Nov. 17--CRAB ORCHARD -- Purchasing a puppy from a local breeder brought Guisela Moro to Wyoming County and launched the creation of "Hollow Creek," a mystery thriller feature film.
"Hollow Creek" will be shown during a special screening at 5 p.m. Saturday at Marquee Cinemas in Beckley. Cost is a $10-per-person donation. Souvenir posters will be available for sale after the screening for $20 to $25; posters signed by Burt Reynolds, who appears in the film, will also be available for $60 each.
Founder of Newfoundland Films, Moro wrote the screenplay and directed, produced and stars in the movie. Fifteen actors from the Burt Reynolds Film Institute master class in Florida perform in the movie.
Ole Jose Mexican Grill and Restaurant in Pineville is hosting an "after party" from 9 p.m. until midnight Saturday; cost is $10.
Tickets are available from Laura McKinney at 304-923-3781 or after 6 p.m. at 304-732-8632, or from Terry Houck at 304-294-6622, or at the restaurant.
A former Latin soap opera star, Moro was inspired by the rural landscapes and old buildings of Wyoming County, she said.
"I picked up Brandy (the Newfoundland puppy for which her company is named) over four years ago from Laura McKinney, the breeder, and now my dear friend, at her farmhouse in Pineville," Moro recalled. "After driving through the coal mine area, I fell in love with the landscaping and locations.
"The day I met (McKinney), the first thing I said when I came out of the car was, 'I'm in love with this place and some day I will make a movie here.'
"She laughed, probably thought I was crazy," Moro said. "That same day, on the drive back to Washington, D.C., with my puppy Brandy in the back seat, I came up with the script storyline."
The movie is set around "a New York writer, who, seeking inspiration for his latest horror novel, retreats to a remote cabin in the Appalachian Mountains. Accompanied by his secret lover, a twist of fate turns the romantic interlude into a real-life abduction-murder when his lover mysteriously goes missing and he becomes the prime suspect."
Moro plays the secret lover and Steve Daron portrays the male lead. Both are actors in Reynolds' master class at the institute.
Reynolds, whose acclaimed acting career has spanned more than five decades, has won numerous awards for his acting skills. He portrays a wealthy coal baron in the movie.
Moro did not expect Reynolds to participate in the movie.
"I dreamed of it," she said, "but, back then, did not have a clue how lucky we would get. Mr. Reynolds gives a riveting, powerful special appearance performance that adds so much to 'Hollow Creek.' We'll forever be grateful to him for accepting being part of the 'Hollow Creek.'"
Last week, in the final phase of movie-making, Moro was in California promoting the film to the American Film Market -- an effort to sell the film and reach a successful distribution deal.
"If I were to choose one main thing (for viewers to take away from the film), I want people to be moved by the story and characters," she said.
"Art is a very personal journey for each person," Moro said. "I do want people to be proud of us -- a group of humble artists and independent filmmakers who took such a huge risk and put their heart and soul into making this project a really good movie.
"From my talented DP Jon Schellenger, my amazing crew and all my talented actors -- each one has given his/her best. This movie is the result of great teamwork, and I personally feel it shows when you watch the film," she said.
Working in West Virginia exceeded Moro's expectations, she said.
"Never in a million years did I think we would have such big support from the graceful, kind people from West Virginia," she said. "From the fire department to the sheriff's department to the courthouse, everyone in town gave us a hand and made this movie possible.
"Also, the weather really did cooperate with us," she noted. "God was giving us a hand because it snowed, it rained, the sun came out, we had overcast skies -- all when it was supposed to! Making it very easy for us to shoot those days exactly the scenes that needed to be shot," Moro said.
"Weather was a challenge and our biggest fear during our winter shoot -- which I can happily now look back and say 'We did it!' and the results show in amazing footage," she said.
"I want to personally say thank you to the West Virginia film office, Laura McKinney and each one of the people involved in West Virginia, from Ritchie to Wyoming County, for helping us in making 'Hollow Creek.'
"West Virginia will forever have a very special place in my heart," Moro said.
-- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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