Local fim producer debuts vampire feature with Montana backdrop

Courtesy photo Producer Isaac Marble

Filmed in the cold, wintry wilderness of Helena, “Crimson Winter,” is a vampire drama of tragedy, heartbreak and survival. On screen audiences see Elric, a 1,000 year-old vampire prince who trying to unite the races, falls in love with a human, defies his ancestors and is now forced to live in exile.

When a group of researchers hike into vampire territory, the battle between the vampire race and humani ty ensues. Already having premiered in Helena, themovie will show at the Roman Theater in Red Lodge, Jan. 31 and Feb 1, recommended for adult audiences only.

Howe v e r, a s exciting as the story develops, the first in the trilogy, behind the scenes it was a production that brought together a solid group of Montana natives and a devoted cast and crew who pushed boundaries utilizing the state’s epic scenery, despite some harsh conditions.

In 2010 lead actor, writer and director, Bryan Ferriter of Helena began collaborating with Interwoven Studios’ producers and Carbon County natives, Martin Rogers and Isaac Marble to start the production process.

The three had met while attending Carroll College, where Ferriter played the lead role in Roger and Martin’s first film, “My Favorite Movie.” When Ferriter approached them with the “Crimson” script, Martin said, “he couldn’t say no,” and was excited to jump on board. “Brian is very passionate and inspiring. He was the main driver for me,” Marble noted.

With a budget of $350,000, Marble said the “goal was to put money on the screen,” so they invested in quality cameras, lenses and focused on making the special effects fit with the story during the 33-days of filming. They used helicopters for aerial shots over Helena’s mountainous terrain and the actors performed their own battle scenes and stunts.

Winter 2011 brought the cast and crew to the Elkhorn Mountains for an 18-day shoot, where they endured below freezing temperatures. Marble said one night they filmed from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. with a temperature of -19 degrees.

According to the press kit, “Often the cast and crew would quickly huddle around a campfire and add layers to their costumes as soon as the word “cut” sliced through the frigid Montana air. The dedicated cast and crew worked in extreme conditions deep inside dark, torch-lit caves and high up in the snowcapped mountains to achieve the perfect shot. To add to the challenge, much of the filming was done at night without any hope that the sun could add some warmth to the shoot.”

Devoted to the art of filmmaking, the team pursued and turned out ever more believable and spectacularly eerie shots.

“It comes off in the film. You can tell it looks colder than hell. So, ultimately, it had a good effect,” Marble said.

Taking on a Shakespearean feel, the script and production decisions display scenes of love, tragedy and drama in both the vampire and human experiences.

“It’s a vast story, it’s big in scope, so there are a lot of different elements we try to introduce early. There’s 500 years of back story that has to be explained and a much deeper theme that’s resonating throughout it. It’s not just blood and gore,” Marble stated. “The vampires are not poppy, they’re not like ‘Twilight,’ they don’t have magic powers. They’re flesh and blood.”

After viewing the film, Marble said audiences have complimented the great cinematography, ensemble cast, and bold climax. “A lot of people in Montana are shocked in the first place that it looks like a real movie.”