Cameras, lighting equipment and a group of young actors were visible in the lobby area of the second floor of Lilly Science Hall as director Bobby Easley shot scenes for his film “Witch House” on Jan. 26. Easley invited theater students at the University of Indianapolis to join the shoot as extras and participate in the production. While the Indianapolis-based director was scouting for locations, Easley said he saw the UIndy campus as an area that would function as his envisioned setting for the film.
There were approximately 17 students that finished the paperwork to participate in the film, according to one of the film’s line producers Elizabeth Hale, although only one attended the shoot. She said that students could participate in scenes on a volunteer basis. Easley said that he believes that the students who get the opportunity to participate in a movie will have a professional advantage if they decide to complete an internship in Hollywood.
“A lot of times, inexperienced people go to intern in Hollywood but never truly get to do something they love,” Easley said. “Most of the time they are sent out to go fetch coffee for some executive or producer. When they have film experience, they can actually do something they find beneficial and exciting.”
One of the most beneficial takeaways for students is that apart from just gaining screen time on a small scale, they have a chance to participate in the production of an internationally released movie, according to Hale. She said that it will help students get the experience necessary to perfect their acting craft and give them an edge on their resumes when applying for jobs in the film industry.
“Experience is more important than the school you go to,” Hale said. “No matter who you are, it is rough to get started as an actor. Casting is always looking for the person that fits the role perfectly, creating an experience and cohesion you can see in the film. No one wants someone who doesn’t fit the role of the character you have in mind.”
The film is based on the H.P. Lovecraft short story “The Dreams in the Witch House,” a story with elements of cosmicism and creature tropes that are common among the horror franchise, according to Easley. The movie will take place mostly in an attic, mimicking the setting of the original story. For the location, Easley said he will be using the famed “haunted” Hannah House. Easley said that the area and the Indiana horror culture is what truly brought him to film in Indianapolis.
“There is a big horror movie and film culture in Indy and Indiana. I have really never seen a horror scene that can compare to the one in Indy,” Easley said. “There are cult followings to many different movies and weird [stuff] around the area and it complements our demographic.”
Easley said that he lives on the West Side of Indianapolis and that his residency there inspired him to create the film in Indiana. The history and “creepy” nature of the location had brought him to film at the decades-old Hannah House, according to Easley. Because it combines modern and classic structures, he said, was the perfect place for his modern take on the 1933 short story.
“You have buildings like [the Health Pavilion] which look like they have only been built a few years ago,” Easley said. “Then you have that old building that looks like the school was built around. It is that perfect mix of old and new that brings that experience together in a film, perfect scenery for a modern college in a movie.”
Wasteland Pictures International’s “Witch House” will be released later this year and be shown digitally both domestically and internationally.
The trailer for “Witch House” is below.