Filmmaker Daniel Peddle Goes to the Edge in Feature Debut
Filmed throughout North Carolina, including various – and very out-ofthe-way – locations in the Piedmont Triad, Sunset Edge is a hazy, dream-like exploration of grief, guilt, loss and rage … all of it taking place in and around the title setting, an abandoned trailer park filled with empty memories that may not be so empty, all.
or so dormant, after all.
The independent feature marks writer/ producer/director Daniel Peddle’s narrative debut feature. Peddle, a graduate of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and New York University, spent his childhood in rural North Carolina, with fragments of past images etched in his memory that would inspire him to make Sunset Edge.
This Sunday, the film will be screened at a/perture cinemas, Winston-Salem, with Peddle in attendance.
Peddle, who has called New York City home for 22 years, nevertheless keeps current on the Tarheel State’s film status and is aware of the loss of financial incentives for filmmakers.
But in the case of Sunset Edge it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. “I discovered when submitting it to film festivals that it didn’t qualify as a ‘low-budget film’ but a ‘nobudget film,” he laughs.
“The biggest expense was probably the trailer park itself,” he says, it having been discovered by his location scouts – and parents — Larry and Betty Peddle. Upon learning it was due for demolition shortly, Peddle went into pre-production overdrive. Principal photography took 25 days, and Peddle jokes that the bulldozers were revving up the whole time.
“I wanted to explore uncharted terrain between documentary filmmaking and narrative filmmaking,” he explains. “Everything had to looks real, that it was happening right in front of me, right in front of the camera. I became obsessed with the idea.”
The film’s cast is comprised entirely of newcomers: Haley McKnight, Gilberto Padilla, Jacob Ingle, William Dickerson, Blaine Pugh, Jack Horn, Lilianne Gillenwater and Alex Padilla-Maya. “Every single person in the film had never done anything professionally before,” notes Peddle. “Yet they were more professional than most professional actors!” As for the film’s naturalistic dialogue, “it was scripted,” he says. “Then I worked with them to improve upon certain scenes, I’d apply exercises to make it sound more natural.”
From this, Peddle relates there was a learning curve on both sides of the camera. He would sometimes do double-digit takes, then end up using the first or second one. As patient as he was with the actors, they were likewise patient with his process. Sunset Edge was as much about making a journey as making a movie.
“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say it’s everything I set out to do,” Peddle says. “I know it’s not a film that’s going to appeal to everybody … (but) I am very pleased with the result.”
Peddle’s previous features were both documentaries: The Aggressiveness (2005) and Trail Angels (2010). “My first documentary was about black lesbians in New York City and my second about blue-collar people on the Appalachian Trail, so I guess you could say I’ve gone from one extreme to the other!” He’d like to continue to balance making the two. “It’s definitely something I plan on continuing to do,” he says. “It’s a passion of mine.”
He’s currently finishing his third documentary feature, about a resident of Kauai in the Hawaiian islands who “lives in his pick-up trick, lives off the grid, and is basically living an alternative existence. It’s a fascinating story.”
The film is titled Garden of the Peaceful Dragon – “for the moment,” he points out.
Sunset Edge also brought Peddle to the attention of United Talent Agency (UTA), among Tinseltown’s most powerful agencies, which has yielded his next feature, the screen version of Lee Tulloch’s 1989 novel Fabulous Nobodies, which he describes as “a comedy set in the downtown hipster world of New York City.”
Peddle hopes to be filming in October and is looking forward to it. “Given my knowledge of the fashion world, it’s a perfect marriage.”
In addition to his filmmaking interests, Peddle is also a founder of The Secret Gallery, which “street scouts” undiscovered talent. This full-service casting company boasts a prestigious clientele including Givenchy and Phillip Lim, and among The Secret Gallery’s discoveries was a 13-yearold Jennifer Lawrence.
Peddle says he used much the same approach to casting Sunset Edge, having met co-star Jack Horn at the Dixie Classic Fair!
Peddle is also an accomplished painter, an artistic vocation with practical benefits. “I paid for Sunset Edge from the sales of my paintings.”
This is not Sunset Edge’s first stint at a/ perture. “We did a private cast and crew screening for Daniel back in late 2013,” recalls a/perture curator Lawren Desai, “so it’s really wonderful for him to be able to come back to a/perture now and for us to host a screening for the public. We always love to have a filmmaker come for a Q&A, and in this case because it was filmed locally it’s going to be even more special.” !
The A/perture Cinema is located at 311 W. Fourth St., Winston-Salem. Sunset Edge will be screened 7:30 pm Sunday, with filmmaker Daniel Peddle in attendance. Tickets are $11.50. For advance tickets or more information, call 336.722.8148 or visit the official a/perture website: www.aperturecinema.com. The official Sunset Edge website is: