An Upcoming American Thriller Filmed In Rural Virginia: The SurpriseVisit

An Upcoming American Thriller Filmed In Rural Virginia: The SurpriseVisit

by Ebru Cengiz Ergen

The Surprise Visit a thriller film produced by Serah Henesey. The filmbinds people from differing backgrounds in America while examining their motivations, education, tendencies and survival efforts, is preparing to meet with itsaudience.

Filmed in the state of Virginia under the shadow of covid-19, autumn colors and the splendor of Virginia’s nature formed the natural backdrop of the film. Veteran director Nick Lyon chose to filmThe Surprise Visit in a building and land listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Surprise Visit was created by the common dream of three close friends. Producer Serah Henesey had previously worked with the film director, Nick Lyon, on the films ‘Bullet’ and ‘Annihilation Earth’and her friendship with writer Stephen Meier goes back many years.

The American film industry is synonymous with New York and Los Angeles. Henesey describes her experiences under pandemic regulations in Virginia: “Covid measures were very distressing. But people could still work, so that was nice. Covid measures are difficult especially for those who shoot SAG films- that is union- because there are too many procedures, it increases the costs a lot. Studiofilms and TV shows are always union. We shot an independent movie. There were no regulations that bound us that much, but we wanted to keep everyone safe, so we applied the Covid test to all the actors & crew once a week, we measured their fever every morning, no one worked without a mask. We werecareful to disinfect everything and had hand disinfectant gels everywhere. There was no open food, no snack table called Crafty table, everyone’s food came in a package etc etc. And most importantly, no one got sick on set.”

“Aside from being in front of a camera for over 20 years I had worked in several different positions within TV & film production in different countries around the world, but until now I had not completed a whole feature film on my own. It’s been a very educativeexperience for me. For example, actors, artists don’t like to talk‘money’ (including me), but when you become a producer, you learn to get over that very quickly. You have to negotiate!!! I struggled there. I also had a hard time finding a technical team. I know Los Angeles very well, if I click my fingers, I can find hundreds of makeup artists, costume artists, art directors. New York also has such an industry. Trying to find a make-up artist or a stunt double in Virginia in the confines of a global pandemic was like seeing a pink elephant :))) At some point during the pre-production phase of the movie, I said, ‘Yikes! I really have bitten off more than I can chewthis time, with my insaneaudacity’. But God, the universe, my angels stepped in, I received some divine intervention & things worked out. But I didn’t sleep much in the first month. ”
Serah Henesey has worked in Australia, London, Germany, Holland, Bulgaria and Turkey and today she sustains her progress in the United States. Her first piece advice to those who want to workhere is to think long-term. Henesey says “Team is everything”; she underscores that it takes time to find the right producer, director, writer, agency, manager and PR people.
Some of Serah’s upcoming projects include “a horror film that was initially intended to shoot last year, The script includedseveral children between the ages of 12-15. It was notpossible to work with children duringthe pandemic and so as not to risk people’s health, we postponed it. It is a great script & still very much on my mind”.
“We have a Christmas film planned for the end of this year. These romantic comediesare not very well known in Turkey, but in America, Christmas movies are hugely popular and there is always ademand. We’dliketo shoot it at the end of the year.”

“We also have a greatTV show script. The Canadian team, who deemed me worthy of an award at the Reelheart Film Festival in Toronto, has a script that received several screenwriting awards. It was originally written as afilm, we are trying to adapt it into a show”

Category: Film
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