By John Turner
Whether it’s a pet doing something disgustingly cute, or a relative celebrating a personal milestone, practically everyone with a cell phone has shot some type of video with the device.
And former Skaneateles resident and veteran filmmaker Zack Ford is planning to take that practice to a whole new level.
Zack, a 2001 Skaneateles High School graduate who currently resides in Manhattan, is in the pre-production phase of “The Creep,” a thriller that will be the world’s first feature film shot entirely on an iPhone.
Zack will make his directorial debut with the movie, which will be filmed later this summer in Manhattan and in several locations upstate, including Skaneateles.
“Almost all of us have a smart phone,” Zack said during an interview last week. “These phones are loaded with our personal information. … My girlfriend lost hers, and there was that scary moment of getting a call from an unknown number with an unknown voice telling her he had her phone.”
“The Creep” tells the story of Angie, a teenager who is visiting New York City. Angie loses her iPhone, and it’s found by a serial killer dubbed “The Handyman, because of his penchant for power tools,” Zack said.
Since the story will be told from one visual perspective, he continued, the film starts with Angie’s point of view, then switches to that of the killer once he possesses the phone.
“What I love about the script is that it’s more thriller than gore,” he said. “The tone is hair-raising because it’s so voyeuristic as the killer stalks Angie.”
Angie will be portrayed by Talia Vana, whom the New York Post said is “an up-and-coming femme fatale,” comparing her to actress Christina Ricci. The Handyman will be played by Ron Barba, who ironically has had a successful career as a standup comedian.
Zack said he plans to shoot scenes in Grand Central Station and at the Empire State Building, among other places in New York City. The film begins in a more rural location, and Zack said much of that footage will be shot in and around Skaneateles.
Pictured above: Some early storyboards from Zack Ford’s upcoming movie “The Creep.”
He will use local farms and possibly the village itself as backdrop scenery, and one scene will take place on the lake. “Angie has a fight with her girlfriend, and they break up right on Skaneateles Lake.
“And we’re actually going to buy an underwater rig—for only $50—and shoot footage from below the surface of the lake,” he added.
One of the biggest advantages of filming the movie with an iPhone, he said, is its relatively low production cost, an important factor in producing an independent film.
“The fun in making one of these types of indie horror films, especially one starting to come together as well as ‘The Creep,’ is that it’s like waging a guerrilla war against the big studios,” Zack explained.
“Supporting independent films like this is good business for everyone. If everyone who heard the name ‘The Creep’ donated a few dollars, just a dollar or two, we could make this film. Every dollar brings everyone on the production a step closer to doing the impossible.”
“The Creep” is scheduled for release sometime in 2012.