The Forest Eater 2018 update/trailer

2018! How time flies between posts. I’ve been so preoccupied with other responsibilities that I never posted an update to The Forest Eater. For starters, here’s the trailer. Click on the link below:

The Forest Eater :30 trailer

Update on the film, May 2018

Over the course of late 2016/2017 the film was entered in 12-14 different festivals across the country but was not accepted into any. While this is frustrating, I am staying positive. This is my first attempt at getting a film submitted to a festival, after all, and it’s too small a sampling size from what I understand. After talking with some filmmaker friends, they grounded me with a dose of reality; one friend told me that she had submitted one of her first films to a hundred or more festivals before being accepted. So, I just need to shift my perspective with regards to my results. Most of my friends have assured me that the film itself is good — some have said it could use some edits for story clarity — but it’s an overall good film, shot well, contains an interesting premise and characters, and strikes the right mood.

With this in mind, I will likely take some of the notes I’ve received from Kurt Kuenne (a respected filmmaker friend), make a few edits, and resubmit the film. Stay tuned.

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End of principal photography for The Forest Eater

The final day of shooting for The Forest Eater ended Sunday, January 24. Now it’s on to editing and post.

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It’s been a genuine pleasure working with some of the finest actors, craftsman, photographers & artists I’ve ever had the honor of working with. It wasn’t always easy; there was rain, cold weather, a truck stuck in a ditch, late nights (aka early mornings), location issues, electrical issues, gear issues, chainsaw issues (!), creature issues (!!). But if it were easy everybody would do it, right? And it wasn’t always fun (the one late night/early morning when we wrapped at 4 am, went to bed by 6, and then woke to heavy rain 3 hours later on a major shooting day), but it was often hilarious, inspired, adventurous, and felt like the way you did when you were 8 years old running through the woods playing ‘Army’.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Special thanks to all involved (in no particular order):

  • Our INCREDIBLY generous IndieGoGo supporters!
  • Steve Pitre (my OMG amazing DoP who shot INSANELY sweet footage!)
  • Evan Dumouchel (aka lumberjack Jon Romero)
  • Josh Thies (aka ‘The Suit’, aka Kotodama)
  • MacLeod Andrews (aka lumberjack Ray Carpenter)
  • Carl Chamberlin (aka Tommy Craven)
  • Alan Vance (the man who lit it all up, beautifully, on our night shoot)
  • Ian Reinhard (aka as poor MacFarland — you’ll see!)
  • Joan Lluró (Mr. Gimbal and Focus man, the Man with a Plan and a Steady Hand)
  • Stacy McClanahan (showed up on Day One to help me cast ‘The Suit’!)
  • Mike Dacko (PA for one day and provided photos)
  • Mike Dacko’s girlfriend (who helped Mike — and me!)
  • Derek Beecham (the master of sound)
  • Jeremiah Stewart (who provided fantastic, custom stickers!)
  • Dana Nachman (who led me to my amazing DoP!)
  • My lovely wife Lisa, who patiently puts up with my wild creative urges!
  • Jay Farrington & the guys at Chater Camera, Berkeley (thanks Jay!)
  • Tim Partridge, Greg Maloney and Sean House at 32Ten Studios, San Rafael
  • Ryan & Whitney (Sean Foley’s neighbors, who provided our night location!)

And finally, the master of disaster (at least, in terms of creature design), Mr. Sean Foley, my partner in crime from the earliest discussions on this, who interpreted my vision for this creature and this project, who supplied a few witty lines of dialogue, who basically motivated me to soldier on, on those days when I felt like this was all too complicated based on what little budget I had, who sweated and slaved, who stayed up late (often out in the cold, working through the night) and woke up early . . . all of this to create a little slice of cinematic beauty. Sean, I really couldn’t have done it without you, bro.

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From Sunday (January 24), the final (and blessedly short!) shoot day:

Check out these stills from earlier in December:

And these behind the scenes shots:

 

Thank you all again. Your participation means the world to me!

 

Rob Simmons

Director

The Forest Eater

 

Support The Forest Eater with our IndieGoGo campaign!

