By Jesse Bertel
“Habitat” is an independent feature film created by Prescott production company No Brainz Productions. The world premiere of the science fiction thriller, which was shot in Prescott Valley in 2022, will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at the Elks Theatre, 117 E. Gurley St., Prescott. The event is free and open to the public.
“Habitat” is co-written and directed by Derek Ross Mackay. Greg Paul, producer and co-writer of the film, hired a local crew and actors as part of this ambitious project. As a Yavapai County Film Resource coordinator, Paul knew the Prescott area held the talent needed to accomplish a feature film. Paul spoke with Across the Street about the upcoming premiere. The following interview was edited for length and clarity.
How did this film get started?
This was a script idea that we had. We were looking at kind of a class assignment. The director and I were both members in a screenwriting class where we met and one of our assignments was to write a contained feature, you know, which is something that can be easily done and shot — that you’re not changing sets and you don’t need a bunch of people in it — you know, there’s no locations involved or anything like that. We could do this in several different settings, and we settled on the sci-fi genre.
What has been your favorite part of the whole process of putting this film together?
Well, obviously, the shooting. I mean, while we were working, producing the film, it’s just fun to work with actors. We had an animal actor come in because we have a cat in the movie. We broke the major Hollywood rule, which is never work with children and animals. The cat was the most expensive actor on the set. Everybody got paid but the cat was the most expensive person because you’re getting a trained animal. They had to come up from Phoenix with the trainer and a second trainer. We didn’t go with the Humane Society because they were cost restrictive. There’s another animal protection agency called MAPS, which is Movie Animals Protected. So, they had a second trainer that came along to observe the whole process and be there to document and make sure that the cat was, you know, unharmed. So, we figured out that we would do all of our shots with the cat in one day, which is really all we could afford. There are very few shots with a cat and a person in the same shot. Almost all the shots are reaction shots to the cat, but it looks pretty seamless. You can’t really tell that, you know, that actor didn’t work with the cat in the movie. We just had to limit it and find a way to do this on a low budget and make it look like we spent a lot more than we did.
For more information, call 928-777-1370 or visit www.prescottelkstheatre.org.
For more information about No Brainz Productions, visit www.nobrainzproductions.com.
Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @ JesseBertel, email him at email@example.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.