Award Winning Film Coming to Regent Theater
We are proud to announce that now that we have finished our Festival tour Lazarus Rising will be showing here locally this summer!. Tickets will go fast so I suggest getting them as soon as possible. We will also be showing Three short vignettes as well.
What did you whisper
Pliers and Razors
For tickets go to
Action On Film Festival 2015: Exclusive Interview with John Depew on Lazarus Rising
BY Karen Benardello on shockya.com
October 14, 2015
Determinedly fighting for the ideals and lifestyle you passionately believe in, even if you’re forced to contend with external conflicts that people purposefully put in your way so they can achieve their own goals, can be both a daunting and liberating experience. While it can be challenging to determine how to best overcome those obstacles, finally figuring out how to do so and accomplishing your plan can be one of life’s most gratifying experiences. Not only does the relatable anti-hero in the new action crime drama, ‘Lazarus Rising,’ intriguingly set out to leave his dangerous job and improve his life, but director John Depew also grippingly overcame his independent budget to film a movie that’s filled with alluring stunts and complex characters.
The filmmaker was able to showcase his success last month when the drama premiered at the Action On Film Festival in Monrovia, California. Depew and his cast and crew were honored for their enthralling effort when ‘Lazarus Rising’ won the ‘Action Feature Film of the Year’ honor at the festival. The award was given on Saturday, September 26 at the festival’s yearly award ceremony in Pasadena.
‘Lazarus Rising’ follows the caring but effective hitman Michael Fitzpatrick (Mike Pfaff) and his more ruthless partner, Angelica (Megan Le), who wants to continue their personal relationship, much to his reluctance. Their seemingly straightforward existences are then tested when they’re suddenly forced to evade teams of assassins who are headed by the lethal and relentless Mr. Gray (Adoni Maropis), a low-level mob enforcer.
So Mike is forced to go on the run with Emma (Devon Ogden), the woman he truly wants to be with, and his heroin addicted brother, Sean (Sean Carmichael), after Angelica becomes upset that her partner hasn’t chosen to stay devoted to her. Since Emma has turned up on the hit list of the merciless assassins, who are led by mid-level dispatcher Dallen McCormick (Sal Rendino), Michael will do whatever it takes for him and the ones he loves to stay alive. He also presses for the reasons behind Emma’s inclusion on the deadly list, while Sean presses for his brother to ditch her, and Emma presses to keep her secrets in order to get a fresh start. With an election nearing and Senatorial hopeful James Connelly (Eric Roberts) unexpectedly getting involved in the assassins’ plan, all their paths converge, and an ultimate explosion of wills and violence is imminent.
Depew generously took the time to talk about directing ‘Lazarus Rising’ during a phone interview on the day the action crime drama had its World Premiere at the Action On Film Festival. Among other things, the filmmaker discussed that he was interested in helming the character-driven action drama, as he feels that it’s a mistake that there are a lot of action films that don’t care about the characters, and only cater to the stunts; how he cast versatile actors like Pfaff and Roberts because they naturally know to connect with the feeling of their characters, and don’t need continuous direction; and how he was thrilled when he learned the crime drama was accepted into the Action On Film Festival, as it runs like a major film festival, but it’s also supportive of young and new filmmakers, especially in showcasing their work.
ShockYa (SY): You directed the new action crime drama, ‘Lazarus Rising.’ What interested you in helming a movie that focuses on people’s strives for redemption for their past mistakes?
John Depew (JD): Well, this is actually my fourth feature, and three of the four are action crime dramas. So I’ve been making this type of film for quite awhile. I’ve also been watching these movies for quite some time, and I’m quite fascinated by them.
I often see what I feel is a failure in a lot of action films, as they don’t always go behind the action. So I tried to do that with ‘Lazarus Rising.’ There are two points that I wanted to make with the film. The first one is that women are as good as men in action films, and sometimes are even better. The second point is that there are a lot of action films that don’t care about the characters; they only care about the action. I think that’s a mistake, which is why I wanted to make a character-driven action movie with ‘Lazarus Rising.’
