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Independent edge: ABQ filmmaker powers through ‘Midnight Screening’ amid pandemic

Alan Humphrey in a scene from “Midnight Screening.” Humphrey is also a producer of the film. (Courtesy of Daniel Zubiate)

Making a film during a pandemic obviously comes with extra precautions.

But that didn’t stop Albuquerque-based filmmaker Daniel Zubiate.

In August, Zubiate and crew set up to film the feature “Midnight Screening.”

Over the course of nine days, the crew set up at the Starlight Cinema 8 in Los Lunas to film.

Daniel Zubiate

“I had worked on an episode of ‘Mr. Robot,’ and they used the theater,” Zubiate says. “I remembered they were film-friendly. I reached out to them and asked if we could use it as a location, being that they have been closed to the public since March. It worked out.”

Zubiate wrote the script for “Midnight Screening” years ago.

It’s a project he wanted to bring to life because it’s inspired by the 1980s slasher films he grew up watching.

The film follows the employees of a movie theater, Montwood 8. They are setting up to watch an advance screening of a release and meet their grisly demise. It stars Rebekah Patton, Caedmon Holland, Alan Humphrey, Tom Thumb, Jeffrey M. Williams and Amanda Courtney.

Zubiate got the idea for the film while working for a movie theater.

He says that back in the day, a film would be delivered in pieces and the film would be spliced together.

“The employees would have to test it to make sure it was done,” he says. “During that time, it was common that the employees were allowed to stay to watch the film. The film follows one of those nights. Except they start getting killed, one by one.”

Production was done in August, and the crew had to work within the parameters of the state health guidelines.

Masks were worn.

From left, Robert Posey, Caedmon Holland, Rebekah Patton and Trisha Pecore in a scene from “Midnight Screening.” (Courtesy of Daniel Zubiate)

Everyone stayed at least 6 feet apart.

The cast and crew were tested for coronavirus.

“Everyone was local, and we took temperatures every day,” he says. “We had designated spots if someone needed to take their mask off. We had koozies made with each person’s name so that waters weren’t taken.”

During preproduction, Zubiate ran into a few problems.

One of them was finding a place to have a table read of the script.

A table read of “Midnight Screening” was held at Sol Acting Academy. (Courtesy of Daniel Zubiate)

“The hotels weren’t allowing more than 10 people in a conference room,” he says. “Sol Acting Academy stepped up and let us use their space. Again, we had to follow all of the safety measures. It really helped us because they were able to step up.”

Zubiate is in the final stages of postproduction.

He’s not going to take the festival route with the film and would rather find a distributor for the film.

“We took our time with the important scenes in the film,” he says. “It’s a really good time to be an independent filmmaker. Since the shutdown, the films that are being completed are by independent filmmakers. Our films are the only new ones ready to be released. This is a time when we are going to see independent films come up.”


SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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