The Dallas Movie Screening Group

This is the homepage of the Dallas Movie Screening Group. To join our mailing list you must sign up at our group page on Yahoo. You will then be connected to receive notices on how to find passes to the local screenings in the DFW area. It's up to you to pickup or sign up for passes. You can also barter, trade or just giveaway passes you don't want, need or share with other members of the group. Please read the instructions on the Yahoo page very carefully before posting. This group is closely moderated so that your mail box is not full of spam or other unnecessary mail. We appreciate everyone's consideration and cooperation.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Between Heaven and Hell

The story behind the making of this small independent feature filmed in Mansfield, TX is more interesting and inspiring than the actual movie. Dr. Marvin Faulkner had planned to write a novel as therapy after losing his wife to cancer. Later he converted it into a screenplay then shelved it. One day while his daughter was shopping she was approached by Jason Ward a photography professor to model for one his ads. Her father went instead to make sure it was legit. In the course of their conversation they discovered not only did they have the same birthday, but Faulkner knew of the small town where Ward had lived. Faulkner was looking for someone to film a music video of his daughter performing a song that she had written in honor of her mother. Soon after, Faulkner handed him his screenplay. Ward had done ads but had never filmed a music video much less a feature film. He didn't even have the type of camera needed. With Faulkner producing, they shot a small scene from the screenplay and they were encouraged by the result. Enough so they decided to tackle creating the entire movie without any experience or knowledge, just the desire and ambition.

Thanks to a casting director they were able to round up an group of unknown Texas actors to perform for nothing while utilizing the locations around Mansfield who let them use their buildings for free. Including the Mansfield police who supplied them uniforms, police car and even weapons. They worked only on weekends while they continued with their day jobs. One of the actresses took off 10 months to give birth to twins and came back later to finish filming her role. Then there was a matter of trying to keep your appearance the same for two years for continuity.

Faulkner was at his Allstate Insurance office when he discovered his agent, Johnn R. Hudson had once taught classes on the Apple editing equipment that they were using on the movie. Hudson was hired on the edit the film. He managed to edit the 50 hours of film down to less than 2 hours.

The project seemed to come together with other moments of luck and opportunity. Jason Ward did the original music, the music supervisor Dominique Preyer was able to get music from Bruce Springsteen and Kris Kristopherson. Kristopherson was supposed to play the role of the old man/angel, but they ended up with character actor Grant James. Dennis O'Neil came on the movie as Capt. Frank White and associate producer. Another familiar face from TV and movies Andrew Sensenig played Jim McGill. The movie caught the eye of a film distributer that is marketing the movie on every .com site that sells movies like Amazon where it ranks 84,999. The movie was screened last October to an audience of 350 people at the Parks in Arlington with a positive response.

The film tells the story of Mike Taylor (Marvin Falkner) who gets drunk one night while grieving for his wife passing away. He ends up throwing up behind a dumpster in the parking lot before passing out in his own puke. A local stripper has a argument with this guy who tells her that his brother is not going to leave his wife for her and she should leave town. He ends up shoving her and she hits her head and dies. Mike waking from his stupor from behind the trash bin sees the dead girl then hears the guy stuff her in his trunk. Later when he tries to report it to the police, the police officer Steve McGill (Jeff Wallin) turns out to be the killer. He's relieved to find that Mike can not identify the murderer, and there's no body in evidence. They only thing Mike has is a silver cross the girl was wearing that night. Mike finds himself caught between trying to do the right thing and the personal dramas that the murder that can't be proven creates. There were some religious moments that I was hoping would not go over the top and become a “Christian” sell, and thankfully it reigned that in.

The budget of the film was estimated to be about $100,000. And the resulting film is definitely lacking in production values. Considering the actual costs, the uneven sound quality and lack of experience the resulting movie shows promise. Some of the acting, while stiff was countered by some nice performances. You can tell that everyone who worked on the project really believed in what they were doing.

(Review by reesa)

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