Film becomes an international ‘Subject’
Dean Stapleton, star of the independent film “Subject Two,” had many things to worry about before the movie was screened at the Sundance Film Festival: Would the psychological thriller be embraced by the avant-garde masses? How would the Hollywood heavyweights feel about it?But the Aspen native said he actually had something else on his mind: scale.”We hadn’t seen it on the big screen yet,” Stapleton said. “The anticipation for that, and the anxiety that goes along with that, was pretty hyped.”As it turns out, Stapleton didn’t have to worry about any of those matters. “Subject Two” has since landed a worldwide distribution deal from First Look Pictures, and it will soon be in limited release in L.A., New York and other cities before expanding to Europe.”We’ve been negotiating since Sundance,” Stapleton said. “We have a lot of work to do to finish the movie [and] deliver it in a finished state.”The film crew currently is working on subtitles and other finishing touches related to distribution.Stapleton starred in and co-produced the film, which was written and directed by Philip Chidel. While filming, Stapleton said “Sundance wasn’t on our radar. It wasn’t even in our vocabulary. We were just up there doing what we wanted to do.”The movie, filmed at the Barnard Hut above Ashcroft, tells the story of a disillusioned medical student who joins a doctor at a remote mountain laboratory for some unconventional science. The student, played by Christian Oliver, works with Stapleton’s character, Dr. Vick, on a reanimation serum. To test the new science, Dr. Vick kills the student over and over.Variety critic Robert Koehler said “the film’s depiction of what living as a human being actually means resonates strongly.” (He added that there is “enough blood to keep the queasy on edge.”)Two other native Aspenites contributed to the film. Erik Godal did the musical score, while Scott Edel is the movie’s business lawyer.”Subject Two” was shown five times at Sundance. There was a Q&A session after each showing, which Stapleton used as a barometer to gauge interest.”We found a good 70 to 80 percent would always stay behind” for the Q&A, he said. “It was exciting to see the response in such a heightened film festival. Everybody who goes there has a lot of expectations. I almost consider [the fans] a hybrid of moviegoers.”The film’s cast and crew also learned much about the inner workings of Hollywood and independent filmmaking by connecting with the indie community on an intimate level, Stapleton said.”Something that we learned … was that you come into Sundance a certain person and you leave Sundance a different person.”Especially when you’re about to go global.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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