What do you get when you combine a field full of vampires, several elves, and two local filmmakers with a knack for medieval fantasy? A new independent movie called “Celaderion.”
The film, which began produc-tion about a year ago, stems from writer and co-director Thomas Meyer’s short film “Nostariel and the Vampire That Loved Cookies.”
“It was just a funny little short I did,” Meyer said. “About an elf who loved cookies who got attacked by a vampire.”
The elf’s friend, Celadrael, vows to avenge her friend’s attack by becoming a killer of vampires. “That’s where this story takes over,” Meyer said.
“Celaderion” follows the elf Celadrael (played by Marcee Mickelle) from childhood into adulthood. The story transpires in a place called the Forgotten Forest, where a long feud exists between elves and vampires.
Eventually, a war breaks out and Celadrael is prophesied as “the chosen one.” “She’s going to save the elves from total destruction,” Meyer said.
Co-directing the film with Meyer is Bret Yingling. The cast and crew of “Celaderion” includes about 100 people, according to Antonio Dileo, the film’s producer. All of the actors and crewmembers are from Western Washington, and almost all of them are volunteers. Many of them Dileo has worked with before.
“They’re my A-Team,” he said.
Over the past couple of months, the cast and crew have been filming almost every weekend. They’ve filmed in Granite Falls, Carnation, Bellingham, Yelm, and Lynden, at a location Meyer called “the freezing barn.”
“We had stinky pigs. We had cows that wouldn’t shut up,” Meyer said, laughing.
Last weekend’s location, where Meyer and company were shooting the final few scenes, is on a farm in Duvall. The open grassy fields provided space for more intimate dialogue sequences and space to film a large battle scene, known to cast and crew as “the blooming onion,” with a drone camera.
The only problem with the location? Airplanes. Stephen DeVore, the boom operator and gaffer, had to ask the crew several times to pause filming as a jet flew overhead. (The sound of the plane engines can ruin the sound of the dialogue.)
After what seemed like the twentieth jet flyover, a propeller plane appeared, humming noisily above the field.
“It’s not my fault!” DeVore shouted jokingly.
With an almost zero-budget film like “Celaderion,” nearly everyone is a “jack of all trades.” DeVore especially has been known to wear many different hats.
“He’s been one of our saviors on the set,” Dileo said of DeVore.
The crew includes camera operators, makeup artists, the aforementioned drone operator, and even fight choreographer Chad Hawthorne. Hawthorne worked in firearms training and now does fight choreography and stunt training for movies.
“We’ve got a scene where our lead basically fights off an army of vampires,” Hawthorne said. “It’s amazing the talent on the set and their ability to pick up the choreography.”
For safety’s sake, the swords are almost always fake. “That’s really why we’re here, to make sure nobody gets harmed,” Hawthorne said.
However, in one fight scene (there are about five total), Hawthorne said the actors used real weapons. “It was a very knock-down, drag out technical fight,” he said.
“Celaderion” will be about 81 minutes long fully edited, Meyer said. It’s a huge undertaking for a movie with very little budget, and Meyer has put a lot of his own money into the project. It helps that everyone involved is so dedicated.
“We have been very fortunate to have had some of the best actors, crew, and supporters as a part of this project,” Dileo said.
The movie doesn’t have a distributor yet, although the cast and crew are hopeful. Meyer said they plan to show the film at festivals locally, nationally, and even internationally once its edited and ready to go.
Check out “Celaderion” on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Celaderion.