based distributor Indie Rights.
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Learn more about the independent comedy Odd Brodsky in our article The 5Ws and How: Odd Brodsky and then watch it for free on Amazon Prime. The flick was directed by Cindy Baer, and stars Tegan Ashton Cohan, Ilana Klusky, Matthew Kevin Anderson, and Scotty Dickert.
I hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween and watched some spooky movies. Today we’re glad to put the spotlight on an indie horror film, ROWS from writer/director David W. Warfield. We talked with him about the movie.
ROWS is a micro-budget feature. Genre-wise, it’s thriller/horror, but it’s more art house than grind house, and mostly psychological in its impact. The cast includes Hannah Bernal (nee Schick) as Rose, Lauren Lakis as Greta, Kenneth Hughes as Mark, and Joe Basile as Jack. No “names” here, but all have done a lot of work in front of and behind the camera, and came from LA to work on the film.
I was able to pull in a few veteran filmmakers to put in key positions: Keith Weiner has a history of being a key grip on major features, and is now a lawyer, so that is a great resume for a hands-on producer. My long-time colleague Scott Chestnut is a film editor and director, but he wanted to do cinematography on this shoot. He is talented in this area as well, and always knows more than anyone in the room tech-wise. Whatever you think of the film, you must agree that it is shot beautifully. Veteran composer James Guymon provided us a million dollar score. The other senior member of the crew was our location sound person, Bernie Ozol. Julie Bent is an up-and-coming production design and wardrobe person, and Andrew Vona was our tenacious lead editor. We rounded out the crew with young filmmakers in various positions, as well as a handful of college grad interns.
The story is about a young woman (Rose) who, while working for her developer father, must deliver an eviction notice to an old farmhouse where a strange woman — a squatter — has been living. The house is to be bulldozed to make way for Rose’s dad’s new subdivision. The strange woman puts Rose under a substance-induced spell, which propels Rose — and the viewer — into an enchantment where time and the laws of physics seem turned upside down. Rose must find the inner fortitude to break the spell and save her father from the strange woman — who we might call a witch.
We agreed early on to use the Canon 5D DSLR to shoot this film. We employed accessories such as rental prime lenses, follow focus rigs, and a steadi-cam. We also built a semi-permanent 60-foot platform with speed-rail dolly track, in the middle of a cornfield, to capture the various tracking shots the story required. We used a simple doorway dolly. Chestnut constructed a number of 4X8 foot bounce boards, which were excellent for creating fill in day exteriors. Because a mature cornfield has stalks 10 or 12 feet high, it is basically a limbo environment—so we could do a lot of cheating with the extensive cornfield scenes. Our shooting schedule, including pick-ups, was 17 days. Audio post was conducted at Studio Unknown, an excellent full-service audio post house in Baltimore.
The film was shot in Maryland, outside of Baltimore.
ROWS was released in 2016.
As someone who worked in Hollywood for a bunch of years, It is incredibly liberating to make a film without the burdens of the conventional development, financing, and studio negotiating processes. The downside of micro-budget filmmaking is, well, micro-budgets. Filmmakers working in this way know that a successful micro-budget script must be designed for a very low-cash production. Multiple locations, large casts with numerous wardrobe changes, working with lots of vehicles, and unionized shoots are a few of the elements that micro-budgets generally do not allow. In that regard, a story must be conceived that can work logistically.
I have an artist’s mentality, which to me means that I derive fulfillment from creating things. Films are one of the things I love to create. Paintings are another. While I am great at organizing and planning and logistics, I would be a very crappy business person, and a worse accountant. I made this film because I saw an opportunity to pull together the necessary resources, human and otherwise, and because it is what I love doing. I guess they call that passion.
While the old barriers to distribution have been knocked down by streaming, the process is still complex and demanding. I opted to go with Nelson-Madison Films/Indie Rights for streaming distribution. While I have experience with theatrical distribution, in my judgment the smartest play was to work with Indie Rights to facilitate the deals with Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and the other meaningful platforms. The jury is still out on the “box office” performance of ROWS. Thus far I give Indie Rights good grades, and their extensive network and experience is very helpful. But the thing to know about distribution at this level is that the filmmakers could work 24/7 for months or years in promoting the film via social media. If you don’t have the budget to hire social media marketing staff, you have to do it yourself, and there are only so many hours in a day.
ROWS is kind of a weird film, and those who are expecting traditional horror tropes will probably be disappointed. Those who are open to the oddball construction of the film, and don’t have pre-conceived notions, are likely to dig it. In any case, I can say that this was the most gratifying and fulfilling filmmaking experience I have had, and I look forward very much to our next micro-budget endeavor.
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Today take a look at the trailer for the indie rom com, Fast Romance. From Indie Rights Movies and director Carter Ferguson, Fast Romance follows the stories of seven people in Glasgow who are looking for love through speed dating and they get much more than they all bargained for. The movie stars Jo Freer, William Ruane, Derek Munn, Neo Akram, Dave Anderson, Jennifer Bates, Suzanne Bonnar, and Robert Buchanan, and is available to watch on Amazon Prime for free. If you don’t have Prime, the indie is also available for purchase.