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Longmeadow resident releases new indie horror film

Date: 5/22/2014

By G. Michael Dobbs

LONGMEADOW – Longmeadow resident Scott Kittredge had to smile when asked about what “true events” were used as the basis for the new horror film “House of Dust.”

The film, which was released to DVD on May 20, has the tagline “based on true events.” The film details what happens when a group of young people accidently shatter containers of cremated mental patients and are taken over by the souls of the dead.

Kittredge explained the principal writer for the film had heard about a former institution that still had the unclaimed ashes of some of its patients.

Kittredge was the co-producer of the film, directed some second unit footage and was a co-writer of the script.

This is another collaboration for Kittredge with director and producer A.D. Calvo. Kittredge also worked on “The Midnight Game” with Calvo.

Wearing several hats on this independent film, Kittredge explained that Calvo gave him the finished script and asked him to “spice up the killings and make them different and unique.”

As a co-producer, he interacted with the Connecticut Film Commission to arrange the locations for the film as well as negotiate contracts with vendors and seek clearances and permits.

Kittredge explained, “‘House of Dust’ had a lot of ‘creatives.’” What he meant is the production had a set for the crematory created for it – as opposed to already existing locations that were dressed for a scene. Kittredge was the overseer of this part of the production.

Finally, as second unit director, Kittredge was responsible for filming scenes that did not necessarily include the major actors, but are important in moving the story forward.

“Because it was an independent film we were very good on scheduling. Any time we had an extra moment such as an hour at the end of the day we would shoot transitional shots, “he said.

There was also one full day devoted to second unit material, he added.

The film was shot in Connecticut in the summer of 2011 and took advantage of tax credits for film production in that state.  Kittredge said that Calvo has worked with Connecticut legislators to reinstate the tax credit program.

Tax credits are of great assistance to smaller productions, Kittredge explained.

Securing distribution is crucial and Kittredge said one lesson he has learned is that too many independent filmmakers post too much footage of their film online before they find a distributor. Instead they should find a producer’s representative whose job it is to find distributors.

He said some producer’s representatives become involved with a film at an early script stage. A producer’s representative can help get a film accepted into film festivals as well.

In the case of “House of Dust,” the film is being distributed by Anchor Bay and will be sold at Wal-Mart as well as several on-line platforms. It will also be available on cable systems through Video On Demand.

Kittredge doesn’t see the current use of crowdsourcing by some independent filmmakers as necessarily the solution to funding a film.   

“There is a lot of work in getting it right,” he said, not the least of which is producing a compelling video to convince people to donate to the film’s budget.

What he is seeing is that some filmmakers use sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo to raise $5000 to $10,000 for “finishing funds” that can be for the promotional expenses for the film.

Currently, Kittredge is planning his own film, a techno spy thriller. Working with a script he wrote with local filmmaker Rufus Chaffee, Kittredge plans to shoot film in Western Massachusetts. He is working to raise the money for the budget, which he said would be under $1 million.

He noted that producing the film locally would have some positive economic impact in this part of the state.