Snowmass site for filming of horror movie
Offseason will be a little less quiet this year thanks to the production of a feature-length film on Faraway Road.
Some young filmmakers from Los Angeles are shooting a psychological-horror flick in a home belonging to one of their parents for four weeks starting Sept. 16. The film will be shot mostly inside the house but also will make use of the road for short periods of time, according to a temporary-use-permit application with the town of Snowmass Village.
“Wichita” is the first feature film for Stressless Productions, founded by recent University of Southern California graduates Matthew Ward, Justyn Ah Chong and Yaniv Elani. The movie originally was expected to start shooting in January but got pushed back to save costs.
“It’s way easier just to do it when nobody else is there,” producer Elani said.
It also works out well because the filmmakers originally wanted the setting to include yellow aspen leaves.
“Initially we were thinking, ‘Can we get both? Can we get fall and winter?’ because we want it to get snowy and scary,” Elani said. “But then it’s a matter of either we’re getting a three-month shoot to guarantee all seasons or we’re coming back, which is too expensive. Fall is probably the coolest time to do this kind of movie.”
The first week of production will involve mostly preparation, followed by three six-day weeks of shooting.
“You have to try to get it in as few days as possible, or else you’re wasting time and money,” Elani said. “It really comes down to great planning … to make sure that those small little details are put together so that those 12 hours on set are actually to roll the camera and get good stuff and not solving peripheral issues. … It’s two years in the making just to get it all done in 18 days.”
The 30 cast and crew members will stay in Destination Snowmass properties, and the company also is helping with some of their catering needs. Elani said Stressless is still looking to partner with local businesses for donations of day-old pastries or discounts on meals. Stressless is sponsored by the Filmmaker’s Alliance, so monetary or in-kind donations are tax-deductible, Elani wrote in a memo to the town.
“We’re still working on those small, day-to-day things to make it as cost-efficient as it can possibly be so we can put most of the money on screen,” Elani said. “Nobody, when they pay a $10 movie ticket, is going to know how well your actor ate.”
The filmmakers also might need some residents to play extras in the background during a scene at the airport. In addition to Faraway Road and the airport, Stressless is working with Aspen Skiing Co. to use some of its property for some woods shots.
“We’re trying to get as many aspen trees as possible,” Elani said. “They have eyes all over their bark, and that’s kind of like a theme of our movie, is people watching.”
Stressless has recast “Wichita” completely since it first started discussing shooting with the town. The actors and actresses were finalized just this week.
The town has granted an administrative temporary-use permit to Stressless for Sept. 15 through Oct. 18. For such permits, the town considers “activities of a temporary or short-term nautre that provide or facilitate an overall benefit to the community or further an official policy or objective of the town, such as temporary activities of a civic, educational or cultural nature or entertainment-oriented activities,” according to the application document.
Filming will include nighttime shoots, and lights are to be contained on the property, according to the permit. One or two vehicles might be parked on East Ridge Road. Traffic might be stopped on Faraway Road near the set for “no more than 30 minutes to capture a vehicle scene,” the permit says.
“We don’t want to be a distraction,” Elani said. “We don’t want to be, like, the annoying people screaming in the house on Faraway Road; we want to be the people that are making the cool movie up the hill.”
To get involved, contact Stressless Productions at email@example.com.
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More trails will open for the season on Sunday for mountain bikers in Aspen, Snowmass Village and Glenwood Springs.