On the set of Children of the Hunt

by Amy Kingsley

In the movie business, plans tend to change almost as quickly as they’re made. On a recent Friday morning, a room off the Greensboro Depot entry hall – where I’d been told today’s shooting would happen – is empty except for two rolling racks and a couple cold catering trays. “A last minute schedule change,” says PR guy Tom Domer. He leads me down the street and around the corner, to a street-front office at Lyndon Street Artworks Collective. Crewmembers mill around on the sidewalk. The script supervisor sits in a folding chair, examining a clipboard. Director Matt Moore comes around the corner, shakes my hand and ducks inside. He blends into the crew, a crowd that favors jeans and cargo shorts. Moore himself is wearing the latter with a Pixies T-shirt, ventilated hiking shoes and crew socks. Inside the office, three production assistants lounge on the couch while Moore, director of photography Jeremy Hyler and the lighting crew fuss with the green screen. Because this is a small-budget production, the screen is actually a green-painted wall flanked with green bedsheets. One of the crew members works the wrinkles with a travel steamer. “Jeremy,” Moore says. “What about this?” He’s tilting a plastic table, a key set piece, toward the light, examining the glare. Hyler peers at the camera display screen. “It’s still there but it starts to disappear,” Hyler says. Today they are filming an office scene. They will fill in the green with an executive-grade window view. The bossman they are shooting today is the nemesis in this movie, Children of the Hunt, the second feature-length film for both Moore and Hyler. It’s about a rebellion; the boss has staged a sort of foxhunt, only with humans as the quarry. The hunted fight back in scenes that were shot earlier this week in Randolph County. “It was hot,” Domer says. “Very hot. Everyone kept getting sprayed down with bug spray and checked for ticks.” Those actors included a couple of pros from the left coast that are on retainer for the two-week shoot. “It’s going to be a B-movie but with better acting,” Moore says. Moore and his producer conceived Children of the Hunt as a 80’s-style action movie in the vein of Sheena: Queen of the Jungle. “You know, the kind of movie where the bad guys are ultra bad and the good guys are really good,” Moore says. “We’ll put some corny things in there, like a Fangoria movie.” We’re interrupted by Moore’s fiance, the set designer, who is showing him a cabinet. “Paint it black and duvvy the inside,” he says. “This guy doesn’t shop at Wal-Mart.” He thumps the thick plastic door. “Maybe his wife does,” the fiance says, shaking a can of black spray paint. Shooting is going to wrap in a few more days, and Moore plans to premier the finished film at the Carolina Theatre sometime in February. He might apply for a few film festivals – the ones with reasonable entry fees – he says, and will concentrate on distributing it through cult and B-movie channels. Moore, a veteran of several 48 Hour Film Projects and the feature film Holland: Legend of the Redneck Samurai, has worked with iterations of this same crew for the past four or five years. “They’re great,” he says. “They are really good at putting a million dollar movie into a seventy thousand dollar bag.” Right now that crew is running around to the back of the building to find a prop. They return with an Audrey II-sized Venus Flytrap sculpture from one of Lyndon Street’s metalworking studios, which they place in the corner of the office. Its jagged teeth portend another one of the movie’s features, one that Moore is particularly proud of. “We have our own special brand of gore,” he says. “I love splattering blood and I think movies should do more of that.”

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