Western Mass. native seeks funding for film
By G. Michael Dobbs
Have you ever wanted to invest in a feature film? You now have that opportunity. Palmer native Kristen Zaik is returning to Western Massachusetts to shoot a low-budget thriller and she is looking for people who would like to help make her film a reality.
Zaik, speaking from Los Angeles, Calif., said whether or not she is able to raise the full $200,000 needed for the film, it will go before the cameras here in October.
The actress turned producer is no stranger to show business. A Theater Arts graduate from UMass Boston, Zaik moved to Los Angeles in 2003 to pursue her acting career. Since then, she has been in several music videos, appeared on the sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" and starred in three low-budget horror films.
She calles her film, "Cruelty," a horror film, but in an interview with Reminder Publications, she was quick to add that it wouldn't be gory.
"We're taking a lot of care not to be just another independent film without a good story," she said.
On the production company's Web site, the film is described as "a film about revenge. about how the actions of your past can have consequences that can haunt you for the rest of your life. Cruelty carries over in this world it changes forms, and travels from one person to another. Before you realize it, the victim could be you.
"In a small New England town, a mean and elaborate prank is played on an unsuspecting teenager. Years later the prank has been all but forgotten until a string of grisly murders force one detective to return to the town she'd left behind, where she finds herself working the case with a childhood friend. Caught in an old web of guilt and deceit, they race to find the killer, before the killer finds them."
She added the film is about karma.
"It has a really good message," she said.
The film will be aimed at 18 to 30 years-old audience and will probably carry an "R" rating for language, she said.
Zaik's producing partner is Monica Green, also a Massachusetts native.
The pair has cast both professional actors from Los Angeles and local talent as well. Zaik explained that under an arrangement with the Screen Actors Guild she is allowed to mix union and non-union performers on this film. Zaik has a starring role in the film as a police detective. She said that she and Green have been working with a state police officer on the script's re-writes to make sure the police procedural part of the story is correct.
Both she and Green are performing the double duty of preparing for a role in the movie and producing the film. She said it is "very, very gratifying."
Her production company is part of a firm that produces music, so Zaik said the film would have an original score as well as licensed popular music.
A number of Palmer-area businesses have signed up to assist the production and Zaik noted the brewery for Magic Hat beer has agreed to supply beer for the shoot. She noted with a laugh the contribution would help keep the crew happy.
Zaik noted an old saying that if you're not having the success you would like then do your own project.
"It's pretty easy to say," she noted. "It's really pretty difficult."
She added, though, that despite the hard work, the film is "really exciting."
For more information on the film, log onto www.sixunder7.com/cruelty.htm.