Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Temecula Short Adds to Blind Woman Thriller Genre

Ever since Audrey Hepburn earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her work in the 1967 thriller Wait Until Dark, the idea of a blind woman battling bad guys has been sourced repeatedly. Everyone from Victoria Principal in the 1989 TV movie Blind Witness and Shelley Hack in the same-year Canadian indie Blind Fear to Helen Slater in 2001's Nowhere in Sight has felt their way along the same basic plot lines.

Now comes Pitch Black, a 22-minute short by Temecula resident John P. Hess screening Thursday September 15th and Saturday September 17th at the Temecula Valley International Film Festival. The temporarily sight-impaired damsel in distress in this case is played by Kirsten Berman.


Hess kept a detailed production diary on FilmmakerIQ.com, a website he co-founded. His notes about the auditioning process are rather revealing:

I thought it was going to come down looks. That we had a lot of great talent and it was going to be a matter of picking the actress who looked most like that part. Then a woman walked in that didn’t look the part but gave a performance that had me shaking and reaching for a glass of wine. In the middle of the day. She has me rewriting the script just so I can have her do that in the film. I ended up having two glasses of wine that day during auditions.

The Temecula Valley Film Festival previewed this year's event earlier in the summer with a special screening of shorts that included Pitch Black and another one of Hess' films, the comedic Trouble in the Movie Queue. In that one, a Netflix type curated queue almost ruins a marriage.

[Pitch Black]

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