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of The Creek.
'The Creek' ready to flow
Independent film premieres Thursday at Allen Theater in Annville
By Carla Di Fonzo, Staff
Published: Mar 05, 2007 8:39 AM EST
ANNVILLE, Pa. - Up-and-coming director and Millersville University
graduate Erik Soulliard said independent filmmaking is a lot like
a double-edged sword.
thing about being indie is that I have control," he said recently.
"I can re-shoot anything I want, and all my deadlines are self-imposed.
So yes, there's freedom. "But independent filmmaking can also
be frustrating," Soulliard said Monday, from his home in New
he said, creating a movie with no studio backing can be stressful.
He and his wife, Nancy, (both are natives of Lebanon) raised most
of the funds for the film on their own - with the exception of one
investor. And once Soulliard completed the script for "The
Creek," a horror film with a suspense-thriller vibe, he had
to choose his location while minding his limited budget.
Finally, the Millersville University graduate decided to shoot the
movie in and around Lebanon, primarily in a cabin nestled in the
belongs to a friend of mine, and it turned out to be a good location
too," Soulliard said. "But we had to clean it up because
there was some flooding about two weeks before we got there - which
meant getting rid of mold on the walls."
The film wrapped
in June 2006, about the same time Soulliard came down with bronchitis.
"I told the doctor about the crazy filming schedule and the
stress," he said, laughing. "He looked at me like I wasn't
And now he's
anticipating the film's premiere, at the Allen Theatre in Annville,
at 6 p.m. Thursday.
"I don't know if the film will get distribution," the
33-year-old said. "So it's tough to wait - but you know what?
It's exciting, too."
who also is an actor with a busy day job at CBS in New York, said
the hard part is over.
"I got to make the film my way without anyone looking over
my shoulder," he said. "That's a major achievement in
and of itself."
The film features
actors from Lancaster (including Dave Foster, who plays Calvin)
and New York City stage actress Kathryn Merry, who plays the pivotal
role of Angel. "The movie's an ensemble piece about a group
of friends that come back after five years apart," Soulliard
said. "There's not a lot of background on the characters, but
it's clear that Angel is the one who has gone through a metamorphosis.
She's strong, but not jaded." And don't worry horror fans,
"The Creek" does feature a vengeful ghost - and some blood.
are reunited on the fifth anniversary of their friend Billy's death.
Hoping to find some closure, they decide to hold a get-together
at a cabin. "They're out in the woods, and it's a very claustrophobic
setting, and strange things start to happen," Soulliard said.
"They all think they know how Billy died, but later, they're
not so sure, and they all become suspicious of one another."
But Soulliard said the film is less about the ghost and more about
group psychology and friendships, both good and bad. "So, a
ghost expert doesn't turn up in the movie and start explaining the
paranormal," Soulliard said. "This ghost is a creature
that's pure emotion, but the film is more about the characters'
reaction to this entity and the skeletons they've been keeping in
Therefore, "The Creek" isn't a slasher film, he said,
but more of a psychological thriller reminiscent of "What Lies
Beneath," in which a housewife (Michelle Pfeiffer) discovers
her home is haunted by her husband's dead mistress. "You'll
watch the characters and see what they do under this kind of pressure,"
Soulliard said. "In that sense, it's more about the living."
He said deciding
to make his first feature a horror movie was a relatively practical
move. "Horror is a good avenue for DVD pickup and for actors,"
he said. "Johnny Depp's first film was 'A Nightmare on Elm
Street.' Jennifer Aniston's was 'Leprechaun.' Actors know that,
too, which is why we had so many head shots (of actors) to look
he was inspired to make films after taking a screenwriting class
taught by Jill Craven at Millersville University. He wrote his first
script, titled "Syncopation," and a paper on director
Tim Burton, whom he has admired for years. After earning a bachelor's
degree in speech communications, Soulliard moved to the New York
metro area and began acting in student and independent films. Soon
after, he wrote the short film "Interrogation." In fall
2005, Soulliard wrote the feature film script for "The Creek"
and went on to shoot the script with the assistance of an "amazing
crew, unbelievable weather, friends and family."
he completed post-production last month on a Final Cut Pro edit
suite he built in his basement. "And since I'm in no way musically-oriented
I was lucky to have Andrew C. Strauss and Tim Jesiolowski bring
'The Creek' to life with their amazing score," he said.
The film was
a lot of hard work for Soulliard, his cast and film crew, but it
was a satisfying experience. "Maybe the movie will get picked
up; maybe it won't," he said. "In the end, it doesn't
matter how it's received commercially because I loved filming it.
"I didn't make this film for money. I made it because I love
the business. That's why I'm going to make more, no matter what."
For more information
on Thursday's premiere, call 867-4766 or visit allentheatre.com.
E-mail Carla DiFonzo at firstname.lastname@example.org.