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Tuesday September 16th, 2014

Posted at 7:19pm

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Scarehouse promotional photo

Scarehouse promotional photo

About a year after finishing principle photography, a Windsor production is coming home.

With his film ready to go, director Gavin Michael Booth will give The Scarehouse its world premiere in Windsor-Essex County.  Taking place in partnership with Greg Monforton And Partners on Sunday, October 5, at Lakeshore Cinemas, Booth couldn’t be happier to show off the end result in front of a hometown crowd.

“It’s going to be an amazing night,” he said. “It’s important to me that Windsor see it first since they made it happen. It could not have been done without them.”

Co-written by Booth and his wife Sarah, who also stars in the film, The Scarehouse was shot entirely in Windsor. In addition to this, Gavin’s crew was assembled by enlisting several people in the area. One notable name on the list is production designer Shawn Lippert — Gavin filmed his surprise wedding, which went viral and was covered by media worldwide. Now Lippert owns The Scarehouse Windsor. Two of the movie’s producers, Mike Carriere and Rhys Trenhaile, also come from the area.

Saving the indie film some cash, Gavin praised others’ efforts and accommodations as well.

“Carly Nicodemo and Taylor Vigneux, our make-up team, are local and did a fantastic job,” he said. “There was local hotel, catering support and University of Windsor film students working on set. So many good perks came with filming there.”

This was especially needed when the production ran into some challenges. with no air conditioning, the area’s humidity and set lighting made for some sticky conditions: These weren’t ideal for hair or make-up and left those departments with plenty of touch-ups to do every day.

While low, the budget was the largest Gavin has ever worked with. Although some may think this created fewer problems, it was actually the opposite. The film director says that while he’s encountered many of the same hurdles on past projects, they were one or two minor issues for each. In this case however, he had to deal with everything during one big movie shoot.

Despite filming four films and dozens of videos, Gavin admits that The Scarehouse was the most difficult. Luckily, he surrounded himself with people who went above and beyond to assist at the old building where the movie was shot.

“An old building doesn’t come without its challenges,” said Booth. “We were informed the plumbing worked for example and we would be able to get hot water to a kitchen we were planning on using for some of the crew meal prep. Turns out, instead, there was no such ordinance in the building and one of my producing partners Mike Carriere and his brother Brad busted some serious hump (and above the call of duty skills (these are super producer powers on top of the usual fair it takes to make a movie) to re-plumb everything two days before the shoot started. Also the electrical system in an old building is a mystery game of wires, patches and decades of rigging it this way or that. We would lose power occasionally and even the best of the best electricians called in would leave scratching their heads at how the building is set up.”

Still, it wasn’t all bad by any means. Gavin enjoyed working with some of his best friends, whose work also inspired him to bring hist best to the production. While facing adversity, the director feels the pressure forced him to elevate the movie to another level. Although filming only lasted 23 days, Gavin maintains that there are several people he wouldn’t film another movie without.

Besides the main crew, Gavin praised several in the community for their support. Rob Haglund from Boston Pizza was the production’s main catering sponsor and will host the world premiere after party. Sarah Illijanich from Fusion Talent, who Gavin described as “a woman who feeds on passion and will stop at nothing to help filmmakers here get their project moving” and Paul Synott: He scouted the best of downtown Windsor’s eateries including Phog Lounge, The Manchester and Rino’s Kitchen to feed the cast and crew.

While the director thinks it would take several articles to mention everyone who helped, it’s one of the reasons he wanted to screen the film in Windsor.

“It is contributors like this that let me truly see how unique Windsor is when it comes to taking care of their own,” said Gavin. “Windsorites see passion in others and want to help – sometimes feel compelled to help. For every single Windsor area person working on this film there is a strange tale of how they came into myself through chasing my dreams and how we’ve built our respective talents together. The Scarehouse is the hurricane resulting in minor winds for many years beginning to blow in the same direction.”

Fresh off a sneak preview at Montreal ComicCon, Gavin is especially excited to see how the end result plays in front of his home crowd. On top of The Scarehouse’s world premiere, the film will be followed by a Q&A with the director and several cast members.

While the line-up is subject to change, actors in attendance will include his wife Sarah (Hemlock Grove and currently shooting season two of SyFy’s Helix,) Katherine Barrell (The Listener, Reign,) Teagan Vincze (Spun Out, NBC’s Motive,) Dani Barker (Youtube creator of Starvival,) Ivana Stojanovic (If A Tree Falls,) Emily Alatalo (Neverlost, My Ex Ex,) Jennifer Miller (Helix season two,) Jack Ettlinger (recently wrapped the Total Frat Movie,) Brad Evertt, Shaun Mazoka (Windsor actor and star of new locally-produced web series Cooked,) Jonathan Dubsky (Warm Bodies) and Alex Harrouch (Degrassi cast.)

