EAST LONGMEADOW In a digital-editing suite at Veritech Corporation, Marty Langford is editing footage from his science fiction thriller Magdalena's Brain. Langford isn't working on the feature itself he's preparing deleted footage for the extras section of the film's national DVD release.
Langford and his partner, Warren Amerman, recently signed an agreement with Heretic Films, a San Francisco-based distributor. Their locally produced feature should be at retail outlets such as Best Buy, Amazon.com, Sun Coast and Virgin for sale and for rent at Hollywood Video in July.
With a North American distribution deal set, the team has set their sights at exploring foreign distribution deals and domestic and foreign television sales.
Magdelena's Brain was shot in the summer of 2004 in several locations in Hampden County, but primarily at Open Square in Holyoke. Langford produced the film and Amerman directed it. They collaborated on the script.
Starring Amy Shelton-White, the film is a story about an experiment in artificial intelligence gone terribly wrong and the toil that it takes on one woman.
Prior to the interview, Langford was working on amending the credits of the film and preparing a group of deleted scenes. The distributor had requested that Langford and Amerman produce a group of extras and Langford noted that there weren't many scenes not used in the low-budget film.
He showed one scene in which Amerman shot two different versions with different actors. At first, the team thought the first actor was the problem in the scene; however, with the second version, they realized that the scene as written was the problem, not the performers. Langford noted that deleted scenes were not included in the final cut of a movie for a reason.
Langford and Amerman recently recorded a commentary for the film and he said it was a fast-moving experience. Neither man had seen the movie for several months and they sat in Amerman's recording studio with a bottle of wine.
Langford said, "no one cares about me or Warren on a personal level," so they didn't focus their commentary on stories that would come across as self-indulgent. Instead they used the commentary track as an opportunity to share some of the lessons they learned during the shoot.
"We talked about how to work around restrictions," Langford said. He added that the recording period sped by and they were tempted to do another track to include more information for fledgling filmmakers.
The two men found their distributor by soliciting companies that had a catalog that included films similar to theirs. They sent out a number of copies of the film and two companies expressed interest. Eventually, they signed on with Heretic.
Langford and Amerman are now considering their second feature. Langford noted that many directors break into the business with a horror film because horror fans are the "least discriminating." As long as a director includes the story elements that please the fans, its audience can deem his or her film a success. Langford said this with a smile, as he is a fan of horror films, himself.
Their next feature will be a heist movie, a genre both men enjoy. Langford described it as "a group of everymen with no specialties who must work together."