By Polly Keary, Editor
The Sky Valley must be a scary place, judging by the work of two filmmakers who are entering their films in “Bleedingham,” a horror film festival taking place in Bellingham Saturday.
The films are shorts, films just a few minutes long made by independent artists, and both are creepy psychological pieces featuring people losing contact with reality.
“Repeater,” made by Seattle director Andrew Bell, was shot on two sites in the Monroe area.
The film is about a young man who wakes up alone in “the middle of nowhere,” nowhere in this case being an overgrown 30-acre farm just east of Monroe belonging to Bell’s family.
“He starts walking, looking for phone or someone who can help and he runs into some bad people,” said Bell.
The man tries to escape, fleeing into a forest. That forest is actually Al Borlin Park, which Bell said was perfect for a suspenseful atmosphere.
“It’s got the abandoned train tracks, and it’s all overgrown,” he said.
The other film called “I’m Fine,” was shot in San Francisco by Monroe film student Tyler Downing.
“It’s about a young man with schizophrenia who doesn’t want to admit to his problems, and relies too much on his medicine, and tells everyone he’s fine,” said Downing, who in December will complete his associate of fine arts and motion picture and television degree at San Francisco’s Academy of Arts.
The young man’s schizophrenia eventually takes on a physical manifestation as a twisted person who attacks the young man.
“I went and got a girl who has a bachelors in fashion with a focus on special effects makeup to do the makeup for the demon,” said Downing. The monster wears Victorian dress and yellow contacts and is shown manipulating his victim by attaching needles to the hands of the young man and controlling him with sticks and strings like a marionette, forcing him to harm himself.
At five minutes and 50 seconds long, it is Downing’s fifth film, and he hopes to work with mentor Jesse Stipek of Trico Films, the company founded by Monroe triplets while they were still in high school, to make a full-length film.
He also hopes to include John Baunsgard, maker of Rivertown, a film set in Snohomish, on the project.
Baunsgard, now a volunteer with the Washington State Studio Network, said that Snohomish County has a vibrant independent film scene, and cooperation will help everyone.
“To make this independent film thing work in Washington we have to kind of pull together,” he said. “We all have our individual resources. If we pull them together we can work to gather to get ourselves known. We need to all be making movies; somehow, some way we need to make this thing go far.”
So far, it’s doing pretty well, if the entries in the Bleedingham Festival are any indication. According to Baumsgard, of about a dozen films entered from around the West Coast, eight are from Snohomish County.
Official selections from the Bleedingham Festival will be included in the Horrible Zombie Film Festival at the Black Box Theater at Edmonds Community College on Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.