Up-and-coming director Remington Smith has announced a 3rd distribution deal this year for his short film work The Woods – the previous ones were from The Atlantic and PBS Reel South.
ALTER currently has over 800K subscribers on Youtube and is one of the few platforms for horror short films. The Woods already has over 20,000 views and counting, about to surpass the views on my release of it on Vimeo back in 2016.
The next thing he is working on is Land Lord, a feature length vampire film with a social commentary angle similar to the original Night of the Living Dead. It was awarded 2nd for Best Unproduced Feature Screenplay at FilmQuest. He and his team are working on the final pitch materials to send to interested production companies.
Title: The Woods
Runtime: 8:39 min
Format/Genre: Short Film, Horror
Author: Remington Smith
Synopsis:The Woods is a dialogue-free horror short that follows a lone woman in a desolate snowscape while on a quest to take care of an ailing relative.
Shot using only natural light and in -30 degree weather with no digital trickery, The Woods is a horror meets arthouse narrative about the lengths we will go to take care of family.
About the Film:
A mashup of neo-realist and horror cinema aesthetics, inspired in equal parts by Fish Tank and John Carpenter, The Woods is a unique take on the zombie genre. While writer, director and producer Remington Smith was living through several years of Iowa winters as he earned his MFA in Film and Video Production at the University of Iowa, he decided to tackle this unique narrative.
“When shooting my next project, I’m always asking myself, ‘What haven’t I seen done before?’ I think with shows like The Walking Dead, the undead merely become targets for fetishized violence instead of speaking to something bigger thematically like Romero’s undead. So, I wanted to bring it back to the personal with The Woods.”
The film also taps into Remington’s goals as a feminist filmmaker. “The number of leading women in film is abysmal and I’m personally exhausted by white male protagonists, even as a white male. So if I feel that way, I have a personal responsibility to contribute to diversity in movies, which just happens to coincide with a personal interest in creating stories starring women.”
This narrative about a woman alone in a desolate snowscape was the result of several years of relationship building and snooping. “As a kid I would wander around neighborhoods, poking around in abandoned buildings and whatnot,” he says. “Now as a filmmaker these expeditions become location scouts for future projects, and so when I visited the MacBride Nature Recreation Area, it just had this beautiful overlook of the lake with a tree on the rocks that you see in the film. I saw that 4 years ago and thought, ‘I’ll use that at some point.’” And it just so happened that the person who assisted with the Recreation Area was a pastor at an area church – who would end up playing the woman’s zombie father. “I had met Dave while my wife and I were looking at different churches and he was perfect for it. Even with all that makeup, he had a warmth to him that you could see.”
Production of The Woods began in February, using only natural lighting (sun, torches), with temperatures going as low as -35 degrees with the windchill. Remington remembers, “Our first day of shooting we froze the camera. Thank god it started back up again because I thought we were screwed for sure.” Despite needing to let the cast and crew warm up at regular intervals to forestall frostbite and nearly getting stuck in remote locations after snowfalls, Remington says it was all worth it. “I was raised on 80s horror films, so I love doing things for real in my movies. It’s just too big of an opportunity to pass up to utilize this season that transforms Iowa. I think the results speak for themselves. I’ll take this over green screen or studio work any day.”
About the Team:
writer, director, producer
Remington Smith is a working filmmaker from Louisville, Kentucky whose work has been distributed by The Atlantic, PBS Reel South, and Alter. He recently earned a Vimeo Staff Pick and won 2nd place for Best Unproduced Screenplay at FilmQuest for his social commentary vampire feature, Land Lord. Remington Smith is currently development said script with a tentative shoot date of summer 2020.
Currently a filmmaker in residence at the famous Columbia, SC filmhouse, The Nickelodeon, Joshua Yates is a recent recipient of the Experimental Grit Award from the Indie Grits Film Festival for his film, This is Yates. His work as a filmmaker has been screened around the world and has earned him a Vimeo Staff Pick for his music video, Exodia.
After Joshua and Remington met while earning their MFAs at the University of Iowa, they have continued to work together on each other’s projects: Joshua as cinematographer for The Woods, Remington an associate producer for Yates’ short film The Dying of the Deads.