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Local Indie Filmmaker Wants To Scare You

Zakk Fairley
Vigilant Studios

This weekend,  Normal Theater hosts the debut of the latest short film from Vigilant Studios -- Black Book.

Filmmaker Zakk Fairley is just out of college, yet he already has produced two short independent films at his Twin cities-based studio.  Fairley has always had a passion for movies, and now he's combined that with his fascination with the paranormal in his latest release, Black Book. The film centers on a mysterious black book that a young woman purchases for her boyfriend.  What was intended to be a thoughtful birthday present turns into a foray into terror. 

Credit Laura Kennedy / WGLT
Filmmaker Zakk Fairley.

"One of the biggest elements that I wanted to bring to this movie is letting the audience create the fear for themselves," said Fairley. "For example, the movie Signs.  That movie scared me a lot when I saw it -- but I felt that all the fear got ruined at the end when they showed the alien.  They put a face to this mysterious figure that you were imagining during the entire film. So our main antagonist, you never fully see what he looks like.  I want the audience to interpret that for themselves." 

Fairley casts Illinois State University students in his films, allowing theater students to gain professional experience.  "None of us makes a profit from these films -- we just do it for fun. There's a lot of time invested into the work, and a lot of passion.  It's important to make sure that the individuals you work with also share that passion. It's not about making money, it's about telling a good story."

"You know, I directed this thing, but I couldn't have make this film without everybody who was involved with it.  It's really a collaborative effort to make this thing, and I really love that aspect of making films.  Just putting all these people together and letting each person put their talents out there and throw their ideas out there and bring up things that you never would have thought of.  I'm very grateful for my cast and crew of this film."

Fairley hopes to submit Black Book to some film festivals.  In the meantime, the short will have its premiere April 29  at 5:30 PM at the Normal Theater.  There's another showing scheduled for May 3.  Admission is free.

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Reporter, content producer and former All Things Considered host, Laura Kennedy is a native of the Midwest who occasionally affects an English accent just for the heck of it. Related to two U.S. presidents, Kennedy appalled her family by going into show business.