Phantom Sway

‘Gnaw’ Movie Takes Advantage of Colorado’s Growing Film Industry

Indie horror film is already creating a lot of buzz out of the Rockies

Have you ever had something that just eats away at you? You know the feeling – uneasiness, a knot in your stomach that just won’t go away. Except you just can’t put your finger on it. You’re not quite sure why you feel so heavy and bothered but you know something is wrong and that feeling slowly chips away at your day, your week, your peace of mind.

Imagine if that gnawing feeling was real..or at least you thought it was real. Imagine being slowly eaten away by that one thing you can’t seem to put your finger on.

Writer/Director Haylar Garcia brings that gnawing feeling to the big screen with his feature film Gnaw, currently being filmed on location in Denver, Colorado. From the press release:

Gnaw follows Jennifer Conrad (Penelope Mitchell), a small-town girl fleeing an abusive husband (Johnson), as she tries to make a new life for herself in the big city. But it’s hard to start over when something is eating you alive… one painful bite at a time.

Director Haylar Garcia
Director Haylar Garcia

Garcia is perhaps best known in the horror industry for his film American Terror, a slasher film that has drawn a significant cult following. However, producer Michael Haskins says with Gnaw audiences can expect a slightly different type of offering from the talented director.

“If your type of film is suspense or thriller then Gnaw is the film you’re looking for.

In any horror movie you have a contract with the audience, that you scare them and make them scared for their characters…We wanted to tell a story that would impact everybody.There’s nobody who hasn’t had something that may have chewed away at them at some point in time.”

Gnaw‘s cast is an impressive coalition of experience and youth. Penelope Mitchell (The Vampire Diaries)

behind the scenesand Chris Johnson (Cursed) join Kyle Glass – who will be familiar to any Jack Black or HBO fans as one half of Tenacious D. While the cast is talented in their own right, perhaps the most notable addition is that of Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Sally Kirkland (Valley of the Dolls, The Sting).

Horror is a peculiar genre in that it attracts a lot of independent filmmakers and large fan base that used to be underground but is becoming increasingly mainstream thanks to the internet and social media. As the genre has grown, so have the tastes of the consumer. Says Haskins:

“More sophisticated audiences want more sophisticated stories. A lot of times people come to these stories because there’s something underneath they want to hear.”

Adding to the surge in independently produced horror films is Colorado’s film incentive program, which provides tax breaks and rebates for anyone choosing to locate their productions in the state. Gnaw shoots in Denver and is just one of hundreds of productions that have come to Colorado in the last few years. Small and independent film teams are finding a lot more bang for their buck in the Rocky Mountain state, and so are state and local governments who are beginning to reap the rewards of the extra spending these crews bring into their territories with each new production.

Haskins knows the location isn’t solely the most important part of Garcia’s new project. He notes the behind-the-scenes team on the film and at Unreal Media and Wrecking Ball Pictures has been invaluable in pushing the project forward and getting the word out to funders and anxious fans – Garcia’s two writing partners Kathryn Gould and Jim Brennan; director of photography Anton Fresco; visual effects designers Ignacio Lacosta and Ana Revilla; producers Betsy Leighton, Stephan Shelanski and Richard Turner.

Antón Fresco - DP
Antón Fresco – DP

We are the beneficiaries of some amazing good fortune. The performances we’re getting out of these [actors] are second to none…and we couldn’t have asked for a more supportive production team.”

Gnaw is currently in production on location in Denver. Look for its release in the coming months.

*And be sure to check out Phantom Sway’s 48 Hour Film Contest in partnership with the Telluride Horror Show. Enter for a chance to win a screening at #THS in October. Registration deadline is June 20. 

Kira Allen

When Kira isn't scaling the peaks of some of the toughest mountains in the world or exploring the Amazon rainforests she spends her time as a foster mom for her local animal shelter. Kira has volunteered for "Doctors without Borders" even though she isn't even a doctor or a nurse. Her mantra is "More speed, more height, more life..."
Just kidding....Kira is a writer, actor and suburban housewife and mother. Her mantra is "If I can't do it from the couch, is it really worth it?"