SY: You wrote the scripts for the previous films you have directed, including 2009 drama, ’27 Down,’ the 2010 action adventure drama, ‘CO2,’ and the 2012 sci-fi movie, ‘The Final Shift.’ Why do you feel penning the screenplays for the films you direct is so beneficial? How does working on the scripts influence your helming decisions?
JD: Well, when you want to tell a story, you should engage people. I think in today’s world, you can’t relate to a lot of our action films’ stories, and you really don’t care about them. I think it’s wrong if the characters don’t have any engagements outside of the action. You need to be involved with the characters, and care about what they’re doing. I think that’s why people go to the movies in the first place-they want to have emotions through the characters.
SY: ‘Lazarus Rising’ features a diverse cast, including Mike Pfaff, Devon Ogden, Adoni Maropis, Eric Roberts,C.Thomas Howell, Lenny Clarke, Cedrick Stewart, Sal Rendino and Sean Carmichael. What was the casting process like for the main actors, particularly Mike, who plays hitman Michael Fitzpatrick, who’s forced to go on the run from his bosses?
JD: Well, I’m from Boston, so we auditioned actors in the city. We also auditioned actors in New York and L.A. About half the cast is from New York, and the other half is from L.A., and there are a few actors from Boston.
It’s important to find actors who can really relate to, understand and be motivated by their character. During the casting process, we went through a website called Actors Access, and listed the characters and what we were looking for in actors for each role. When people sent in their demos, we looked at them, and then had call-backs for the people we really liked. It was a really long process-it took about six months to just find the actors.
SY: Besides writing and directing movies, you have experience acting in short and feature films. How does having that acting experience influence the way you approach interacting with the casts in the movies you direct?
JD: Having acted myself, one of the things I look for in actors during the casting process as a director is if they could bring something to the story. As an actor, when you start a story, you have to really understand your character. Directors also have a vision of how exactly they want the performances to go.
When I bring an actor on board, and I think C. Thomas Howell, Eric Roberts and Mike Pfaff were perfect examples of this, I look for those who ask me, “What do you want?” I’ll say to them, “Here’s the blocking, so go do the scene,” so that I can see what they’ll bring. In many cases, it makes the director’s job so easy.
C. Thomas was a perfect example of that. He played a character named Silent Cal. I pictured a slow-talking character who was very deliberate in his speech. When C. Thomas was first cast, he was a mile a minute. So we played the scene out like that, and then I yelled “Cut.” I walked over to him and he asked, “How was that?” I said, “Silent Cal’s not so silent.” (laughs) That was such a brilliant moment.
From that moment on, I said, “I’m not going to tell an actor how to act; they should already know how to act.” Sometimes you have actors who understand what they want, but have a difficult time getting what they want. That happened a few times on this movie. So you have to get them to feel the action.
For me, acting’s not about pretending; it’s about feeling the moment and the character, and what you yourself would do in that situation. So those were the types of actors we were looking for-people who have an interpretation of their character that’s somewhat in line of what I was thinking, and also a little different.
In the end, making a film is a very collaborative effort. My pictures often say, “A Film by John Depew,” but what they should say is: “A Film by Cast and Crew.”
SY: Do you allow the actors to improv once you arrive on the set and begin filming, in order to allow them to relate to their characters?
JD: Like I said earlier, I don’t give the actors a lot of direction before each scene. I want to see what they’re going to bring, and what their interpretation is of the scene. I’m one of those people who believe that I know everything. So it’s rare that when I cast an actor, they won’t surprise me in some fashion. It gives me and the editor a lot more options on how to play a scene.
C. Thomas was the perfect example of that. I had interpreted the actor in one way, and he played it another way. The way he played the character was much more powerful than I had ever imagined.
