May 5, 2011

Indie Film: Maine horror movie gets worldwide distribution deal

'Back to the Beyond' will officially hit screens in 125 countries, and that's a big deal.

By DENNIS PERKINS

After all the hard work -- writing your script, gathering a cast and actors willing to work for no (guaranteed) money, dealing with your (often nonexistent) budget, juggling the obligations to your film with that of your "real" job -- an independent filmmaker is inevitably faced with one big question:

click image to enlarge

Bill Potter, left, seen during the filming of “Back to the Beyond,” a Maine-set thriller that has been picked up for worldwide distribution.

Courtesy photos

COMING TO LOCAL SCREENS

NICKELODEON CINEMAS

patriotcinemas.com/nickelodeon.html

Friday: "There Be Dragons." Years of mediocre films may have tarnished his reputation somewhat, but director Roland Joffe will always be the guy who made "The Killing Fields," and this historical drama, about a legendary priest/activist during the Spanish Civil War, is the sort of subject he gets fired up for.

FRONTIER CINEMA

explorefrontier.com

Wednesday: "Schooling the World." A free screening of this documentary examining the problematic nature of international education aid programs whose altruistic aims often involve some serious implied cultural prejudices. Sponsored by Goddard College's education program, with a Q&A following the film.

What now?

Well, for Maine-based DiBacco Films, it's time to see the world.

Director Kevin DiBacco's second feature, the Maine-set thriller "Back to the Beyond," has just been picked up for worldwide distribution, and will officially hit screens in 125 countries. It's a big deal for all the cast and crew -- none more so than the film's co-star, Bill Potter.

"Most indie films sit on a shelf, and your family and friends see it and that's it. To get this scope of a release, it's hard to even get your head around," he said.

Potter plays the little-seen antagonist Brock Peters in "Back to the Beyond."

"I'm like the shark in 'Jaws,' " he said. "It's the story of a professional paranormal investigative team sent in to find out what happened to a previous ghost-hunting team that disappeared in a legendary Maine haunted house. I'm the last remaining member of that first team."

By the looks of the trailer (filmakerim.tripod.com), the film, inspired by an episode of the "Twilight Zone"-era paranormal series "One Step Beyond," layers some "Blair Witch"-style spookiness onto the original haunted house premise.

Potter, a longtime Maine radio personality cast in his first starring role, credits director Kevin DiBacco with the film's success, artistically and in the marketplace.

"Kevin knows how to market it and how few films get picked up," Potter said. "He knows how it's going to look, and what he needs for coverage and editing. He just knows how it's gonna fit."

"Back to the Beyond" has been picked up by Maxim Media International, a distribution company specializing in low-budget horror.

Indeed, a look at the company's website reveals that Maxim has distributed almost 300 films with titles (I picked out my favorites) such as "Vampgeddon," "Fistful of Brains" and, of course, "Clownstrophobia."

I'm not making fun; I love horror films, and I know they are often the easiest to market (just ask the Coen Brothers or Sam Raimi). Indeed, Potter said "Back to the Beyond" is headed to the European and Hong Kong film markets and the Cannes and Sundance festivals as well as being seen on the big screen worldwide.

So will they forget all about us?

"We filmed the movie on Long Island (Maine); everyone there was so supportive," said Potter.

Potter assures me that the filmmakers are currently in negotiations for a Maine premiere on or around the June 6 worldwide debut, with a DVD release to follow. He promises to keep all of us back home up to date.

 

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.

 

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