This year's Blood in the Snow Festival kicked off last week with the world premiere of Jeff Sinasac's Red Spring.
In a world overrun by vampires, a group of human survivors forage for supplies by day and stay on the run at night.
I was really stoked for this, as I know Jeff and his producing partner/wife Tonya Dodds very well. They've acted in several projects of mine and I know Red Spring has been a passion project of theirs for years. This movie has had a long history, starting with his script that was a optioned a few times and even almost produced with modest budgets and A-listers over the last ten years. When all that fell through, Jeff & Tonya just committed to making it themselves.
I have to say I was pretty impressed with what they achieved on such a tiny budget. Red Spring was a really ambitious project, not just by design, but also in scope. Filmmakers have made post-apocalyptic tales on a shoestring before, but most have been content to just have them be morose, insular affairs that take place in one location. Sinasac reaches higher by employing many locales with several action set pieces.
Using Richard Matheson's I Am Legend as a jumping off point, Sinasac quickly builds his universe by having his survivors flee Toronto via an abandoned Gardiner Expressway. Starring Sinasac himself, he also mined several great talents from within the local web series scene, including Elysia White and Lindsey Middleton, as well as genre up-and-comer Adam Cronheim (who previously tread similar terrortity in Jeremy Gardner's 2012 festival darling The Battery).
Rather than going for a stylistic tone to gloss over their meager budget, Red Spring takes a more grounded approach. The character's know they are living on borrowed time, but that doesn't stop them from fighting all the same. And the world may have ended, but that doesn't mean you can't still crack a corny joke once and a while – including one random reference to a Maple Leaf Foods ad from like forever ago.
Maybe the most jaw dropping piece of trivia was that Red Spring boasts over four-hundred visual effects shots. The first act has a few that aren't so hot, but there are also some subtle and understated ones that I didn't even notice. I should mention that in addition to being actor/writer/director/producer/editor, Sinasac also did every single one of those effects shots himself over the course of a year-and-a-half. That's one dude! What's your excuse Justice League?
|Cast & crew of Red Spring.|
Red Spring concluded in true Dawn of the Dead fashion, which means that there are definitely more stories to be told within this universe. And I'd watch them. I just hope it doesn't take another ten years for them to see the light of day.