So as a director, you have to let the actors play their characters the way they feel is the best, because who knows the character better than the actor? So if someone ad-libs, I don’t go back and say, “That’s not the line.” I’ll listen to it again and go, “Wow, that’s a pretty good interpretation.” If it’s not, I’ll let the actors know. I’ll say, “I see what you’ve done, but I need it said this way.” I have to do that because I’m looking at the whole picture, and they’re looking at their character. But it’s rare that I have to do that.
SY: Since ‘Lazarus Rising’ is an action-driven film that also focuses on the characters’ motivations and relationships, how did you decide how to best edit the stunts and the story line together?
JD: One of the things you always have to realize is that as a director, you don’t know everything. I did a film where I trained the actors how to fight for three months. What I realized from that picture is that you can’t train someone to fight or do an action sequence in three short months; you need professional stunt people who know exactly what they’re doing.
You also need an editor to know how to cut those types of films, so that you get the right emotions and the action, and you really engage the audience that way. Those are not my strong points; my strong points are dealing with the characters and their emotional moments, and getting the best performances out of the actors.
When you’re doing something as aesthetic as this, you need those people who know what they’re doing. That’s exactly what we did on this film. We looked for a DP (Director of Photography, Douglas Gordon) who knew how to shoot an action sequence. We also wanted editor(s) (Shawn Anthony, Nathaniel Campbell and Spencer Cohen), who know how to cut this type of movie, so that it can be the best action movie it can be. We also looked for stunt performers who could carry out the action sequences.
SY: You shot ‘Lazarus Rising’ in both Los Angeles and Boston. What was the process of finding the locations where you would shoot the action drama? Overall, do you find that filming on location is beneficial in making a movie?
JD: Most of my films have been shot in Boston; this was actually the first one that we also shot in L.A. When you shoot in New England, there are a number of states you can film in.
We were filming a boating scene with C. Thomas, but we couldn’t find the right lake that we were looking for. The lake scene features our lead character drowning people. Mike Pfaff, who’s also a producer on the movie, is from L.A., so he found the locations for us there.
You have to trust the people you’re working with, and believe they know what they’re doing, as well. So Mike is a producer and the lead actor, and also did his own stunts. Given this is an independent film, I had to trust him, because I couldn’t afford fly out to L.A. to look at the lakes with him.
SY: Like with the previous films you have written and directed, ‘Lazarus Rising’ was produced by your Massachusetts-based production company, Wild Beagle Productions. What was your inspiration in starting the company? What has the experience of producing your films through the company?
JD: I think we’re one of the few independent film companies. I got into this game very late. I had a concept for a movie, but I didn’t go to film school. So I approached another production company about it. I looked them up to see how they treated their staff.
I then thought, I want to make this. When I told my wife about it, I said, “I know this is can be a really great picture.” She said, “John, we just won’t go on vacation, and we’ll make it ourselves. We’ll just start our own company. You know enough people in the industry, and how to pull them together.”
This is actually the second company we started; we also have a medical billing company. That allowed us to fund our own films, so that we could shoot the kinds of movies we wanted to make.
SY: The drama (had) its world premiere (last month) at the Action On Film Festival in Monrovia, California, where it was nominated for three awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Eric Roberts, Best Breakout Action Star for Mike Pfaff and Best Action Film (the latter of which it won). What does it mean to you that the movie is premiering at, and recognized by, the action festival?
JD: Well, let me start off by saying that I don’t always believe in bringing movies to film festivals. I think it’s really difficult for independent filmmakers to get their movies into festivals.
I did it once before, and it was a film festival up in Maine. I went up there, and the movie was shown in the basement with folding chairs, and people were playing poker in the background. That was very disappointing to me.
When you’re first starting off as a filmmaker, your movie may not be good enough to make it into a major film festival. The true independent filmmaker doesn’t have the political connections to get into those festivals.
