HENDERSON – Writer and director Nicky Harris has apologized after taking a phone call in the early morning of October before leaving for the day to shoot and direct.
âSorry I missed your call,â she said. âI’m literally doing body parts right now. My hands were covered in fake blood when you called.
Understood, of course. But all that gore can make his new movie worse than it actually is. It’s almost a family movie, she says.
âIt doesn’t end too badly for people,â Ms. Harris said. “I did worse.”
Plus, she has rules.
âI don’t kill anyone under the age of 16,â she said. âI don’t kill pregnant women and I don’t use guns. But other than that, everyone is playing!
Ms Harris was back in the north of the country this month with her film crew and an assortment of actors to shoot “Summer of the Wolf”, her second feature film. In 2015, she brought a crew to the Cape Vincent area to film the horror tale “Bee.” Scenes in this film were also shot at Angel Rock, Pillar Point, and General Brown High School in Dexter. The film is available on Amazon Prime, Itunes, Google Play and Vudu.
Between “HoneyBee” and “Summer of the Wolf”, Ms. Harris wrote and directed the multi-award winning horror short, “Romana”, shot in Binghamton and released in 2019.
After living in San Francisco for 20 years, she returned to New York State last summer, settling in Rochester, where Ms. Harris, an early childhood education graduate, produced the Paintbox children’s show. She has opened a related art school for children in San Francisco and plans to open one in Brighton, County Monroe by the end of the year.
The graduate of Union-Endicott High School in Broome County received a screenwriting degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2007. She is a three-time winner of the Rod Serling Film Festival held annually in Binghamton.
The casting call for “Summer of the Wolf” described it as a realistic yet fantastic horror film reinventing the legend of the werewolf and “a low budget indie horror film with a new take on wolves – werewolves in this modern, COVID-dominated world “.
The casting pitch added, âThe location is pretty amazing – a group of several lakeside cabins / homes together on Lake Ontario in a private space. The cast and crew will stay in their own rooms, each in different houses.
The film crew stayed at Ramsey Shores, off State Route 3, where Ms. Harris also has a lakefront house.
âWe rented eight cottages and created our own little village,â she said.
Ms Harris said filming was also done in swampy areas near Henderson and in some local areas. Nicolas szewczyk actions by writing credits.
âI wrote the script with exactly these locations in mind,â Ms. Harris said. âIt’s so beautiful here. It doesn’t matter how much weather you have, even if it’s foggy or overcast. It is spellbinding and magnificent.
Rocco Michaluk, the film’s executive producer, was particularly struck by the location. He grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and now lives in New York City. He has been “upstate” and Canada, but visited upstate New York for the first time last spring while researching filming locations for “Summer of the Wolf.” .
âThe minute we got here I was able to instantly tell this was where we were going to be filming,â he said. “It’s just very beautiful.”
Mr. Michaluk has known Ms. Harris for years and knew she was working on a wolf script.
âThe minute I read the script, I knew we had to shoot it,â he said. âShe just wrote a phenomenal screenplay. We went out scouting and everything fell into place. It was a bit dark and overcast when we got to town. It looked like the perfect place for a pack of wolves.
Mr Michaluk said he also enjoyed the script because it was not a typical horror tale.
âAt the end it turns a bit more horror, but at the beginning it’s really kind of a family drama,â he said. “I just loved it because I’m not into horror, slash ’em ups and people dying and stuff. It was a warm script and not a slasher, which I didn’t want. nothing to do. “
The plot, Mr Michaluk said, revolves around a family moving to a remote town. The main character is the mother’s teenage son, Jimmy, played by Micah Juman.
“We find out later that they are running away from something we don’t know,” Michaluk said.
âThe theme is family and coming of age,â Ms. Harris said. “But really, it’s a werewolf story.”
Ms. Harris described the film as a “family horror film”.
âThere is a great atmosphere,â she said. âIt’s not too bloody, just kind of a middle ground. You can watch it with your older kids. It has a much happier ending than most of my work.
