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Fri, Oct. 18

Witch Child - Local film's fundraiser begins today

Steve Hollingsworth/Courtesy photo<br>The Burns Unit, from left, Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, Robyn Bryce, Ryker Wells, Forrest Sandefer, Angie Johnson-Schmit, Andrew Johnson-Schmit, Francisco Ortiz y Davis and Sean Souva, plan the largest homegrown movie production in Yavapai County history. (Not pictured: Matt Jackson, Christian H. Smith, Steve Hollingsworth, David M. Chontos and Rachel Soumokil).

Steve Hollingsworth/Courtesy photo<br>The Burns Unit, from left, Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, Robyn Bryce, Ryker Wells, Forrest Sandefer, Angie Johnson-Schmit, Andrew Johnson-Schmit, Francisco Ortiz y Davis and Sean Souva, plan the largest homegrown movie production in Yavapai County history. (Not pictured: Matt Jackson, Christian H. Smith, Steve Hollingsworth, David M. Chontos and Rachel Soumokil).

The horror genre knows no borders and for the past five months, a group of 13 Prescott filmmakers have been working on a feature-length supernatural thriller, set to begin shooting in July. Called "Witch Child," the filmmakers are raising the last of the production funds through a Kickstarter campaign.

Director and Producer Andrew Johnson-Schmit said that he and his wife, Angie, make short films and have crewed with other local filmmakers.

"We realized the thing that was holding everyone back from doing something as big as a feature was the cost," Andrew said.

A big part of the cost, he noted, was equipment and the labor needed to operate it. But instead of hiring people to work the equipment, Andrew got the idea for the filmmakers team together and incorporate the production as an LLC.

However, while that lessened the budget, there's still $15,000 to raise for the production.

And that cost is relatively low for a feature film. Also, Andrew noted that the reason why the filmmakers wanted to do a horror film was because the genre is a low-cost field and it translates well internationally.

"There's ghost stories in every culture in the world and if people don't like some horror movies because of blood and gore, a ghost movie translates well across the board," Andrew said. "Who didn't love Scooby-Doo growing up?"

And it's not a locally produced horror movie. Andrew said "Witch Child" will be the first feature-length horror film shot entirely in Yavapai County. He said being the first feature-length horror movie shot in the area is fantastic and called it a proud tradition going back to Tom Mix's westerns shot locally.

The Kickstarter (on kickstarter.com) will run from April 29 to May 31 and in return for pledges, backers for the film's Kickstarter campaign will receive different rewards, which range from a digital download following the premiere to a package with a private screening, tapas reception and a role as an extra.

Day One Backers, who pledge the first day of the campaign, will receive a bonus reward of an invitation to the Kickstarter Campaign Kickoff Party on April 29 at El Gato Azul, 316 W. Goodwin St.

The party will also have exclusive bonus rewards for those Day One Backers, like gift certificates to El Gato Azul, special mugs and a chance to win a dinner for four people at El Gato Azul.

And those who might not be able to contribute funds to the film, but would like to contribute their time, there is a casting call on Saturday, May 16, at the Gateway Mall, starting at 10 a.m.

Follow Jason on Twitter @PrescottWheels

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