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Children of the Hunt takes aim at hometown crowd Jan. 31

by Mark Burger

When the independent action thriller Children of the Hunt makes its premiere on Jan. 31 at the Carousel Luxury Cinemas (1305 Battleground Ave., Greensboro), it will mark the culmination of a three-year odyssey that took longer than originally anticipated, due in part to the untimely death of executive producer and principal financier Adam Ross last year.

With a number of projects in various stages of production — including the 3-D horror anthology Vault of Darkness — Children of the Hunt’s awardwinning multi-hyphenate Matthew B.

Moore (director/editor/co-producer/cowriter) is delighted that audiences will now have the opportunity to see their cinematic dream where it belongs: on the big screen.

Set in the year 2052, Children of the Hunt is a futuristic variation on classic Richard Connell story The Most Dangerous Game, in which humans hunt humans. The thrill is the kill… until the hunted manage to turn the tables and start doing some hunting — and killing — of their own.

The cast includes David Stevens, Darren Dalton, Paul Shaw, Crystal Largen, Alexander Isaiah Thomas, Juan Carlos Guzman and Moore himself in a small role.

According to Moore, Ross’ original script for Children of the Hunt was “really big on camp [humor], and he’d written a looser, wackier ’80s action/scifi genre film like Yor: The Hunter from the Future or Krull.”

Moore says he initially turned down the project for just that reason. On the other hand, he liked the premise and did see room for some dark political satire. Ross was swayed, the script was rewritten, and the Hunt was on.

The film was an entirely “homegrown” project, with all principal talent and investment culled from the region. For Kernersville resident and life-long movie buff Mike Beane, cast as one of the hunters, “it was great to hang out with some cool, cool people like Juan Carlos Guzman.”

(Asked whether or not his character survives the hunt, Beane is mum, but he admits that bringing him back for a sequel might be rather difficult….)

Moore credit’s the collective enthusiasm of both cast and crew for making Children of the Hunt the experience it was, and he hopes that enthusiasm comes across in the finished product.

Once principal photography was completed, Moore knew full well that they’d have to go back to reshoot or rework certain scenes. But although Ross reveled in the filmmaking process, he had little patience for post-production, preferring instead to jump into a new project without quite finishing the last one, hence the delay in completing Children of the Hunt during his lifetime.

“The worst part of it was that he didn’t get to see it finished,” laments Moore. “We were about nine shots away from completion when he died… that really sucks.”

The basic core of the story was always there, but a few accoutrements seemed appropriate to beef up the action quotient. “It was all basically there,” says fellow producer Blake Faucette. “It just needed a little more.”

“There were a few things we added, and that took a little bit of time,” says Moore. For some scenes, “basically all we did was to make them bigger and better. We shot a new opener.”

Moore also consulted with Richard Clabaugh and John S. Rushton, two principals of the Lewisville-based Crimson Wolf Productions, which acquired Children of the Hunt for distribution (as it did Dogs of Chinatown, which Faucette also produced), in an effort to make the film more marketable and competitive within the framework of its genre. This will hopefully translate into a nice sale.

“I like it,” Moore says of the film. “It can only be what it is. I don’t roll my eyes when I watch it, and I’ve seen it a hundred billion times.”

And Moore is certain that Ross would have approved.

“God, yeah!” Moore laughs. “It was all about the game to him — ‘Let’s make a movie!’” And so they have. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan.

31. Tickets are $8.75. For advance tickets, see www.carouselbattleground. com. For more information, see

——–

At this late date, I realized that I hadn’t done my own Top-10 list for the films of 2009. Here then, belatedly, are my selections for the best films of 2009 — and the worst. Rather than list them in order of preference, I simply listed them in alphabetical order with the best (or worst) in each list highlighted.

The Best of 2009:

Anvil!: The Story of Anvil

The Damned United Goodbye Solo The Hurt Locker The Messenger A Single Man That Evening Sun Up Up in the Air World’s Greatest Dad ———————- The Worst of 2009: All About Steve Dance Flick Did You Hear About the Morgans? Dragonball Evolution Friday the 13th Halloween II New in Town Ninja Assassin Saw VI Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

wanna go?

Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31.

CarouselCinemas 1305 Battleground Avenue Greensboro, NC 27408 (336) 230-1620Tickets are $8.75. For advance tickets, see www.carouselbattleground.com. For more information, seechildrenofthehunt.com.

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