Manitowoc movie makers filming short thriller in Kewaunee, with plans for a feature
KEWAUNEE – Something sinister this way comes. Don't worry, it's only there for a couple days.
Manitowoc-based film makers Melonie Gartner and James Lawrence are filming their short suspense movie "Shadows" for two days at a Kewaunee location. Most of the movie is set indoors, so passers-by won't be able to see the crew at work.
"My partner (Lawrence) found an awesome location," Gartner said. "He wrote the movie, and (the location) fit what he envisioned for the place. He just looked around, searched online."
Gartner and Lawrence are fans of the work of famed suspense movie maker Alfred Hitchcock, and Gartner described their new film as "a Hitchcockian thriller" about a paralyzed woman who needs a wheelchair to get around because of an accident.
"Her husband drives her to a place where she can recuperate, but she experiences strange encounters there," Gartner said.
Gartner directs and stars in the movie, with Lawrence as scriptwriter. The two are executive producers through their Eerie Street Productions company, which they formed last year. Both work full-time with other jobs and pursue movie making when they set aside the time for it.
A crew of about 10 will be part of the filming, which will be completed this weekend, with editing and other post-production work to follow.
Gartner said the movie is slated for release in December, when the Wildwood Film Festival in Appleton begins accepting entries. She expects "Shadows" to make the rounds on the festival circuit, where she's had success with her two previous short films.
Her 2015 release "Two Rivers," "about a love story gone pretty bad," she said, earned a Best Short Film award from the Near Nazareth Film Festival in Israel. Its prequel, 2016's "Where the Great Spirits Live," earned Best Director awards for Gartner at the international Freedom Film Festival and the online Southern Sykos Festival, as well as a Best Cinematography award from Southern Sykos. Both films starred Mark Borchardt of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee-based movie maker best known as the subject of "American Movie," and were accepted by more than 20 festivals.
Lawrence also has won awards for his writing; a Best Original Screenplay for "Boy Minus Girl" at the Weyauwega Film Festival and Best Short Film Script for "David's First Date" at the Richmond (Virginia) International Film Festival.
The short film "Shadows" actually is tied to a larger project for Eerie Street. Garnter and Lawrence are hoping to use the short to generate interest and raise funds for a hoped-for feature-length thriller, also titled "Shadows." Gartner said Lawrence wrote the feature film first, but they decided to make a short version of it to get started.
"Everything is out of pocket for this," Gartner said, "so it'll be great to generate attention."
Pages are set up on the crowdfunding websites Indiegogo and GoFundMe to raise finances for the feature. Additionally, Gartner said she and Lawrence could use more funding for post-production work on the short.
"If people would like to help us with funding, we'll need to hire an editor, a sound person," she said. "It's a lot of work, a lot of time pounding the pavement just to get funding for the feature. Both of us work, both of us have families. It's tough when you have to pay everything out of pocket."
To help with funding for "Shadows," visit indiegogo.com/projects/shadows–11#/ or gofundme.com/f/f4cdb-shadows.
For more on Eerie Street Productions and its upcoming short film and feature movie, both titled "Shadows," visit eeriestreetproductions.com or the "Eerie Street Productions" Facebook page.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Manitowoc movie makers filming short thriller in Kewaunee, with plans for a feature