By Colleen Sparks
Expect thrills and chills when you watch a new movie filmed in Sunnyslope that was produced by a new company with a North Central resident on its executive team.
Falling Flame Pictures’ movie, “SCARE US,” a horror anthology, has obtained a distribution deal with Virgil Films and opened through Laemmle Virtual Cinema last month. The movie will be available through Video on Demand and DVD release on June 29. In this film, the main story occurs in a bookstore and it was filmed at Books, a store at 9201 N. Seventh Ave. Other scenes were shot in other areas of Phoenix and in Williams.
There are six writers who were involved in the script and six movie directors for the movie. The film is about aspiring writers who gather in a bookstore to share their stories with each other and they take on the topic of “Scare Us” one week. A sub-plot of the movie is about a serial killer that disappeared but has resurfaced to kill again.
Rob Ellman, legal advisor and creative consultant for Falling Flames Pictures and a North Central resident, is thrilled to be working in the movie business with his friend, Jason Wiechert of Glendale. Wiechert, a long-time actor, is CEO and a co-founder of Falling Flames Pictures. His wife, Charlotte Lilt, co-founded the movie production company and stars in “SCARE US.” Lilt also is one of the executive producers for the movie. Most of the cast and crew for the film live in the Valley with a few based in Los Angeles. Tom Sandoval, a long-time cast member on the Bravo reality TV show “Vanderpump Rules,” is another star in the movie.
“I was impressed and surprised at how quickly everything came together,” Ellman said. “It was really exciting for me to find myself in the midst of all these talented young people. There are so many people involved in making a motion picture. They put together quite a good motion picture on a pretty slim budget in an incredible amount of time.”
He even helped with the script and has a voiceover in the film. Ellman, who is an executive producer for “SCARE US,” plans to wind down his full-time legal practice and work with the production company full-time.
Wiechert, a long-time actor and producer for “SCARE US,” said he and his team sought ideas for short film scary stories and then the ones chosen were adapted to film. Lilt was among the executive producers for the movie, which took 18 days to film. Post-production for the movie took place when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, creating challenges and some delays. There were many video chats to complete the post-production work but on the plus side the pandemic gave everyone time to focus on the movie as everything had shut down in the country, Wiechert said.
“It’s scary but it’s super cool and fun,” he said of the movie. “I’m super excited for the world to see this.”
Wiechert said the owner and employees of Books, the Sunnyslope bookstore, were “fantastic” and “so easy to work with,” adding the business is a type of character itself in the film.
He said he and the production company plan to expand but keep bringing “high-quality film production to Arizona.”
“You can do so much in the Arizona landscape,” Wiechert said. “Hollywood kind of started in Arizona. We’re keeping money in Arizona, altering the economy in Arizona, bringing talent from Los Angeles, New York.”
The company also will make movies in other states but the main focus is boosting films in Arizona, he said.