This article is no longer available on the Lancaster Intelligencer website. Below is a complete copy of their article. We would like to thank the Lancaster Intelligencer for their extemely generous coverage of The Creek.


Annville awash in 'The Creek'
Lebanon native premieres his film to a warm welcome
By Jack Roberts, Staff Intelligencer Journal
Published: Mar 10, 2007 1:25 AM EST

ANNVILLE, Pa. - There were no stretch limos lined up along Annville's main street, and no paparazzi falling over one another to see who could get the best shot of the biggest star in the worst dress.

But Erik Soulliard's locally filmed indie horror opus "The Creek" did open and close to thunderous applause Thursday evening at the Allen Theatre, welcomed to the art world by at least 200 excited fans.

Some were relatives of the cast and crew; some were friends or friends of friends; and some were just plain curious.

"I didn't know what it really was. I just wanted to check it out," said Bob Basselgia of Annville as he and a friend stretched out in the fourth row before the film. "I just happened to see a flier yesterday."

Jill Bernheisel of Annville thought "it's cool that some of it was filmed locally." Asked if she'd even been to the nearby cabin where most of the action takes place, she said no. Asked if she'd like to go there, she said, "Yeah, in the daytime."

Cori Huntzinger of Mechanicsburg came with her friend, JoAnne Roeske of Annville, who knows Soulliard. "I saw a little of the trailer," said Huntzinger as she and Roeske stood in MJ's Coffeehouse, which adjoins the theater, waiting for the film to start. "It's intriguing."

The "it" of which she spoke is a horror film, directed and edited by Soulliard, a Millersville University graduate originally from Lebanon, and starring a number of local people, including Lancaster's Dave Foster and Lebanon natives Tim Jesiolowski, Brian Jesiolowski and Nancy Soulliard, Erik's wife.

The plot is simple, even if the interpersonal dynamics are not: A group of friends gathers at a cabin on the fifth anniversary of their friend Billy's death - the cabin where they were partying the night Billy died. The police ruled his death an accident, but at least one of his friends isn't so sure. And the sudden appearance of Billy's ghost suggests the circumstances surrounding his demise might deserve a second look.

Allen Theatre owner Skip Hicks said he hadn't seen the film, but he likes to provide young filmmakers with an opportunity to screen their work. Soulliard had asked Hicks if he could hold auditions there, and, "maybe sometime down the road," the world premiere.

That proved to be a good call. The more-than-eager audience laughed at the funny lines - most of them, at least - and jumped when they were supposed to jump, Soulliard said. "We got the reactions we expected," Soulliard said as he signed posters for an ever-growing line of fans at MJ's after the show. Still, he said, "It was more nerve-wracking than even I thought it was going to be."
He was especially pleased by how well the movie, made on a budget of just under $30,000, held up on the Allen's large screen. "It looked better than I thought it would," Soulliard said. "I thought it would look a little pixilated, but it looked like film, which for our budget was amazing."

Fans were impressed, too. "I was surprised by how well they pulled it off," said Erik Montgomery of Lebanon. "It was very entertaining, great." Lydia Kutzler of Myerstown said she was impressed with both the overall story line and the cinematography. Her husband, Mike Kutzler, said the ending is what stood out for him. "It was pretty surprising," he said. "It was almost like mystery-horror."

Having taken Annville by storm, "The Creek" now moves on to the Big Apple. Before the film, Soulliard announced he'd received word "The Creek" will have a New York premiere April 30 at the Pioneer Theatre in the East Village. Soulliard also has submitted his film to a dozen festivals and should begin hearing if it's been accepted by mid-April. He said fans can keep track of showings on the film's Web site,

In the meantime, Soulliard, who lives in Clifton, N.J., and works for CBS, is busy on the script for his next project - "Twelve Bells." Surprise. It's a horror film.

E-mail Jack Roberts at