Monday, January 10, 2011

Just when I start a project...

... something comes out of thin air.

Well, not actually thin air, maybe more like cold air.

Most of you remember me talking about Ghostkeeper, my first feature film, written, directed by me and produced by my company way back in 1980. And if you're following the blog you remember the screening in late October in Toronto by a film group's screening theater. Aptly named Trash Palace. I had a great time with some 20-somethings talking about my movie and also watching it.

Well, when I was in Calgary for Christmas, my brother Dave and I decided to drive to Lake Louise on a sunny Christmas Day with temperatures near zero. We were headed to the Post Hotel, home to a restaurant that is actually known in many European countries for it's cuisine.  

More on the Post later.

Another reason was to stop at the Deer Lodge hotel, which had special significance. It's where we filmed Ghostkeeper 30 years ago, or as I like to remember, when I had a lot more hair.

The Deer Lodge was closed in winter when we filmed but now it's open all year round. The hotel hires mostly students and transients to service the hotel and a few years ago, my brother mentioned it to an Australian girl he knew who had worked there and told her about the movie.

She was interested enough to find a copy on the internet and showed it to the staff. Well, since then, the movie has become a cult favorite of the hotel staff, with new staff discovering it year after year.

It was a little strange for me as I entered the hotel. For one thing, it was warm. When we filmed it had no heat and we brought in construction heaters which we heated a room or hallway, then turned them off and filmed for as long as we could before it got cold.

We met the current manager and when I told him I made the film he was totally surprised and, most of all, a fan of the movie. They even have an early poster, framed in the recreation room. He also wanted copies of the movie to sell but I don't have a really good copy. Through the last 30 years the main 35mm prints have disappeared. Or so I thought.

At any rate, we joked that maybe we could have a "Weekend with the Ghostkeeper" sometime in the future, wherein I call back the actors and some crew and we could do one of those week-ends with anyone who'd come to spend the night with us.

Over dinner later, my brother Dave and I talked more about the possibility of a reunion of the crew and actors.  The dinner at the Post was as always, excellent. And considering I got kicked out of there during the filming at the Deer Lodge, nobody refused me entrance this time.

Actually that time,  we were kicked out because the lead actress, angry with the crew's dislike of her, threw a glass of wine at me, mostly because I was the only one who was nice to her. More wine was thrown and the restaurant maitre'd asked us to leave.

So, back in LA last week, I check old emails and find one from a distributor in Seattle. I call  him and he says he has access to a pristine 35mm print of Ghostkeeper. What's more, he wants to distribute it.

How's that for coincidence? 

So, since last week, the entire thing has grown. I will probably sign a deal with him, and the reality of it is that Ghostkeeper will probably do modest sales at best. But that's not the best part.

The best part is this; I have been asked over the years to remake or do Ghostkeeper 2 by a number of people, but I said I didn't have a good story. But, now I think I do.

What if the cast and crew of Ghostkeeper decided to have a reunion at the Deer Lodge and what if strange things begin to happen. Like someone's killed. Or at least scared to death.

I think I have an idea, based on the above. A movie within a movie.  The actors in the original will be the actors in Ghostkeeper 2 only this time, one of them has a secret and, just like the original movie, the place gets a little scary. I have to work it out a little more clearer.

The reality of this is that, with a distribution deal for GKPR 1 already made and soon to be released on DVD, and another distribution deal for GKPR 2, I should be able to find money to shoot GKPR 2, and at the Deer Lodge. Getting a distributor is one of the hardest things to find, and here, it's practically being handed to me.

Even though the idea of  a sequel to a movie that really wasn't that great is debatable, I'd be crazy not to take advantage of it. At least the screenplay would be a lot better than the original.

And what happens to Casualties of Love which I've started rewriting. And also with two Christmas movies which I hoped to write in a few weeks.

When it rains, it pours.

But I know all too well that good things can disappear if I don't act on them.

(Thurs: the new dilema)