ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Lauren Myers wanted to keep people guessing with her latest project.
Myers is the co-writer of the New Mexico-made film, “Dead Billy.” The thriller recently screened at the KiMo Theatre during the Albuquerque Film and Media Experience.
“It was pretty cool,” Myers says of the event. “The local community showed up to support this project.”
“Dead Billy” follows Calliope Girard, a woman who has a thriving career in academia and a brilliant fiance. But her life is upended by a series of unexplained seizures. Those seizures unlock memories of a dark past.
The line between reality and memory begin to intertwine as Girard remembers her violent, abusive and manipulated past walking the streets with a mysterious man – a Vietnam veteran named “Billy.”
“It’s been a long time working in this project,” Myers says. “We had to shoot the film in blocks because everyone who worked on it has a day job as well.”
“Dead Billy” was written by Myers and Scott Milder. Milder also directed and executive produced the film. The crew reached out to the film community through Kickstarter, where it raised more than $30,000 for the film.
In November 2012, the crew shot for 13 days in New Mexico, then in January 2013 moved to Colorado for a three-day shoot. The production moved out to Los Angeles for a few days and then it became about shooting pick-ups for the film.
“I would say that it’s 99 percent done by New Mexicans,” Myers says. “There were a few people that weren’t from here but it was very New Mexico heavy.”
She says Milder was influenced by directors like David Lynch and Darren Aronofsky and films like “Jacob’s Ladder” and “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”
“What was great about the screening is that people said they couldn’t stop thinking about the movie,” she says. “We wanted to throw in little hints along the way in the film to where people can come up with their own conclusions. It’s a little dark and scary.”
While the Albuquerque screening was one of the first, Myers says the crew is working on getting on the film-festival circuit.
“We submitted to festivals a couple months ago and won’t hear back from most of them until August,” she says. “We’re also pitching to sales agents. It’s a new journey for a lot of us and we’re learning as we go along.”
Myers says she and many crew members are looking forward to the next project, but she wants to make sure “Dead Billy” runs its course.
“A lot of people ask if we’re relieved now that the film is screening,” she says. “The truth is that it’s just the beginning and we can’t wait to show ‘Dead Billy’ to the world.”
The crew also included Corey Weintraub, Dominic Garcia, Joey Liew, Dionne Lotivio, Mary Holyoke, Rick Galli, Nolan Rudi and Rebekah Wiggins.
Starring in the film are John Hardy, Myers, Frank Taylor Green, Cindy Derby, Amelia Ampuero, Marlo Marquise, Julia Thudium, Gordon Clapp, Amy Baklini and Chad Brummet.
To learn more about the film, visit deadbillythemovie.com.
TAKE A BITE: Amelia Rose Blaire is on one of the hottest TV shows in the world. Blaire stars in HBO’s “True Blood” as Willa.
As Willa, Blaire quickly became a fan favorite on the critically acclaimed show, which begins its final season tonight.
I caught up with Blaire and she talks about “True Blood” and taking a retreat after the season wraps up.
Visit abqjournal.com/reelnm to read more.
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