Applications are flying in with the recent passing of the new Florida film bill. The new incentives were put into play as of July 1st and the people behind Souleater jumped in with both feet. The film is being completely crewed and financed by Florida filmmakers and investors. Filming will take place toward the end of July and wrap in a couple weeks thereafter.
Souleater, a horror flick (obviously), qualifies in the ultra-low budget bracket of the film bill. Meaning, the production budget is no more than $200K. Florida is one of the few states where an indie film such as this, can take advantage of the incentives. Before you scoff and/or dismiss a movie carrying a low budget. Keep in mind the original Halloween, now a timeless classic, was made for roughly $320K. So let’s give Souleater a fair shake.
With the new film bill being passed a few months back, many in the local industry speculated on the impact the new criteria would have in bringing film back to Florda. Specifically, independent film. Many in the industry think this bill will just help lure in the big fish.
The jury is still out on the answer. However, Tyler Martinolich producer of Souleater, shared his thoughts on the popular topic…
“While most state film incentives are designed to lure big productions, that does not mean smaller independent productions can’t also benefit and flourish under those same incentives. It’s more then just “film here & get money.” Productions are required to use a certain number of locations in state, hire local crews and cast, and spend X amount of money on local products and services. This can actually work against a larger production, as they most often have prior attachments.”
These prior attachments range from union contracts to where the post-production will be held. Post-production is always a big concern for it is usually completed out-of-state. As mentioned above, this relates to the larger productions. Tyler went on talking about how there will always be independent film with or without incentives. Sounded like he almost had a “Jerry Maguire” moment…
“Its important to remember, with or without film incentives, there will always be an independent film scene. The passion and talent are there, unfortunately the money isn’t. With incentives, dollars stretch a little further, and funding can be easier to find. This will lead to a more invigorated independent scene and hopefully will increase the total number of yearly productions.”
Filmmakers throughout the state hope he’s right. Souleater may shine as one of the first examples yielding the positive effects of the new bill. Tyler went on to talk about how the “non-film” community also benefits by having more productions in their city. As covered in previous articles pretaining to this topic, restaurants, tourism, hotels, etc. all earn a profit during the production. (Read the related articles above for more info on how this boosts the local and state economy).
Now that’s enough education, how about some plot details for this flick!
Souleater is a horror feature co-written and directed by NYU graduated, long time film editor, and Sarasota resident, Michael Lang. The brief synopsis revolves around a reformed biker, who receives a distressing phone call from his estranged daughter. Upon arriving in the small Florida town he uncovers an ancient evil.
Granted, it reads like a direct-to-DVD release in the Blockbuster horror section. Which usually isn’t a good thing. When speaking to Tyler and Michael and learning their modus operandi for the flick, it starts to reel one in…
“When discussing why we wanted to make Souleater the same reason kept coming up. We were sick of slasher horrors with young kids. Why couldn’t more mature adults take center stage? Where have all the Lee Marvin’s, Charles Bronson’s, and Clint Eastwood’s gone? One rule, no kids (with the exception of Pikes daughter). Older folks, kicking ass, that’s what we wanted to see. Souleater will have a very different feel to it, not grind house, but certainly references to 70’s and early 80’s filmmaking. We wanted to stay far, far away from that hand-held Paranormal Activity feel. Nothing against that type of film, but if we wanted to see a home video I can watch piano playing cats on Youtube. Despite our little budget, we have cobbled together some of the most exciting and eclectic locations, and talented local filmmakers, with the intention of squeezing out every last ounce of production value we can. Its important to us for Souleater to look and feel like a popcorn movie, despite a shoe string budget.”
Is it possible? Have I stumbled upon filmmakers that might have an understanding of the horror genre? Sounds promising. Their description reminds one of Feast. If they can replicate themes found in that Project Greenlight production, these guys are in solid shape. After I visit the set for a day, I’ll put on my movie-crtic hat and let my loyal readers know whether to keep an eye on this flick or not.
After months of debate, and surely more to come, it is nice to see an independent film making some headway with the film incentives in Florida. Many thanks to Tyler Martinolich for taking time to answer my interrogatories and allowing me to visit the set in the upcoming days. Stay tuned kids.