In today's cinematic landscape, it is quite common for independent films to get a limited theatrical release, while simultaneously getting a larger rollout on VOD platforms such as iTunes, Amazon and local cable providers. For many of these movies, the widest they may open will be in less than 10 theaters, most likely spread out between New York and Los Angeles, but now there is a new way for films to be seen in more theaters, through Fathom Events, whose latest event brings the indie thriller The Hive to theaters across the country.
Tonight, September 14, for one night only, Nerdist Industries teams up with Fathom Events to present The Hive in over 500 theaters across the country at 7:30 PM local time. The Hive is set at a summer camp dubbed Camp Yellow Jacket, where four camp counselors discover that a plane has crashed nearby. Their investigation unleashes a mysterious plague, putting all campers in danger.
As Camp Yellow Jacket slips into chaos, Adam wakes in a boarded-up cabin with no memory of who or where he is. His only clues are the notes he's scrawled for himself and memories that aren't his own. As his friends turn into monsters around him, the key to surviving the apocalypse is locked in one infected counselor's mind. After directing a handful of short films, and episodes of Team Unicorn Saturday Action Fun Hour!, The Hive marks the feature directorial debut of David Yarovesky, who I had the chance to speak with over the phone last week. Take a look at what he had to say about the production, this unique release from Fathom Events and more.
Back in the 80s there used to be all sorts of movies about summer camps. I was curious if any of those older movies like Sleepaway Camp had any influence on you when you were crafting this story?
David Yarovesky: Look, I love those movies. Sleepaway Camp, the last shot of Sleepaway Camp, ruined my childhood (Laughs). It just scared me so much. There's just something creepy about it, like it's a weird visual effect, there's something about that shot that's really creepy. I stated a goal to the producers very early on, that it was going to be a very anti-camp movie. I was never going to have that scene where a slutty girl and a guy go off into the woods and they get killed, or anything like that. Nothing about this movie was going to be "campy" in that sense. It was going to be the anti-camp horror movie.
Was this something that had been percolating in your head for awhile, or did it come to you fairly recently?
David Yarovesky: There's a lot of concepts in it that I played with in the past, or that I was fascinated by, that I've always thought about, but the core concept sort of came up immediately. When I came on to the movie, there was a version of the script called The Hive that was a really great script but it wasn't something I wanted to spend the next two years of my life working on. It just wasn't me. I came in and pitched on it, and pitched a pretty drastic... I always say that the last version was a pretty conventional, clean type of horror film, that hits those beats, and what I was able to make is something that is just crazy, where you don't know what to expect and it felt really different. I pitched that and the producers got totally behind it, and it was amazing. I couldn't believe it. I started my pitch with, 'They're not going to like it, but this is what I would do," and they went for it.
Can you talk about pulling the cast together? There is a really diverse group of young actors here, so I'm curious how long that process took for you to find everyone for these roles?
David Yarovesky: Yeah, it was a little bit of a long process. I mean, I got incredibly lucky because, you never hear this as a director, but the words I heard were, 'The financing of the film is not cast-contingent.' What that means is, I get to go out there as a director and I get to pick the best actors for the roles, I don't have to chase a name who may not be right for the role, I really got to cast the movie in the old, traditional way of finding who's best for the movie. I really worked with the actors, especially Gabrielle (Walsh), who has such a complex part. I worked with her a lot, in the best way. She becomes very infected, but she also has a dark side to who she is. It enabled me to cast the best people for the part. I'm so fortunate because something I'm really proud of is the performances, the really genuine moments.
Can you talk about the look of the infected effects, if you will? With a movie like this, you obviously don't have a ton of money at your disposal, so was there something distinct you were looking to display when these people became infected?
David Yarovesky: Yeah, you know, we really did not have the money (Laughs). I had to be really creative, and something I said very early on, and everybody looked at me like I was crazy, was when they become infected, their eyes go in different directions. Everyone was like, 'What the hell does that mean?' I had to get some sketches done, and I designed these contact lenses that we ultimately made for them to wear. The shots in the trailer with Gabby, where her eyes are all crazy, that's all these contact lenses that I designed, which is something I always wanted, for reasons I don't want to reveal, because I think it's important to the story, but I always imagined... these things really don't need to use their eyes. So, they're less important and it just looks really creepy to me.
Can you talk about how much time you actually had to shoot this?