Those looking to mingle with cast and crew can also buy tickets to the after party. Taking place down the road at Boston Pizza, it will be an opportunity to listen to live music from the movie’s soundtrack, meet industry professionals from Toronto and have a good time: Food will be provided and drinks are included in the ticket price as well.

Prepping his next film project in Windsor-Essex County, Gavin hopes to meet local actors, writers and film-makers. Making new relationships with local talent is important to the director, along with celebrating the hard work his crew put into The Scarehouse.

“I just really hope the after party can be a celebration of all the people who helped so much to make the movie possible in Windsor,” he said. “Often the end credits aren’t watched and the media celebrates the movie’s stars and the director – sometimes the writer or producer. An after party is a great way to meet all of the hard workers that slave to make a film. It’s a chance to hear their passions and stories from the film. If you are a fan of films and film-making, an after party is a fantastic place to gain insight about a film you might never find elsewhere.”

As mentioned, the movie’s soundtrack will be played live at the after party as well. If the summer blockbuster Guardians Of The Galaxy proved anything, it’s that music is hugely important to any film. Showing its no exception, Gavin and his friend/band manager Todd Arkell combined their resources to carefully find the right songs for this movie in particular.

While plans are in the works for an iTunes release, the eclectic list shines on its own in the film.

“The soundtrack songs are just fantastic,” said Gavin. “One of my favourite artists who I befriended a few years back and even had the chance to shoot a music video for – BLEU – comes out of Los Angeles. He has the opening credits song, Merry Go Round. It feels like a lost song from an 80’s John Hughes movie. BLEU writes songs and produces for heavy-hitters like Demi Lovoto, Selena Gomez, Meat Loaf, etc and he was also featured with his own song on the original Tobey Maguire soundtrack for Spider-Man. The fact we get to feature his music in The Scarehouse is truly special to me.”

Many local bands such as The Blue Stones and The MicLordz will be featured. Several up and coming artists have song placements too, including Liz Labelle’s Party Monster and Vegas’ Love. Even frequent collaborator Emma-Lee, whose video for Shadow Of A Ghost was shot in the same building, has her song Shot In The Dark prominently featured in the film.

Still, Gavin’s priority was to collaborate with Windsor musicians. Beyond the soundtrack itself, he’s looking to do so in a unique way with one band in particular.

“The band is ClassX with their song Only Human, which serves as our end credits song in The Scarehouse,” said Gavin. “I’ve wanted to work with them on a music video for sometime but this is the first opportunity that’s come together …I cannot give away the plot, but let me tell you: I think we have cooked up something very unique as a stand alone music video perfect for the Halloween/Horror scene, as well as something I haven’t seen before in terms of cross-promoting a film.”

The video will be filmed in Windsor with plans for a release around the movie, if not at the world premiere itself.

As far as release plans for the movie itself, October is a big month. On the 17th, D Films opens The Scarehouse in select theatres across Canada. To capitalize on the movie’s Devil’s Night setting, it will hit VOD/iTunes in North America thanks to NBC/Universal and D Films on October 21. While a Blu Ray/DVD release will follow, a date wasn’t set at the time of this article.

Beyond this, deals are still being made to distribute the film internationally.

“There are some sales that have been locked – the rest is coming together,” said Gavin. “I can’t say where yet but I can say I will be travelling to a few far off places to watch the film in a theatre. I can’t think of a more surreal experience than watching our film with an audience of film lovers in a completely different culture.”

For those unsure about seeing the film, either at its world premiere or otherwise, it’ll be a night of fun and an opportunity to support local talent if nothing else. Of course, the director has a pitch too.

“In the briefest of terms we refer to it as ‘Mean Girls meets Saw,'” he said. “The Scarehouse is a revenge thriller set inside a man-made Halloween fun house. The lead characters of Corey and Elaina have devious plans for their former sorority sisters who wronged them two years prior. The film’s plot from there is a mystery you have to fully unravel as you watch – if I say more, I’d give it all away and then where’s the fun of being at the premiere, discovering it for yourself, huh?.”

Tickets for The Scarehouse’s world premiere and after party are available online. You can also visit the event page on facebook and keep up to date with the film on its official site.

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