Fantasia ’14 Exclusive: Comments and Promo Photos/Art—Tristan Risk and Francisco Barreiro in “LOVE SICK”
The highlight of the Frontières International Co-Production Market at this summer’s Fantasia festival in Montreal was a pitch session in which a number of filmmakers unveiled images created to promote their projects. FANGORIA got a batch of exclusive pics from one of the most striking presentations, Todd E. Freeman’s LOVE SICK, plus words with its creators.
Aiming to shoot later this year, LOVE SICK has snagged a impressive cast, including AMERICAN MARY’s Tristan Risk and HERE COMES THE DEVIL’s Francisco Barreiro, seen in the promotional photos below by Levy Moroshan. (The concept art below those pics was created by Brett Weldele.) Also part of the ensemble are Fango faves Bill Moseley and Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig of the upcoming WE ARE STILL HERE, BAD KIDS GO TO HELL’s Augie Duke, BIG ASS SPIDER!’s Ruben Pla and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER’s Camden Toy. Risk and Barreiro will play Rebecca and Marcus, a couple who “have been together for 10 years and after much deliberation have decided to part ways. After separating and being with others, they quickly realize how hard it is to disconnect from one another. The pain, lies, and betrayal all begin to manifest physically within the both of them as well as infect the others who have become involved with intimately. They love each other so much that it hurts…some more than others.”
It’s an especially personal project for Freeman, who previously wrote and directed CELL COUNT. “Nine years ago,” he explains, “my wife and I were having a hard time with our relationship, and at a point in our marriage where we were drifting apart and basically separated. Then we decided to try and get back together, and decided to sort of dive into this deep-seated pain—we’d been together since I was 17 and she was 16, so at 30 we were still dealing with things from when we were teenagers. But we hashed it out and are better now, and the genesis of the project was the idea of how far people would be willing to go to save their marriage. I think everyone knows how bad it hurts when love goes bad; you feel the pain physically as well as emotionally. You know, there are so many great old song lyrics—‘Love hurts,’ ‘Love stinks,’ ‘Love bites,’ all those things.
“Somebody asked me, ‘Did you think at the time, “Wow, this could be a really good movie someday?” ’ and I was like, ‘Nope.’ [Laughs] But now that the little baby in the story of the movie is now 8 years old, I’ve had enough time to sort of remove myself, and my wife has had enough time to remove herself. There’s a lot of us in there, but obviously quite a bit of it is not based on reality.”
That would include a number of intense and grisly makeup illusions that are suggested in that concept art. “It’s very graphic!” says Lara Cuddy, who’s producing LOVE SICK with Freeman, and the latter adds, “We think the poster is a good indication. I want to make a romantic monster movie. There are elements of a love story—very much so—but that manifests itself in some pretty disgusting ways.”
Freeman and Cuddy first captured that combination in M IS FOR MARRIAGE, their “proof of concept” short for LOVE SICK that was entered in the ABCs OF DEATH 2 competition. “We made that with a lot of the key people who will be working on the feature—same DP, same FX team,” Cuddy says, “so it sets the tone and establishes the feel, and it gives you a glimpse into the world of LOVE SICK.”
“Entering it into the ABCs of DEATH 2 competition launched the movie into people’s eyes,” Freeman adds, “and it was sort of a calling card for the people who wound up in the cast. I first contacted Tristan through Facebook, of all places, and sent her a link to M IS FOR MARRIAGE, and she took a look and came on board. Francisco actually got ahold of me on Facebook, because he had seen M IS FOR MARRIAGE and just wrote to me saying, ‘I wanted to introduce myself,’ and I said, ‘That’s funny, because I wanted to meet you.’ One thing led to another, and I also met Ruben Pla, Augie Duke and Andrew Sensenig on-line. Once those names decided they wanted to be a part of LOVE SICK, that made it easier to get it into more people’s hands. We got ahold of Barbara Crampton and Bill Moseley’s managers, and they read the script and watched the proof of concept and passed them on to those two, and they loved it and signed on as well.”
It helped that all this activity followed closely upon the festival success of CELL COUNT, beginning with its world premiere at Fantaspoa in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and the resulting press and distribution attention. “It was a force of nature,” Cuddy says, “and everything else was a whirlwind after that. You could do five or 10 minutes of research on-line, and it wouldn’t take you long to figure out that Todd’s a director who works well in this space and makes films that people want to see.”
Hopes are that enough investors will realize that to see LOVE SICK realized, and soon. “Right now, we’re loaded but not locked, as we like to say,” Cuddy notes. “We’re ready to jump into preproduction pretty much at any time. We developed all these materials with the goal of going to our financial connections and presenting the material to them; then the opportunity to be at Frontières came along, and we said, ‘OK, let’s press the pause button and go up there, talk to people and see what our options are, then go back to our potential investors and present them with those options. The script is ready, the talent is attached, our key people are ready to shoot. Everybody who worked on the short is champing at the bit to get it going.” Keep up with LOVE SICK’s progress via its Facebook page.