So when the Action On Film Festival accepted ‘Lazarus Rising,’ I thought it was amazing. The only reason why I submitted the movie was because Del Weston, who founded the festival, believes in filmmakers. (The Action On Film Festival) runs like a major film festival, but it’s also open to to young filmmakers, and new filmmakers like myself, to showcase their work, and get it seen. I think there are very few film festivals that truly cater to the independent filmmaker.
So when we were accepted, I was thrilled. A week later, Del called me and said, “You’re nominated in these three categories.” I thought that was amazing. That’s when we decided we had to fly out and be involved in the festival.
SY: Besides ‘Lazarus Rising,’ do you have any other projects lined up that you can discuss? Are you interested in continuing in the action genre?
JD: The next project we’re looking at, which is also an action thriller, is just in the writing stages. When I come up with an idea for a film, I’m not the actual writer; I’ll hire a professional writer to write the dialogue for me. I’ll have a story and concept in mind, and I’ll turn it over to the writer. He’ll write the script and I’ll approve it, or I’ll make changes if I think it can become more in tune to what I want to make.
I’ll then do several test readings in front of other people, so that I can get the feedback of what’s right and wrong with the script. That’s a long process, but you have to do it, if you want to stand a chance of making a good quality film.
Read more: http://www.shockya.com/news/2015/10/14/action-on-international-film-festival-2015-exclusive-interview-with-john-depew-on-lazarus-rising/#ixzz40SJdGy3z
Video Views Review Lazarus Rising 9-1-2015
“Lazarus Rising” tells the story of Michael Fitzpatrick. One of several hit man hired by the local mob. He is also some what of a woman’s man who can get any woman he wants including his partner, Angelica. But his heart belongs to the beautiful Emma but when her name comes up on the hit list Michael must go on the run to save her from sure death while bringing his drug-addicted brother Sean with them.
One Film Fan Indie Film Review 9-1-2015
Secrets. We all have them. We often promise to keep them when shared with us. Some are good, some are of ill begotten nature–and some can flat out kill you. Or, in this case, potentially GET you killed. Enter the life of professional hitman Mike Fitzpatrick (Mike Pfaff), a “clean-up” man for local, mid-level mobster, Dallen (Sal Rendino). Along with his partner, a more than slightly unhinged “cleaner” herself, Angelica (Megan Nguyen), Mike manages to eke out what might be called a life, carrying out hits on whomever Dallen advises him to. In the midst of this chaotic existence, Mike still has one semblance of “normalcy” in girlfriend Emma (Devon Ogden), while also bearing the genius, drug-addled burden of his brother, Sean (Sean Carmichael).
Loud Green Bird Indie Film Review 9-1-2015
In the movies, it’s usually a bad thing for a stone killer when he falls hard for a woman. In indie actor-writer-director John Depew‘s LAZARUS RISING (2015), mob hit man Mike Fitzpatrick (Mike Pfaff) gets a shot to rise again, like the Biblical Lazarus. But psychopathic contract killer Mr. Gray (Adoni Maropis) stands in his way. Can Mike focus and realize the hope of freedom that he and his lover Emma (Devon Ogden) share?
THE FINAL SHIFT: SCI-FI COMES TO HAVERHILL, MASS
1 AUG , 2012
Written by Casey Stirling NewEnglandFilm.com
John Depew may be a smaller-budget independent filmmaker, but he’s not afraid of tackling science fiction, or doing it on his home turf of Massachusetts.
There is always a lot of fanfare when Hollywood comes to Massachusetts, and deservedly so. Yet every year there are countless local filmmakers that utilize New England on much smaller budgets. One such filmmaker is John Depew, who recently completed the sci-fi thriller The Final Shift.
The film follows a gang, a hit man, and a mysterious woman who all become involved when they end up at the same diner (check out the trailer here). Depew directed, co-wrote, and acted in the film; it is his company Wild Beagle Productions’ third feature. Here, Depew shares why he loves to shoot in Massachusetts, the challenges of wearing multiple hats on a film set, and his hopes for his next project.
Casey Stirling: You’ve made othe films in New England, and Wild Beagle is based in Massachusetts. What do you like about working and filming here?
