February 24, 2015

Alumni Build House on Pine Street

Emily Goss in a production still from The House on Pine Street

When it comes to making films, sometimes it’s essential to check your ego at the door. From scrapping together the funds to put together a production, to working collaboratively with a team to breath life to a shared vision, there’s no room for anyone giving less than their full effort. It’s a lesson that a team of USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) grads learned in spades while working on their first feature, The House on Pine Street – a largely self-funded venture, initially backed by a successful, but modest Kickstarter campaign.

The House on Pine Street is a psychological horror film which follows a young woman coping with fears of her impending motherhood, strained relationships with family, and doubts about her own sanity within the confines of what may be a haunted house.

Twin brothers, Aaron Keeling and Austin Keeling, who both graduated from SCA in 2013, wrote and directed the film, in addition to assembling a lean team of largely Trojan collaborators to help them bring their vision to the screen. Their fellow alumni from Film and Television Production, Juan Sebastian Baron and Monique Thomas, served as the served as Director of Photography and Production Designer, respectively. The USC connection even extended beyond the film school, with lead actress, Emily Goss, graduating from the School of Dramatic Arts in 2011, and the film’s composers, Nathan Matthew David and Jeremy Lamb, being alumni of the Thornton School of Music Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program.

Creating the film was an exercise in patience and flexibility. In order to cut costs and stay within a shoestring budget, many of the crew even lived together in the haunted house during filming. “We cooked together and shared bathrooms,” said Thomas.  “When we finished a long day, we celebrated together.”

They shot for 19 days, traveling from Independence, Missouri to Leavenworth, Kansas. With only a small skeleton team – each department consisted of one person – it was essential for each member to learn every job on set and take alternate positions when necessary. Cinematographer Juan Sebastian Baron was also the gaffer; production designer, Monique Thomas, was also the costumer; and as soon as production wrapped in May, the Keelings went from co-directors to editors. Six months and many sleepless nights later, the twins had the film ready for a cast and crew screening in December of 2014.

Now, The House on Pine Street will have its world premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, CA on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 10:00 pm. From there, the crew will travel to Fargo, ND for the Fargo Film Festival, where the film won Honorable Mention. Next, “The House on Pine Street” will screen at the International Horror + Sci-Fi Festival in Phoenix, AZ. More are sure to follow.

In addition to the World Premiere on February 28th, The House on Pine Street will have two other screenings: Monday, March 2 at 10:00 pm and Saturday, March 7 at 11:59 pm. For more information and for tickets to The House on Pine Street at Cinequest, go to www.cinequest.org. For more information on the film and to request a screening in your area, go to www.thehouseonpinestreet.com.