The Big Island Film Festival at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, which celebrates independent narrative filmmakers and their movies, has selected Green Lake as part of its slate of films. Only 58 short and feature films from around the world were chosen for its tenth year of the Festival.
Green Lake draws inspiration not only from the beauty and mysticism of Hawai’i, but also from B-Horror/Monster movies, The Twilight Zone and The X-Files. It’s a micro-budget Creature from the Black Lagoon meets Picnic at Hanging Rock, shot entirely in remote areas on the Big Island of Hawai’i. The film was directed and produced by Derek Frey from a screenplay by Leah Gallo. It features a multitude of Big Island talent, including cast members RaVani Flood, Thom Durkin, Valery Nuttall and Carmen Richardson. The score was composed and performed by Matthew Reid with original songs from Big Island bands Technical Difficulties and Delight Talkies.
Filmed over a grueling nine day and night shoot, the core group of six cast and crew played multiple roles in front of and behind the camera. They weathered the elements, without sleep to the point of exhaustion and mental breakdown – all for the sake of creating. Frey says the Green Lake shoot was his mini-Apocalypse Now. “It was the most challenging shoot I’ve ever been part of but also the most rewarding and I’m so proud of the result.” Green Lake is more than your typical horror film, it’s a warning to everyone that we must maintain our balance with and respect nature, or face the terrifying consequences.
Film Director Frey wrote:
The Big Island of Hawai’i has been a great source of inspiration for me. I’ve had the unique opportunity to become friends with many artists and musicians on the island. These friendships have led to a number of music video and short film collaborations. Many of these projects showcase the beauty of the land and the mystical power that surrounds it.
I’m fascinated with the supernatural aspect to Hawai’i and the tales found in Glen Grant’s Obake Files. I also love horror films and in 2010 created a short on the Big Island titled The Curse of the Sacred Stone. It was a horror/comedy that lightly depicts the implications of disturbing sacred land when an unsuspecting tourist removes a lava rock from a sacred site.
I still felt the impulse to create more of a straightforward horror film on the Big Island. Since my first visit to Hawai’i in 2001, I had heard about Green Lake, an unspoiled fresh body of water located in a crater within a mountainous rain forest in Kapoho. Green Lake is the largest of only two lakes in Hawai’i. Apparently Jacques Cousteau conducted a diving expedition in the 1970’s and couldn’t find the bottom. We don’t know if this is true, but one thing is certain, the towering walls of the crater make the lake seem bottomless. Discussion of Green Lake was almost one of urban legend. The fact is many people that live in Hawai’i have never visited the lake, though it’s beauty and power is incomparable.
My first visit to Green Lake, a few years ago, was incredibly inspiring. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. Accompanying that beauty is a deep and powerful mystical vibe. This place demands that you respect it and it feels like there are protective energies present. During that initial visit a group of us ventured onto the lake via a small paddleboat and our first jump into the water was met with excitement, exhilaration and downright fear. It’s dark water and though we know there are no snakes or other predators to fear in Hawai’i it certainly feels as though something lurks below. Looking into the history of the lake I came across a legend directly associated with it. The ancient Hawaiian legend says that Green Lake was guarded by a female Mo’o that had never been conquered and anytime a chief got close to doing so she transformed herself into a beautiful woman and distracted him. Upon reading the legend something clicked and a story started to form in my head.
From that visit the seed for a film was firmly established and I returned the next year with the Green Lake script in hand. Thus began a grueling 9 day shoot, pulling upon friends from the Big Island I’ve made over the years to play the roles and double up as crew. Our core group of 6 played multiple roles in front of and behind the camera, weathering the elements, without sleep to the point of exhaustion and mental breakdown – all for the sake of creating. Green Lake was my mini-Apocalypse Now. It was the most challenging shoot I’ve ever been part of but also the most rewarding and I’m so proud of the result. Green Lake is more than your typical horror film, it’s a warning to everyone that we must maintain our balance with and respect nature, or face the consequences.
A special mention must be expressed to the wonderful music that accompanies the film. Big Island band’s Technical Difficulties as well as the Delight Talkies provide the songs written specifically for the film. Matthew Reid’s terrific original score is more than I could have ever hoped for.
Enjoy the swim and remember “Horror Dwells Deep!”
The Big Island Film Festival runs May 26–30 at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i and The Shops at Mauna Lani on the beautiful Kohala coast. The festival also includes food and beverage events, celebrity guests, an awards brunch, filmmaker/audience interaction, screenwriting workshops, Hawaiian music and culture. Green Lake will screen Saturday, May 28th at 7.30pm outside The Shops at Mauna Lani in Waikoloa.