We had a chance to catch up with co-directors and co-stars Nicholas LaMantia and Brandon Keenan about their upcoming feature film “Body Farm.”
What inspired the story behind Body Farm?
Brandon Keenan: Back in 2007 I had someone bring up the topic of a Body Farm in Tennessee. I started researching it and once I saw the reality of what the place was in just pictures alone I had churned up the idea f making a movie based around a place like this. The idea that human beings that donate their bodies to science and have their bodies put into studies that seem horrific to any outsider was enough to get the creative juices flowing. 6 Months later I had a full script.
What are your favorite horror films?
Brandon: I love Saw, Hostel, High Tension (French Film), and a lot of old horror films. Scary horror films for me are ones that could actually happen. I appreciate science fiction films as well such as Ghostbusters, Alien, and War of the Worlds.
Nicholas: I would say that I truly enjoy films that may not classify as straight-up horror but have horror elements. Silence of the Lambs, Old Boy (2003), and Shutter Island stand out as heavy influences on me. I like character studies, but I also enjoy films that treat the location as a character which heavily influenced my direction of Body Farm.
Any advice for new horror filmmakers after making your first feature film?
Brandon: Grab a camera and start shooting. I’ve been filming small videos since I was a little boy and ultimately there is just myself with a creative mind. I would encourage others to work with what you have. You don’t need big budgets or a huge studio backing to make a movie.
Nicholas: Do not forget the story. Simple is best, and you are not better than your audience. People connect with simple stories that are told by interesting characters. The easiest part of making a good film is a good script. It is your blueprint. I can not build a house without blueprints. I would have a random pile of lumber and nails. I need the blueprint to organize it. A script is the same way.
What as the hardest scene to get and how did you make it happen?
Brandon: The gun shot scene! We had one take.
Nicholas: Oh, yeah! The bloody (both British and literal definitions of the word) gun shot scene was nail-biting, nerve-wracking, and nauseating.
Any other interesting facts or funny stories from making the film you want to share?
Brandon: My weight went up and down during those 2.5 years. Literally from 245lbs to 270lbs. I didn’t make it easy for continuity to say the least. Nick had to keep a scruffy beard and long hair for all of it as well and he did a much better job on that end! LOL.
Nicholas: There was so much sugar-based, fake blood in one scene that the sugar melted under the lights and then caramelized. This process froze the actor, who was laying in the gallons of fake blood, to the floor. It took quite a bit of warm water to remove the actor from the floor.
Body Farm a joint production by KVT Productions and Nickel 17 Films, will be available on Amazon Prime, Direct TV, Google Play, iTunes, and Microsoft TV & Movies on March 1st.
Body Farm follows an independent film company that sends a videographer ahead of a story. She goes to investigate a body farm where human decomposition is researched. The footage that is sent back leads the rest of her team to follow her footsteps where they uncover a grisly medical abyss.
Co-directors and co-stars Nicholas LaMantia and Brandon Keenan shot the film over twenty days over the course of two and a half years to complete the 75-minute film in their feature-film directing debut.
Both filmmakers have been active in the Pittsburgh-area film community for over ten years, but this is their first independently-produced feature film.
Completely self-funded, the $35,000 production used mostly Pittsburgh-based actors and crew members as they shot in Western Pennsylvania, New York, in the mountains of North Carolina and at the West Virginia State Penitentiary.
The film also features a cameo from Richard Christy (The Howard Stern Show, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2).