Making ‘SWALLOW’ — Entry #9


The 2010 Dallas International Film Festival is officially over and with that, I am now caught up on sleep. We shot hours of footage detailing the behind the scenes workings of a top-tier festival along with some great interviews from some very accomplished filmmakers (and some inspiring up-and-comers). I’ll be compiling those into little promo clips that I’ll post throughout the next few installments.

In the last entry, I mentioned my adoration for the film “Lovers of Hate.” That film hasn’t left my thoughts and has inspired me in several ways as I continue pre-production with “SWALLOW.” In the next few weeks, we’ll be pushing our pursuit of names a lot more aggressively. Hopefully, we’ll have some major news to announce right here on It’s Just Movies!

Another film that I was able to catch at the 2010 DALLAS IFF was Frank Mosley’s “Hold.” I had seen this film a few months back, but was thrilled to have the opportunity to check it out again in a theater with a pristine HD-CAM transfer. “Hold” is a tense, minimalist drama that examines how an ideal American couple deals with the aftermath of horrific sexual assault. I will admit that I have a little personal bias, because Frank Mosley has a special place in my heart. We’ve been friends and collaborators for years and he was one of the leads in my previous film “The Other Side of Paradise,” in which Variety said: “Mosley seemingly channels Stanley Tucci in providing his unsmiling, shaven-headed character with a potent dose of sexual chutzpah.”

Well, guess what? Mosley (who also has a role in “SWALLOW”) is one hell of a filmmaker too! “Hold” was originally intended as a short film (written by Robby Storey); however, once the duo readdressed their film, they realized they had something they could extend into a very special feature film. The script and film are intentionally very basic (or even primal) in plot, but display such emotional depth in characterizations and actions that the precise finished tone of the film is extremely effective. I will also add that a second viewing is crucial for this film. Performances and edits I had issues with in my first viewing disappeared in the theater this time around.

Stephanie Rhodes as Laura Marsh displays a controlled subtlety in her arc from recovering assault victim to role of the wife trying to reconnect with her emotionally muzzled husband. She is pitch perfect.

The writer of “Hold,” Robby Storey, plays the lead male Alan Marsh. The first time I saw the film, I had a couple of issues with Robby’s performance. Upon second viewing, I connected with his performance on a whole other level. Robby really has a brilliantly-nuanced performance that perfectly captures the character’s need to deal with the assault by simply responding as how he believes a man should respond. His breakthrough scene had me in tears this time around. His performance, along with the script and Mosley’s direction, put an intelligent yet painful magnifying glass on men’s issues with masculinity and the hero complex.

“Hold” is an intelligent, beautiful and intentionally-slow film that deserves an audience willing to give it their full attention. Hopefully, you will get a chance to check this film out!

As a little sneak peek, Frank’s role in “SWALLOW” is going to be VERY memorable and is meant to clearly define, along with another key scene, the moral and ethical boundaries for the entire film. I can’t wait!

Last week, I was invited to take part in a panel for the 2010 Dallas International Film Festival called “WHY ARE YOU BEING SO DUMB ABOUT YOUR MOVIE?”

The Filmmaker Speakeasy panel presented by TXMPA at Central 214 was moderated by John Wildman (STRIPPED, PR DALLAS IFF) with participants Withoutabox/IMDB’s Christian Gaines, Slamdance programmer and filmmaker (CHI GIRL) Heidi Van Lier and myself.”

I’m currently cutting, exporting, and uploading all of these clips. There will probably be about six or seven total, so keep checking out our YouTube channel as they post. I’m going to post the first three here and include the final clips in the next entry. Plenty of more clips and interviews are coming and hopefully some MAJOR news for “SWALLOW”! Check out the clips below and thanks for reading!

. . .

“Making SWALLOW” — a weekly column exclusive to It’s Just Movies — is following the film from pre-production through distribution.

Justin D. Hilliard is a writer/director/producer and co-founder of Striped Socks Productions. He attended the University of Texas at Arlington and received his BFA in Film – Cum Laude in 2004. His previous films are “The Other Side of Paradise,” “3 Thumbs Up Doc” and “Wednesday.”

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5 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Don #

    Hold sounds like it’s worth checking out.

  2. 2

    The stuff from the panel was especially interesting. I wish I could have attended.

  3. 3

    thanks for the kind words, buddy! so happy you enjoyed the film…the plug is great! 🙂

    can’t wait for SWALLOW!!!

  4. 4

    Can’t wait to hear the news!

  5. Ryan #

    Fantastic stuff.

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