SPARROW STREET, 93min,. USA
Directed by Billy Jack
A typical suburban neighborhood is plunged into a nightmare as an invisible, monstrous force begins picking the neighbors off, one by one. The terror outside the house is no match to the terror that forms inside the house where survival, isolation, and hunger all play tricks of the mind for a man, an expectant wife, and their unborn child. The film begs the big question and the great reveal - What is eating the neighbors?
Get to know the director Billy Jack & writer Justin Cole:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
BILLY - We wanted to create a product (Sparrow Street) that entertains people, and we achieved this based on the data from our test screen and feedback from audience members. Very exciting for us and for those who get the chance to experience this story.
JUSTIN: We wanted to scare the heck out of audiences by fusing environmentalism and horror in a completely ridiculous and unseemly way. We think we did that with Sparrow Street. It is a film like none other ever made. Think about the idea of an environmental horror - the time is rife for this kind of emerging idea. That’s the story we are telling. Mankind vs. Nature in a completely original, unique, and distinctive point-of-view. Our hope…blow the minds of our audiences. Leave them reeling with thought and meaning. That’s ultimately why we made this film.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
JUSTIN: We started in 2020 at the start of COVID shutdowns filming first-takes in summer of 2021. 13 days of filming followed an extensive post production process including reshoots. All said, we finished our product in October 2023 - making it two years and counting!
BILLY: We also went through a test-screening process to get feedback. Our original score, by Dean Hughart, took a lot of time and care too. This was one of the strongest parts of the feedback and test-screen data we got. Once we compiled audience feedback, we made even more adjustments. What we have now for audiences is a remarkable journey, for sure.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
BOTH: ENVIRONMENTAL HORROR!
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
BILLY: The short shooting schedule was, for me, a major obstacle. We also ran into some snags during pre production, which caused a few hiccups during production.
JUSTIN: The way the story is written, it required a huge cast and crew. For a first time film, that was a big undertaking. More than 75 people worked on this project. That’s a lot of folks to feed!
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
JUSTIN: There are times in the film when the action and the horror are very intense. Also, there are times when audiences are laughing and rolling with the hilarity of it all. Perhaps the most poignant moment was watching a group of adolescent-aged children begin to panic and need to be ushered out of the theater by their parents because it was too scary!
BILLY: I enjoyed the positive response! I would like to see included, in future feedback videos, some of the things that confused or didn't sit well with the audience. For me, I need the good and the bad in any feedback.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
BILLY: When I was a kid.
JUSTIN: In the womb.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
JUSTIN: Amadeus. It’s my favorite film and has been since I was child. I think it’s Billy’s favorite film too. A nice coincidence.
BILLY: Agree with Justin. The movies I've seen the most in my life are Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back and True Romance.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
JUSTIN: We need to create socializing networks (in-person and virtually) to support each other and build each other up…making it likely all our goals can be fully realized in collaboration with each other. Indy filmmaking is a tough beast to forge alone. United, we can find the capital and distribution needed to make even the newest of filmmakers successful on a global scale!
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
JUSTIN: Easy and glad we submitted to Festival for Horror! We are proud to be selected.
Thank you for including our work!
10. What is your favorite meal?
BILLY: Indian food for me!
JUSTIN: Mexican food or Tex-Mex!
11. What is next for you? A new film?
We have already filmed our second environmental horror full-length feature, What We Don’t See and it is in active post production now. We have 7 more films in active development ready to greenlight. We hope to be in active pre-production on our third film in summer of 2024, a ghoulish nightmare with a psychologist twist…name to be revealed at a later date!