Horror is in the blood for local filmmaker Charlie Christensen.
Last April, Christensen and director/writer Thorsten Nesch entered the Straight 8 film competition, with a roughly three-minute short called “Scarlett Gloves” based on a Sir William Scott short story.
“It is an 8 mm film competition. So you have to shoot it all on one roll of film,” Christensen said. There are no edits. That’s part of the challenge. The deadline was last April. I couldn’t go, because I’m broke, but just to make the cut was impressive.”
He added the winners of that were screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
They didn’t even get to see the final product as they had to send the film undeveloped. Working with local composer Nick Bohl, who worked on Christensen’s full-length horror feature “The Harvestman,” in 2009, they synchronized the music with the film without seeing it as well.
“It’s about a man who becomes so engrossed in a story that it becomes real,” Christensen said.
The duo are part of a new Lethbridge not-for-profit independent film collective called LIFS (Lethbridge Independent Film Society) featuring filmmakers, writers, directors and producers.
They meet every month to talk about films, filmmaking, strategies, skills, grant application and work together on each other‘s projects. The group, which formed a year ago, currently has 20 members.
“We’ve had two events to screen each other’s projects — one in November and the other in April, Christensen said.
“It’s great, there is so much talent here,” said Nesch, who is a best-selling and award-winning author and playwright in Germany.
He moved to Canada with his wife and settled in Victoria and then Calgary before finding Lethbridge was not only a cheaper place to live, but also discovering how much talent there is here.
“I was really amazed by how much talent there is in this city of 100,000,” Nesch said.
“I have published 14 novels in Germany in all different genres. I’m a publisher’s nightmare. They want me to write the same thing over again, but I don’t want to do that. I write horror, adventure and even humour. I can be funny even though I’m German,” he laughed.
The next big event they are looking forward to is South Country Fair.
“Prairie Tales isn’t happening anymore, so we hope to take over that booth, showing films and telling people what we do,” Christensen said.
They are currently putting the finishing touches on a full-length horror film and accompanying novel called “#partytime,” which they filmed over 11 days in November in the Lethbridge Civic Centre. They hope the novel and the movie will be released within months of each other in the fall.
“It’s hard to get actors to volunteer for more than 10 days,” Christensen said.
“But a lot of the time in big-budget movies is having to change location. We were able to build our sets and leave them up,” he observed.
“The city was really nice about letting us use the Civic Centre,” he said.
The film features a variety of actors from Lethbridge, Edmonton and Vancouver including Griffin Cork, Raeanne Boon, Marguerite Lawler, Emily Schoen, Brianna Johnston, Siobhan Cooney, Dan Perryman, Austin Halarewich and Brent Clark.
“It’s all shot; we’re just editing it,” Nesch said, noting Mike Goruk is editing and double checking the novel as Nesch’s native language is German.
“It’s about partygoers who go to a rave and it ends up not what they expected,” Christensen summarized.
Nesch turned the screenplay for the movie, about a group of people attending a rave that ends in bloodshed, into a novel, which is also being edited.
“The hook is they came to party and left to die,” Nesch noted.