On the outskirts of Maple Ridge, Graham and Nelson Talbot look skyward, waiting for the clouds to part. The light flickering through the trees combines with the artificial smoke wafting through the air, casting long, dark shadows and creates the perfect mood for their next project.
Fresh off their success of winning $50,000 for their When Pigs Fly entry as part of a Doritos commercial contest that aired during the Super Bowl, the pair of cinematographers are teaming up with Victoria director Jeremy Lutter to shoot the feature horror film The Hollow Ones.
It’s the retelling of a classic 15th Century dark folklore tale of sinister fairies abducting a child into the woods and was chosen as one of 15 projects funded by Telefilm Canada’s micro-budget production programs, competing with 34 other entries.
The micro-budget production program is aimed at new filmmakers seeking to produce their first feature-length films, with an emphasis on the use of digital platforms for distribution and marketing.
In Lutter’s film, a little girl named Olivia goes missing while wandering in the woods, only to reappear weeks later to the relief of family and friends.
But Olivia’s step-sister Samantha questions whether it’s actually the little girl and convinced other, darker forces are behind her return.
On Day 16 of 19, both Graham and Nelson are happy to have the chance to work on a feature film, despite it’s limited budget.
“It’s all about getting experience and continually working on your craft,” said Nelson. “It’s the only way to make it to the big leagues is to keep working and this is a really exciting project.”
Owners of Talbot Twins Cinematography, the two have worked on a recent short film titled Reset with Lutter. So when asked, they never hesitated. Graham said while the budget is smaller, it has its advantages.
“Often times these types of projects work better than some of the big budget films because we have more control over what we shoot,” said Graham. “There’s a greater sense of camaraderie with the actors and production staff. It’s not something you’re doing for money.”
Nelson said the cinematography becomes that much more vital when shooting in the horror genre with a limited budget.
When it comes to creating the right tone for the feature, he said it’s critical to look for solutions.
It’s one of the reason’s Lutter wanted to work with the Talbot twins again.
“They bring a unique eye to cinematography. Plus you get two for the price of one.”
Like the Talbots, Lutter knows how critical the art of cinematography is to making a horror film believable, especially when money is tight.
“It’s how you draw the audience in,” said Lutter, who’s 2010 award-winning short film Joanna Makes a Friend won a number of awards, including the audience choice award at both TIFF Kids and the Victoria Film Festival and was shown at the Cannes film market as a part of their Not Short on Talent program in 2012.
Having already worked with the Talbots and knowing what he needed to make his first feature a success, Lutter said he’s excited to have the young up-and-coming brothers attached to his film.
“It has to be dark and moody. They have an incredible eye for cinematography, so I’m happy they wanted to be part of it,” said Lutter.
For the Talbots, keeping busy is the main goal to growing their business. The exposure gained from their success with the Super Bowl ad helps. They’ve been in talks with some production companies about filming some commercials.
“It’s certainly a great ice-breaker,” said Nelson.
For The Hollow Ones, everyone on the set is working at a reduced rate or donating their time, said Lutter. So outside of the funding provided by Telefilm, Lutter is trying to help raise funds to help with everything from production costs to marketing the film once it’s released.
He said the hope is to be able to take the film to festivals, gaining exposure, which builds everyone’s brand.
• For more information on The Hollow Ones, visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-hollow-ones.