Late November. A field in Italy. Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, producer David Lawson, the actors and crew of the film Spring
have arrived to shoot the final scene. This is the day: they must get the shot, and it must be a clear sky. While it was raining in Polignano (their shooting base), the weather apps on everyone's phones said it would be sunny. But the rain continued, and when they arrived at the location, it was a torrential downpour. While the forecast teased them with the icon of bright yellow sun, the sky showed only grey. The guys were getting desperate and ready to sacrifice something or someone to the ancient Roman gods. Mario, the 1st Assistant Director, told them that another crew member was also a fisherman, and good at reading the clouds. So they climbed on the roof of a nearby building, where the fisherman slowly looked at the sky for a good five minutes. After musing on it, he said something to Mario in Italian. Mario translated, "He says it will not get worse. It should clear in about an hour." That was the time they needed to set up, so the crew got to work. After about 45 minutes, still raining, Benson, Moorhead, and Lawson got on their knees and prayed one last time. Minutes later, the sky was clear, the sun was out, and they got the shot.
After the success of their first feature film Resolution
, Benson and Moorhead headed to the south of Italy for their new film, Spring
, which has just wrapped up principle photography. Spring
is a love story about a young man, Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) who heads to Europe after a personal trauma. He meets a beautiful woman, Louise (Nadia Hilker), who carries a dark secret. There is a facebook page
for the film, where you can see photos from the set.
I spent a few days with them on the set, watching them work, talking to
the actors and crew and eating far too much pasta and bread. We talked about the fantastic mode, the film, the actors, the state of American independent cinema, and the joys of working in Italy. (While I now know most of the film, fear not, I will spoil nothing).
Benson wrote a few scripts after Resolution, but Spring seemed to be the natural progression for a second feature, both in the narrative, and in getting funding for the project.
"I really wanted to connect contemporary horror mythologies with something that suggests a real origin. In Resolution, Chris says that he isn't a drug addict because of some trauma, but because it's his body chemistry, that's just the way he is. That's a scene you never really seen in film, and I wanted to explore that, to look at the theoretical origins of horror with a high-concept idea."
As I said, no spoilers, but it is a kind of companion piece to Resolution, with a story of friendship substituted with a story of love. One of the things I love about Benson's writing and his and Moorhead's directing is the naturalism; they strive to create this kind of realism, to make the spectator feel that it really could be them in the characters, or that these are people they might know or see on the street. There is a grounding to the story and dialogue that makes its fantastic elements more engaging and more frightening. It's like an anthropological study of horror through a fictional story.
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