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Janna is a staff writer for The Hudsucker. Born and raised in a small Ontario town, she made her move to Toronto for university and immediately fell in love with the excitement and pace of the big city. She holds an Honors Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production from York University, specializing in editing and screenwriting. She currently works as an assistant editor for a television production company. Janna loves stories told in all mediums, especially film, and takes herself to the movies as much as she possibly can. She can generally be found taking a Zumba class, exploring some of Toronto’s lesser-known gems, or relaxing with her fluffy feline roommate.

Be Very Afraid… of the New Indie Horror Film “One Drop”!

Image Credit: Tricia Lee/One Drop

Screams can be heard coming from large warehouse in a secluded part of town. The sun is slowly dipping beneath the horizon and train whistles can be heard in the distance. This could be someone’s worst nightmare… or it could be the set of the new independent horror film One Drop!

It is, of course, the latter. The warehouse, once completely empty, stands next to train tracks in the east end of Toronto. Now it’s been turned into a medical facility and is full of people. The set of One Drop is bustling when I come by for an evening of shooting—the camera department scurries around, a makeup artist touches up actors’ faces, and an assistant director tries to keep everyone on schedule. One Drop, the third feature film by acclaimed horror director Tricia Lee, is on a nineteen-day shooting schedule, and every minute is precious.

“This is a longer shooting schedule than my other films, so I thought, ‘Oh, that’ll be no problem! Nineteen days is a luxury compared to twelve or thirteen!’ Yeah, there’s never enough time,” director Tricia Lee laughs as we sit down and chat between takes. “But it’s been so much fun.”

One Drop tells the story of a single mother who wakes up in the basement of a medical facility only to discover that everyone around her is dead, and she is somehow nine months pregnant. As she tries to escape, she realizes that something not-quite-human is prowling the hallways, and the only means of survival may be growing inside of her.

“The movie deals with characters who have been forgotten about. They’re waking up in this world where everyone is dead, and they’re just trying to figure out what’s going on,” says producer Chris Luckhardt. “These people don’t know each other, and they’re just trying to survive this situation. It deals with the moral issues of, when you’re trying to survive, do you look out for other people or do you just look out for yourself?”

Lee has assembled a talented cast to play these forgotten characters. One Drop stars Lara Gilchrist (Battlestar Galactica, Defying Gravity), Benjamin Arthur (Less Than Kind, Working the Engels), Torri Higginson (Stargate: Atlantis, The City), Mark Taylor (Flashpoint, Instant Star), and Julian Richings (Orphan Black, Septic Man). All five are eager and excited to work on a horror film, which is a new challenge for almost all of them.

“When I was offered the project, I actually said to my agent, ‘No, I don’t think so.’ I had a bad attitude towards horror because I always thought women were just victims in it,” says Torri Higginson, who plays Marion Dobbs, a woman working in IT. “But I researched Tricia Lee, and loved her work, so I said yes and I’m glad I did. I’ve been able to appreciate horror on a very different level—it’s opened my eyes. There’s something very playful about it. It’s such an unreal world!”

Lara Gilchrist plays Ellie, One Drop’s main character. She agrees with Higginson. “Horror movies are so fun to shoot! There is just ridiculously gory, stupid stuff happening all the time,” she enthuses. “When they yell, ‘Cut!’, everyone is covered in blood. You look around and realize what’s going on, and it feels hilarious. There’s a fine line between fear and laughter, and as soon as you go deep into one, you have to let the other out once the camera stops rolling. There’s a lot of laughter on our set.”

“It’s light on set,” actor Benjamin Arthur, who plays Henry, agrees. “It reminds me of being in a comedy, to be honest, because everyone on set is so close. We’re existing in such close quarters here. We’ll be joking two seconds before they say action—thank god we have a good cast and can actually pull that off!”

Keeping a lightness on set for a horror film certainly is important, especially for one with such a short timeframe. “We’re doing long takes, as well,” Julian Richings tells me. Richings, a veteran actor, plays Father Stuart in One Drop. “It isn’t just that our days are long, but we just did, what, a fourteen minute take? Fourteen minutes in the same scene, being really intimate with each other.”

“This whole film has involved a lot of discovery, for me,” says Mark Taylor, who plays the intern George. “Horror is new for me. I’ve learned a lot on it. Though everybody’s been getting sick except me, which is just making everything harder!”

One thing that makes the actors’ jobs easier, however, is Tricia Lee’s decision to use solely practical effects when it comes to the film’s dangerous creatures. Monsters that lurk in the dark and are afraid of light, Lee says, are a big deal in the film.

“No visual effects for the creatures,” she says proudly. “They’re all practical effcts. We had our special effects artist, Shaun Hunter, build them.”

“I personally feel like we get a better performance out of the cast when they’re acting against an actual physical object, instead of a tennis ball or something else that will be CGIed later on,” says Chris Luckhardt. If anything, the physical effects in this film are a lot more real. A lot more gory. Shaun Hunter is amazing at what he does. If we do any post-production visual effects work, it’ll just be to enhance the practical objects or to hide any imperfections.”

As the producer, Luckhardt always has his eye on the bottom line. In order to help finance the film as it moves into post production, the One Drop team has turned to a popular new form of financing projects: crowdfunding. They currently have a campaign running on Indiegogo, in the hopes of raising some additional funds for post-production. The campaign offers many different perks: signed DVDs, behind the scenes photo ops, the opportunity to voice one of the film’s terrifying creatures, and more.

“Being in production right now, it’s giving us a lot of footage, pictures, and new updates for backers,” Tricia Lee says. “So that’s fun. We’re hopeful about it. We’re hoping to be able to deliver a finished film by the end of this year, and will release the film and start on the festival circuit in 2016.”

“It’d be amazing for people to check out the Indiegogo campaign and support us,” Luckhardt says. “It’ll just make a better product in the end. That’s how I look at all of this: I want to make a movie that people are going to enjoy. I’ve always wanted to do that, and now, that’s what we’re doing.”

“I just hope people come out and see the film once it’s finished,” Lee adds. “I’m really excited for everyone to see the horrors we’ve come up with!”

To keep up with the cast and crew of One Drop and to follow the film’s progress as it moves into post production, Like the film on Facebook and Follow it on Twitter.

To support the film, check out the One Drop Indiegogo Campaign.

One Drop is aiming for a late 2016 release.

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One Comment on “Be Very Afraid… of the New Indie Horror Film “One Drop”!”

  1. Tricia Lee Kalpakis May 11, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

    Thank you for this great article! Last week to support our Indiegogo campaign for post-production costs at igg.me/at/one-drop

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