David Yarovesky: We shot the entire thing in 18 days. It was an intense shoot. We were doing something in the ballpark of 50 setups a day, with two cameras. Yeah, it was intense. There was at least one stunt and one special effects gag, every day we shot (Laughs). When everyone who was involved in the production, line producers and everyone, read the script, they were like, 'You're crazy. This is not going to happen.' I was really fortunate because I've shot like 50 music videos, I have a crew that I work with, we don't even need to speak to each other, we tele-communicate, with telepathy, and we were able to just blast. People signed up for a first-time filmmaker's horror film, and I think they were expecting a quick and easy shoot, but I don't think they were expecting the level of intensity I was going to be moving at. I think the thing that made this one tough wasn't just shooting fast, but shooting fast in a very stylized and in a very visual way. There's a lot of attention to detail in terms of aesthetic, and that usually takes a lot of time.
This debuted last year at Fantastic Fest and now you have this innovative release through Fathom. I've seen a lot of these Fathom events that would put a movie in a lot more theaters than your normal limited release would. Can you talk about hooking up with Nerdist and Fathom and how that all came together?
David Yarovesky: Sure. We showed it at Fantastic Fest and I walked out of the theater and these people were standing there and they said, 'We're from Nerdist. This might be a really great fit.' I was like, 'Oh, that would be really cool.' I couldn't have asked for a better, on-target type of concept. They hadn't done anything like this before, so we had to get all of our ducks lined up, so to speak, and it's really cool that we're able to do this Fathom event. Part of the conversation early on, when you have an indie film with a budget like ours, you don't get many opportunities like this. We wanted to try and kind of be trailblazers for future indie films, because, how cool is a model where on a Monday night or a Tuesday night, you can go to your theater and see a movie you wouldn't get to see because of the budget, because of everything else? I think that's an exciting, potential future for indie filmmakers and people like me. I think we're incredibly fortunate. It's almost unheard of for films of our budget, to be propped up on a pedestal like this.
I saw it will be released on VOD and digital this fall then. Is there a specific date for that release yet?
David Yarovesky: There isn't yet. I think that's an announcement to come, but yeah, it will definitely be on VOD in the future.
Do you have anything you're developing that you can talk about?
David Yarovesky: I wish there was something I could actually talk about. I'm having a lot of conversations. This experience has been quite good for me, and it's nice to see the reaction and all of that, but I'm still not able to talk about what's next. I'll tell you, I'm excited to take on whatever it is that's next.
Can you say if it's still in this genre or not?
David Yarovesky: I can say this. I wrote a film that is more of a thriller. I talked to some other companies about some horror things, there's a sci-fi project that I'm obsessed with. I always say if there's anything time-travel related, I will read it. I just love time travel ideas so much. It's my favorite kind of anything. But I'm just open to whatever. Before The Hive went, I had like three or four projects that, on any given day, I was like, 'Oh, I think this one's gonna go.' And then The Hive came out of nowhere and went, and left all of those other ones in the dust.
Can you talk a bit about working with Steve Aoki? I saw he composed the soundtrack and served as an executive producer. Was he on board when you were filming, or did he come on later?
David Yarovesky: Well, Steve was pretty early on in the conversations and, how would I say it, in the zeitgeist, maybe? He was always a part of the conversation. Working with him was amazing. He's so collaborative. We got into a room together and started talking, and he has a real interest in brain science. A lot of this movie comes from my interest in brain science, and the future and what the future has in store for our brains. There was this synchronicity to what he was doing and what I was doing. It was just like a match made in heaven for us. It was just so weird, we were on the same wavelength. It was really cool.
What would you say to anyone who may be curious about The Hive about why they should check it out tonight?
David Yarovesky: I will say this. I think, if you're hungry for a new type of horror experience, this is definitely it. The Hive is its own thing, and you have to experience it, and it's great in theaters. It's really something that should be enjoyed in a theater with people screaming and laughing and groaning and jumping together. It really is. It's not like a found footage movie that's sort of plain looking... on a found footage budget, I shot a cinematic film.
That's my time. Thanks so much. It was great talking to you, David.
David Yarovesky: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Fans can check out The Hive in theaters throughout the country tonight, Monday, September 14. Visit FathomEvents.com to purchase tickets and find the theater near you where this unique thriller is playing. The Hive will also be released on VOD later this fall, so stay tuned for more details about when you can watch this unique thriller in the comfort of your own home.