We’re funding a good portion of this but seeking funds to help us add even greater production value.

We’ve already got fabulous talent. MacLeod Andrews and Evan Dumouchel, two outstanding actors I met at Slamdance 2015, were in another indie horror/psychological thriller “They Look Like People”, which has won several awards and is testament to their talent.

We’re going to have some incredible creature f/x courtesy of our Creature Designer and Supervisor, Sean Foley.

We will be filming in some of the most spectacular redwood forests in Northern California.

But, we need a little help from you, film fans and investors. Please contribute if you value independent cinema and films in the horror, sci-fi, or fantasy genres in particular. Follow the link:

The Forest Eater on IndieGoGo

Thank you so much!

Team Forest Eater

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In development: “The Forest Eater”

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In pre-production on a new short film, “The Forest Eater”, about two loggers who enter the woods…and uncover a sinister, long forgotten secret.

I’m proud to announce the very talented and charming Macleod Andrews will be joining our cast as Ray Daniels, and the veteran pro Carl Chamberlain, who appeared in “The Device”, will be returning as Tommy. We are still looking to fill out a couple of other roles.

In addition to a festival run, our hope is to use this short as a springboard for funding a feature-length film. Check back for more casting and production news and photos.

UPDATE: We have filled two other roles, that of Jon and and the mysterious Mr. Kotodama. The superb talents of Evan Dumouchel (They Look Like People) and Joshua Thies round out this wonderful cast!

“Batkid Begins” wows the nation!

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What a wild ride it’s been with Team Batkid! In the last several months we have:

* had a simply AMAZING poster for our festival run illustrated by the one, the only, Drew Struzan, who’s film poster credits reads like a Top Ten list: Star Wars. Indiana Jones. Back To The Future. Blade Runner. Harry Potter. Speechless. We love you, Drew!

* sold the adaptation rights to Batkid and Patricia Wilson’s (Director of SF Make-A-Wish) story to Julia Roberts and a group of investors/producers

* premiered as the Opening Film at Slamdance (during Sundance’s festival)

* opened Cinequest in San Jose, winning their Audience Award

* won numerous awards at several high-profile festivals (Ashland, Omaha, and more)

* sold the documentary to Warner Brothers/New Line, who have been WONDERFUL to us!

* saw the film open in theaters nationwide June 26, 2015

* Rotten Tomatoes gives us an aggregate score of 81% critics/90% audience — and we’re certified fresh!

* film is still playing going into August

Drew Struzan’s beautiful-beyond-words poster:

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The theatrical release poster from Warner Brothers:

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I’m extremely humbled and flattered by the attention the film has received, and the reviews for the animation work. This has gone beyond my wildest expectations. It doesn’t get much better:

“​…there are a few flashes of innovative filmmaking at work as well. In one of “Batkid’s”​ most inspired sequences, animator Rob Simmons’​ comic book panels help illustrate the diagnosis and ordeal Miles and his parents, Nick and Natalie, endured during the illness he had been diagnosed with at just 18 months old.”​ San Jose Mercury News

“​…zippy comic book graphics”​ RogerEbert.com

“​…cogent graphic novel-style animation”​ The Hollywood Reporter

“​…inventive comic book animation”​ Fandango.com

“​…cheeringly superheroic comic-strip animation” GrouchoReviews.com

 

Wow. In a word, wow. And thank you, to everyone who has seen the film and had kind things to say about it. We love your support!

“Batkid Begins”

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dana Nachman, of KTF Films, for the last few months on the upcoming feature doc “Batkid Begins”and am proud to say that her film is headed for Park City, UT, premiering at the 2015 Slamdance Festival on Saturday, January 24th. We are so hyped! So looking forward to celebrating everyone’s hard work on this little gem of a film, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

http://www.thewrap.com/slamdance-unveils-remaining-2015-lineup-exclusive/

http://www.batkidbegins.com/

http://ktffilms.com/

I served as Lead Animator, with additional duties handled by the very talented animator Sean Foley.