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‘Dead River’ draws praise for Santa Fe-based filmmaker Jason DeBoer

A scene from the film “Dead River.” (Courtesy of Trembling Sun Films)

A scene from the film “Dead River.” (Courtesy of Trembling Sun Films)

SANTA FE, N.M. — Not even the weather could stop Jason DeBoer.

The Santa Fe-based filmmaker recently picked up best New Mexico Film at the Albuquerque Film Festival for the film “Dead River.”

DeBoer and crew went through some crazy weather to get the film completed.

“We shot ‘Dead River’ in winter two years ago, with some freezing 6-degree days and our second shoot day ruined by 11 inches of snow,” he says. “For some interiors with limited power, we had to choose lights over heaters, so it was frigid filmmaking. On top of that, my lovely wife, Monica, was nine months pregnant at the time, so she was a real trouper about having 20 people in our house for the week we shot there.”

The film follows two married literary professors, Grant and Lisa Bingham, whose lives change dramatically when they meet Luther Nash, a renowned crime writer.

The couple discover real darkness while writing Nash’s biography.

The production lasted seven months from finished script to the final product.

The world premiere was held at the Madrid International Film Festival in Spain last July. It stars Morse Bicknell, Eb Lottimer and Lora Cunningham.

The film was shot mostly in Santa Fe County, with some locations in Eldorado, the Cerrillos/Madrid area, and one day at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

” ‘Dead River’ is entirely a homegrown New Mexican feature, which seems to be more of a rarity than it should be,” he says.

DeBoer and crew filmed the entire production in 12 days, which didn’t leave a lot of extraneous footage.

“I had never edited before, and I often had a newborn baby with me in the room for the editing process,” he says. “Fortunately, I had a very talented and patient editor, Sheridan O’Donnell, to guide me. I have to say that editing one’s own feature film is the most exhilarating creative thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

DeBoer got interested in film when he moved to Santa Fe a few years ago.

“The New Mexico scene is very accessible that way, so I began taking classes in filmmaking (to train my directing side) and gaining some limited experience working on shorts and no-budget features,” he says. “This is my first film ever as a writer-director. … I had never even written a screenplay of any length, although I’ve published many short stories and other works.”

The film will screen at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe from Feb. 5-11.

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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