Depew: There are a lot of things I like about it. Number one, I live here, so it’s close. The other reason is I live in Haverhill on the North Shore, and a lot of people don’t realize how big Haverhill really is. It’s about 37,000 square feet and there are a lot of different areas here. It’s really easy to shoot.
CS: Are you from New England?
Depew: I was born in Hawaii and raised in California, but I came out here when I got out of the service and I’ve been out here ever since. I just fell in love with the East Coast. It’s been my home for a long time… Right in the town where I live, they have a lot of great scenery, so trying to find locations is pretty easy out here, minus the desert. It’s the only thing that’s hard to find here.
CS: Are there locations that you haven’t gotten a chance to film in yet?
Depew: I can’t really say because most of the places I’ve shot, I’ve shot where I wanted to shoot. They were perfect for what we wanted to do, so that’s been really helpful. Like I said, there’s so much stuff to pick from out here.
CS The Final Shift is a thriller, but also has some sci-fi elements to it. Is this the first time you’ve done something that’s sci-fi?
Depew: We’ve done three films. 27 Down was the first one, and that was about a police officer who gets drunk one night, runs over a ten-year-old kid, and gets assigned the case and has to deal with the parents. The second film was CO2, and that was sci-fi. It was gas coming up out of the ground, sort of an ecological, sci-fi adventure.
CS And that was based on a true story?
Depew: Yes. It happened in Cameroon back in ’86. We took the synopsis of the story and moved it to the United States and created the story around it. The thing about the film is, with a lot of my films, I always want to tell stories about people, so it’s very strong in character and they’re not your typical characters of good guy or bad guy. There’s good and bad in all of the characters… We had all three films at the Regent Theatre [in Arlington, Massachusetts] when we did the premiere for them.
CS You had the Final Shift premiere there last month, right?
Depew: Yes, and last month was the first time I didn’t sell out completely and the only reason I think we didn’t do that was because it was on a very, very rainy Saturday night, but close to 400 people showed up. It seats 500, and the first two movies both sold out the theatre, which isn’t typical for independent films because a lot of them, you get 100 coming in, 200 people at the most.
CS Do you feel a lot of support from people in Massachusetts who are excited that things are being made here and filmed here?
CS Because it’s an independent film, does the sci-fi create additional challenges because of special effects or things like that?
Depew: Not really, because a lot of it can be done with CGI now. It’s becoming easier and easier to do, so it just depends on who you have as an editor or special effects expert. You can do a lot of things that the big films can do, on a little bit of a smaller scale, but it can still be done.
CSIs this the first time you’ve directed and acted in the same project?
Depew: Yeah. I’ve directed three, but this is the first time I’ve had a major role and directed and acted in it.
CS Are you glad you did that, or was it a lot of work?
Depew: It was a hell of a lot of work! But it was also a lot of fun. It was very satisfying. I enjoyed it, I can say that, except for the first day when I realized I was going to have to work twice as hard. Whenever I brought people out I would say, “I only demand two things from the actors: be on time and know your lines.” First day, the only guy that didn’t know his lines down pat was me. So I had to revise it, saying, “Okay, you just have to be on time.”
CS You had other things to think about.
Depew: Directing entails a hell of a lot. But I have a partner in Judy Coleman, who’s the executive producer and she’s also my wife, and I don’t think I could make a film without her.
CS What do you have coming up? Are there other genres that you’d like to work in?
Depew: Yeah, if I could find the right story. I’ve got several things going on right now. One is, I’m currently directing Crossing Denver, which is a web series. As an actor, I’m acting in another one called Viewpoint 360, which is a comedy halfway between 60 Minutes, Saturday Night Live, and The Office… On the production side of things, I’m currently invested in a project that we’re trying on the West Coast. We’re trying to get a film off the ground called The Trouble with Uncle Max. On top of that, I’m looking for my newest feature. I requested to get scripts sent in. All three films, I’ve had a heavy hand in writing them, or having a co-writer. I’d kind of like to find a script I don’t have to write that I can be excited about.
