SNOWMASS VILLAGE - Watch out: There's a killer on the loose in Snowmass Village. Or at least there will be a fictional one when the cast and crew of the psychological horror movie "Wichita" arrive for shooting in January.
"Wichita" is the first feature film for University of Southern California film school grads Matthew Ward, Justyn Ah Chong and Yaniv Elani. Because of the independent nature of their film, they're hoping to work with local businesses and to hire Valley residents as extras and possibly two speaking roles.
"Our No. 1 goal is to get the community behind us," said co-producer Elani.
The film is in the same vein as movies such as "The Blair Witch Project" - that movie's star Joshua Leonard is playing the lead - and "Cloverfield," using camera angles and shots that look like someone found footage of something that already happened. The characters are writers of a television show sent to a mountain home for a staff retreat. Like "The Shining," cabin fever eventually sets in, and "everybody ends up going crazy," Elani said.
Most of the film will be shot inside Ward's Snowmass residence, but exterior shots will include the Snowmass Center and the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport. Those scenes are where they might need extras, but they're hoping to engage the community in other ways too.
The cast and crew is expected to be staying in the area from Jan. 6-31, and as Elani put it, that's "about 3,000 meals we gotta get from somewhere." They're hoping local businesses can help them out with food, transportation and other needs, and they want to show Valley company names and locations in the film. They already filmed a trailer onsite with next to no budget last winter.
Elani said horror is a good genre for most first-time filmmakers, because filming in one location cuts down much of the production costs, it's universal, and they can experiment with stylization, lighting and mood.
In addition to Leonard, cast members include Karen Black, Shelley Long and Suzy Kaye. For more information and to watch the trailer, visit www.wichitathemovie.com.