West Michigan Filmmakers Head to Austin Film Festival

Caleb Slain and Eric Machiela are traveling to Austin, Texas this weekend for the premiere of their newest film project, “Demon,” at the Austin Film Festival.

Slain wrote and directed the short film, which was produced by local film production company Gorilla, with Machiela serving as principal on the project.

“Demon” is a 25-minute thriller shot outside of Joshua Tree, California.

Film poster for "Demon"
Film poster for “Demon”

The story follows Marco who emerges out of the night, beaten and bloody, and onto a solitary desert homestead. Its owner, Bill, a drunken blowhard, cleans him up. They exchange small talk and whiskies, but all niceties disappear when Marco finds a woman being held captive in Bill’s shed.

Production for “Demon” took place underneath a full moon over the course of three nights, with rehearsals on the first night and shooting on the remaining two.

Cinematographer Drew Dawson used only natural light from the moon, lanterns, candles and fire pits to stage the 25-minute film around three-edit points.

Slain and Machiela hope the visit to the Austin Film Festival will help them score a bigger deal for the film; they hope to produce a full-length feature version of the story.

“Camera technology has gotten to the point where, under the full moon in the high deserts of California, we could see for miles in each direction,” said Machiela. “It’ll be amazing what cameras are capable of in a few years, at which point attempting to shoot a feature film over several months around the phases of the moon would be an entirely new challenge.”

The film’s premiere will take place at Alamo Drafthouse Village at the Austin Film Festival on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 8:30 p.m. (CDT). “Demon” is part of the festival’s Shorts that Go Bump in the Night program.

If you are going to be in Austin for the festival you can purchase festival badges and passes online at Austin Film Festival or in person at The Long Center or Paramount Theatre Box Offices.

*Photo courtesy of Thinkstock Photos

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