“A cool ride”
Micah Juman, a June graduate from Shaker High School in Latham, Albany County, stars as Jimmy. Mr. Juman has approximately a decade of experience in school and community theater. “Summer of the Wolf” is his first professional acting role.
“It’s an interesting take on the werewolf lore,” Juman said. âI don’t want to reveal anything, but it approaches the story in a different way. It wasn’t fair, ‘Oh! A moon! I turn into a werewolf. There is more than that, which interested me.
The transformation process – from human to werewolf – also intrigued Mr. Juman.
âHe wasn’t afraid to be a little controversial about how it turned out,â he said. âIt gets complicated to see how it leads you to become a wolf. It wasn’t just a dramatic love story where, ‘My sexy boyfriend is a werewolf in the forest.’ When you transform and hurt yourself and get tangled up, you are in pain. It’s not nice to go back and forth.
âIn my version, when you change back to human form, nothing falls back into place,â Ms. Harris said. âThey don’t instantly revert to what they were before. A lot of things are out of place.
Mr Juman said he was “chasing the acting dream” and enjoyed the different experience of acting in front of cameras.
âThat’s what I like,â he says. âI’ve always wanted to do cinema, and being in the theater, it’s a bit difficult to say how different it is, to play on stage versus on camera. You never really know how it feels. So, it was cool to go ahead and have an idea and realize, yeah – that’s what I really want.
act close to home
The film also has veteran actors, including Sonia conlin from RiviÃ¨re Noire. She was born and raised in her native Italy and moved to the United States with her husband and children in late 2000.
âLove is blind, and when I woke up I was in Watertown,â Ms. Conlin said with a laugh.
Ms. Conlin and her husband, James, own All American Real Estate. They settled and stayed in the area when James retired after serving 21 and a half years in the military.
Ms. Conlin, who played the piano and sang from a young age, has appeared in more than 40 films.
âI’m trying to operate from Watertown / Black River where I live, which has been difficult at times because I have a family here and didn’t want to move,â Ms. Conlin said.
But she was thrilled to be in a production filmed locally.
“It gives me the opportunity to film near my home and it showcases a part of our beautiful region,” she said. âI stay here for many reasons, and also because it is a nice place.
She connected to Ms. Harris through a movie site. After auditioning dozens more, Ms. Conlin was selected for the role of Constance.
âConstance is a magical individual,â Ms. Conlin said. âShe’s like a spiritual person in the group where everyone goes and asks for advice. She guides them like their leader.
Ms. Conlin said that when she read the script for “Summer of the Wolf,” she liked it because it wasn’t all about horror.
âIt’s like a vampire movie, but instead of a vampire there’s the werewolf,â she said. “It’s not so much the horror, it’s the story of this family and what’s going on.”
Ms. Conlin recently produced a short film linked to the Central New York Short Film Competition, which functions as an industry incubator for aspiring filmmakers in the CNY area.
The program offers aspiring CNY filmmakers the opportunity to work with industry professionals in mentoring positions through four short films selected by a jury, each with funding from the CNY Arts Innovation Group.
Ms. Conlin worked with Derrick benton who won for his screenplay, âTalent wasted. “ Mr. Benton grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2018. Ms. Conlin was also a site manager for âWasted Talentâ. It was recently screened in Syracuse and Lake Placid.
Due to the pandemic, Ms Conlin did not audition for as many roles as in the past. âI think the best way to beat him is to take some distance,â she said.
But she plans to produce more films, some of which she says should be shot in Jefferson County.
WHAT: The low budget horror film, “Summer of the Wolf”.
O FILMED: The Henderson area.
FILM COMPANY: Furiex Films
SYNOPSIS: “Jimmy and his family are on the run, hiding in a mysterious village meant for their safety, until his little sister is taken by something monstrous in the night.”
DIRECTOR: Nicki Harris.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Rocco Michaluk.
WRITERS: Nicki Harris and Nicholas Szewczyk.
RELEASE DATE: summer 2022.