Hollywood meets Douglas County

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“The Awakening,” an independent film produced by Los Angeles based Blind Faith Productions, premiered Oct. 29 at Seven Feathers Casino and Resort due to director Vince Rotonda’s desire to play to a more real audience than what he could find in Hollywood.

This is the first feature film to be produced by Blind Faith Productions although Rotonda has a large body of work including producing feature films such as “Pariah” as well as several reality television shows.

Seven Feathers hosted the premiere of the horror movie to an audience of over 200 viewers, with two more screenings on the following Saturday. The event was free to the public with a donation of two canned food items for local food pantries.

In attendance were much of the film’s cast and crew including director Vince Rotonda, producer Amy Loeber, actor and writer Brian Schaefer and local Grants Pass and Canyonville actor and comedian Juan Canopii, among others. Canopii played an integral part in getting the premiere to Seven Feathers.

“The Awakening” tells the story of a group of friends who receive a mysterious invitation to the “ultimate party” in the hills outside of Hollywood. As the story progresses, the partiers discover something far more sinister is at work.

The film took two years to produce and was written by Brian Schaefer based on a concept he had developed with Rotonda. The film’s inspiration came as a departure from the torture and gore-based aspect of modern, mainstream horror films. “When was the last time you watched a film where a bunch of kids go out into the woods and get killed? Nowadays it’s all about torture, and though those types of films have their place, we wanted to make something different,” explained Rotonda.

Both Loeber and Rotonda expressed hope that students will be inspired by their independent film and learn that a film can be produced without a big budget.

Part of the planning for the screenings was geared specifically towards a college audience, and the event was partially meant to help students interested in learning about film production. The event’s planners, for instance, worked with the casino to allow students under 21 to attend.

Blind Faith’s hope is that students will see the film, be inspired and take the initiative to make a film of their own. They suggest that students take some classes if they are available and simply start filming. “It’s important to just get started. Don’t wait to put your idea out there.” Rotonda offered.