Several former College of the Canyons film and television students and onetime SCVTV volunteers and employees have produced a trilogy of short films on a shoestring budget, and plan to shoot additional chapters to expand the project to feature length — as soon as they raise more cash via an online fundraising campaign.
With a screenplay by Santa Clarita-based writer and filmmaking duo The Brothers Levitch — Daniel and Ari, whose passion is genre fiction — the film, “SWINE,” is a post-apocalyptic war story. It depicts a rebel faction on the brink of destroying itself from within as it fights to prevent an oppressive militaristic government from using fear and violence to conquer everything in its path.
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“SWINE” began in 2009 as a 15-minute short film shot mainly in the Santa Clarita Valley over two weekends, with actors and crew members who had worked with the filmmakers on previous productions. The original “SWINE” short premiered at the Repertory East Playhouse in Old Town Newhall in 2010.
A positive response led Levitch and his crew to write and shoot two more chapters in 2010, with new locations, costumes, hand-crafted weapons and fresh talent. The “SWINE” trilogy premiered in a special midnight screening Sunday at the Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
“The trilogy was a huge success, costing less than $5,000 per film in cash and in-kind donations,” said Koren Young, the films’ executive producer.
Pictured on location are “SWINE” cast members (from left): Nixon (Chris Wiley), Cahill (Kelley Gallagher), Mercedes (Kelley MacKilligan), Captain Erikson (Gregory Lee Kenyon), Wallace (Osa Wallander) and Beck (Emily Chetner).
“What we’re trying to do now is raise about $18,000, and that’s going to give us enough to produce three more chapters,” Young said. “We’ve got four weeks to do it through our IndieGoGo campaign. Everybody’s contribution will entitle them to exclusive benefits and perks.”
Donation levels range from “Friend” at $10 to “Executive Producer” at $2,500. Other donor perks include props to walk-ons and possible speaking parts, Young said.
The “SWINE” lead actors are Gregory Lee Kenyon (“Captain Erikson”), Osa Wallander (“Wallace”) and Kellsy MacKilligan (“Mercedes”). Daniel Levitch is the director, aided by assistant director Kyle J. Maki, a Time Warner Cable television editor who worked at SCVTV in Santa Clarita. M. Chastain Bowers and Koren Young are the producers. Ex-SCVTV staffer Brad Hoffarth handled the cinematography and editing, Ryan Young supervised the sound, and Ashley Witt composed the original score.
“SWINE” is every bit a local production. “Our writer, director, cinematographer, editor, sound designer, assistant director and producers are COC Radio, Television & Film alumni,” Young said. “Many of them were also volunteers (or employees) at SCVTV, producing, directing, running cameras. They’ve been working on short films together since 2003, and have produced several award-winning projects that have screened at festivals around the world.”
Find more project information and a link to the “SWINE” IndieGoGo campaign at www.swinemovie.com.