To learn more about The Final Shift and Wild Beagle Productions, visit thefinalshift.com or wildbeagleproductions.com
Lights, Camera, Action!
By Mary E. Arata
Published: 10/30/2009 07:32:30 AM
AYER — Eight survivors rounded the Columbia Avenue corner of Town Hall and trudged down Main Street. Dead bodies were strewn along the sidewalk. Some carried air tanks, while another tank was pulled along in a gardening wagon. They passed oxygen masks back and forth between themselves. A man ran up to them, begging for a breath of air from a survivor. The group waved him away. “We can’t take any more on,” screamed one, “Let’s go! Keep it moving — come on! Move, goddammit, move!”
The lone man crumples to the ground. A female survivor, Jennifer Watson, 21, of Billerica, couldn’t stand the thought of leaving the man to die. She ran back to give the man air from her oxygen mask. Just then, another man darts from between two nearby buildings and ripped the mask away from Watson and her charge, hightailing it down the alleyway between O’Hanlons and the bank. He looks back as he books away and say only, “Lady, I’m sorry.” Across the street, a man yelled “Cut!”
For three hours Sunday afternoon, Ayer and its residents were cast as players in director John DePew’s independent film, CO2, about a small Pennsylvania town devastated by a coal mine disaster. Ayer and the other New England locations acted as stand-in towns for the film.
The story line was borrowed from a real life 1986 disaster in Cameroon. At that time, a magma-spurred geologic eruption occurred some 50 miles under the floor of a Cameroon lake. The carbon dioxide escaped through the water’s surface at the rate of 60 mph, releasing about 1.6 million tons of the gas.
The eruption displaces oxygen and so caused the suffocation of 1,700 villagers and 3,500 head of livestock in a 16-mile zone around the lake. For those lining the sidewalks on Main Street Sunday, the theft scene alone, which will take mere minutes once edited, took nearly three hours to shoot. But it’s a dramatic episode in the film which is due for release next summer as an independent release or, perhaps, an HBO special.
Ayer was chosen as a filming location after it charmed the movie’s producers. Gary Whelpley of FCC Filmscouting says the buildings of downtown Ayer were fixed in his mind following his years drilling with the National Guard on Devens. Ayer joined the list of other locales used including Haverhill, Newburyport, North Reading and Plaistow, N.H. Whelpley said Ayer’s different sized buildings and easily diverted traffic also helped bring the production to town. He said town was very cooperative and that he was thankful for the selectmen’s approval for the filming on Oct. 6. The film’s on a tight schedule and so approval was quickly needed.
Shooting originally scheduled for Oct. 18 was rescheduled to last Sunday, where the crew was treated to beautiful sunny autumn weather. “Thank God the weather worked out because it’s been playing havoc with us,” said Judy Coleman, the film’s executive producer and DePew’s wife. The couple is financing the flick on their own. It’s their second self-produced venture following the release of their first film, 27 Down.
While it was sunny, it was not so warm for the extras that played dead along the Main Street surface and sidewalk. Fifteen-year old Conor Healy of Bridgewater played one victim. Peering out of his zipped-up hooded sweatshirt, he said he was in the shade of a vehicle prop parked by Town Hall. “It was cold… very, very, very cold,” he said, but still was excited – it was his first time as an extra and his first time on a movie set.
The Cottage Restaurant doubled as a dressing room for the cast and refuge for crew as they prepared for the reopening of Main Street and their opening for the lunchtime crowd. Main Street, freshly decorated for tomorrow’s Halloween celebrations, plays a starring role in the film. Corn stalks were tied to the light poles and, appropriately enough, large skull cutouts were stuck onto the windows at town hall.
