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Staten Island Filmmakers Raise Money for Horror Film and Hurricane Sandy

By Nicholas Rizzi | June 4, 2013 6:39pm
A House on Shady Lane
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YouTube/Jacki Zolezzi

ELTINGVILLE — A horror movie by Staten Island filmmakers plans to donate half of their startup costs to Hurricane Sandy victims.

"House on Shady Lane," which started an Indiegogo campaign last week to raise funds for startup costs for the project, committed to dedicate half of their proceeds to the Red Cross, said director Sal Sorrentino, 36, of Eltingville.

"I drive down Midland Avenue like every day and there's still a lot of things that are not normal there," he said. "I said before we start to ask the public, let's do a half and half. Lets give half of what we get and give to the Red Cross."

Sorrentino, along with screenwriter Mark Spataro and producer Jacki Zolezzi, have asked $25,000 for startup costs to get the movie off the ground and pitch it to bigger companies. The budget for the full film is planned around $2 to $3 million, Sorrentino said.

The film, which Sorrentino described as a psychological thriller mixed with a gory monster movie, tells the story of a mailman on Staten Island who has seen some better times.

"Its pretty much a down on his luck mail man attempts to rob one of the houses in his route," said Spataro, 36, of Eltingville.

While in the house, weird things start to happen to him, and Spataro said it's unclear what's real and what isn't.

Even though Sorrentino said they could easily shoot the film for much cheaper in Canada or New Jersey, they decided to film all the exteriors on Staten Island and keep the film as local as possible.

"We could've done this film a lot cheaper, and we didn't want to do that, we want to do it here," he said. "We could also boost the economy to the downtrodden areas. Put money back in the community any way we can."

Sorrentino expects interest from viewers in the film to be high because of the popularity of the horror movie genre, but promises to give viewers something they haven't seen elsewhere in other genre films.

Spataro said he was inspired a lot by the movie "Jacob's Ladder," while writing the film, and both said it will draw heavily on influences from international horror movies.

The duo met several years ago while working at Blockbuster, and have worked on several short and feature length films together.

Their last project, "The Warrior and the Savior," a drama about South African immigrant children adjusting to life in America, was nominated for several awards at the St. Tropez Film Festival in France, and Sorrentino took home best director.

Sorrentino said this project will be much bigger and scale, and hopes to have three to four well known actors in it.

"It's going to be a big undertaking for an independent horror film," he said. "It's not a small production by any stretch."

If they get the $25,000, $12,000 will go towards Sandy victims, Sorrentino said.

"If we make it, that's over $12,000 to the Red Cross," he said. "It would be a fantastic thing to give them that check."