The oxygen pilferring thief was played Doug Cadrette, an Ayer man and Moore Lumber Company employee. Cadrette was downtown Sunday morning, buying his daily paper and coffee at Archer’s Mobil, when DePew saw him in the store at 6 a.m. and cast him on the spot. Cadrette says he’d acted once before in an unpaid role in a Veryfine Juice ad that ran during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. “I had no idea any of this was going on,” said Cadrette, still a little shocked with disbelief at the wild turn his day took. “I was gonna hole myself up for the rest of the day.” It was his three-and-a-half hours of fame, and maybe more, depending on the distribution deals.
He says he would love the chance to do more acting. His legs were tired from shooting the same scene over and over again — some 15 to 20 times he said. “Sometimes I didn’t have a chance to catch my breath,” he said. Links about the movie can be found on the movie’s Web site, www.CO2movie.com.
Plaistow Town Hall featured in independent film
May 25, 2009 >The Eagle Tribune
By Margo Sullivan
PLAISTOW, N.H. — In real life, Main Street’s historic Town Hall operates like a hub of government and the address is Plaistow, N.H.. But in a little while, moviegoers may glimpse Town Hall in “27 Down,” the movie now in production by Haverhill, Mass., independent studio director John Depew.
He was back on Main Street over the weekend to reshoot a scene in front of Town Hall.
Depew, who also wrote the script, shot the film last summer and used Plaistow in a couple of scenes to breathe reality into his fictional town of Canada, Maine.
An exterior shot of Canada’s fictional police station, for example, is actually Plaistow Town Hall. He also used the Plaistow District Courthouse and Selectman Charles Blinn’s auto repair shop in other scenes.
Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said Depew included some familiar faces in the film as extras. Blinn also has a cameo role in the film, but he’s not one of the five main characters, Depew said. “It’s a murder mystery about a cop who runs over a kid accidentally and he’s assigned the case the next day,” he said. The film explores “the paths we take when we do something wrong,” he added. In the police officer’s case, he becomes romantically involved with the dead child’s mother before she discovers he is the culprit.
Depew said he chose Town Hall partly because of the cannon on the front lawn. “Plaistow was so helpful in everything we did,” Depew said. Blinn also loaned Depew a “couple of Corvettes” for the movie.
In addition to the Plaistow scenes, Depew also used a number of Massachusetts’ locations — Boston, Andover, Lawrence, Middleton and North Andover. Except for Boston, where shooting on location posed problems, all the communities were helpful, Depew said.
He ran into few glitches — except for one incident in North Andover. He had obtained a convenience store owner’s permission to use her store as the setting for a robbery. In the middle of the holdup scene, someone dropped a dime to the real police. “I should have anticipated someone might do that,” he said.
He said it was his first film and he was learning on the job. Depew had alerted police about location shots on public property, as required. But because this scene happened on private property, he hadn’t thought to notify the North Andover police before the camera started rolling.
In retrospect, he said he wishes he had. About 500 people saw the film at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, Mass., including North Andover police officers, he said. A couple of film distributors are interested in “27 Down,” according to Depew. He redid the Plaistow scenes to improve the film after seeing audience reaction. He made the film on a budget of around $100,000, he said, and took advantage of the Massachusetts incentives and tax credits for filmmakers. His film company, Wild Beagle Productions, is based in North Andover.
Cops Interrupt Filming, Handcuff Actors
25 August 2008 10:36 AM, PDT | Studio Briefing – Film News
See recent Studio Briefing – Film News
Filming of the independent movie 27 Down in North Andover, MA was halted unexpectedly Sunday after police descended on a gas station convenience store after receiving an alert that an armed robbery was taking place there. Director John Depew told KHAS-TV, “They came in and they said ‘Drop the gun,’ and I couldn’t see the officer because he was behind [me]. … I said, ‘It’s a movie, it’s a movie — we’re filming a movie!’” Undeterred the officers handcuffed two of the actors. The store owner, Tracy Adley, later explained that a movie was being filmed and that the guns being used in it were made of plastic. He said he believed a customer called police as a hoax. »