NEW FILM ‘VALLEY OF THE SASQUATCH’ TAKES INSPIRATION FROM REAL LIFE BIGFOOT ENCOUNTERS
Seattle, WA –February 24th, 2015– The new horror film Valley of the Sasquatch recently began its film festival run with a world premiere last weekend at the Nevermore Film Festival in North Carolina. But for writer/director John Portanova, the process of bringing this story of a fractured family battling a tribe of angry Sasquatch to life was years in the making.
“Growing up I spent most of my free time studying cryptozoology and the unknown,” Portanova said. “Instead of going outside and playing for recess, I would read books from the 001 section of the library about encounters with Bigfoot or alien abductions. My after school viewing habits consisted of watching paranormal investigation shows such as Unsolved Mysteries or Sightings. Years later when I graduated from film school, I took some time off so I could write my first real screenplay. There was only one idea that really inspired me: making a scary and action-packed movie that respected the history of Sasquatch.”
Portanova continues, “Within the film there is a moment where the character of Will (played by D’Angelo Midili) tells the story of a Sasquatch attack on a mining cabin that took place on Mount St. Helens in 1924. Some of my favorite movies are siege films, especially the classics Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Assault on Precinct 13 (1976). So, inspired by the Mount St. Helens story, I set out to write a Bigfoot siege film. I created some characters who find themselves in a similar situation, where they’re trapped in a cabin and Bigfoot is trying to break its way in.”
“There are also references to other Sasquatch classics sprinkled throughout the script,” adds Portanova. “The character of Bauman (played by Bill Oberst Jr.) is named after a character who appeared in Teddy Roosevelt’s book The Wilderness Hunter in 1892. Within the book Roosevelt relayed the story of a man named Bauman who encountered Sasquatch while out trapping with a guide. This story always fascinated me because it’s one of the only references I’ve seen to Bigfoot taking a human life. The opening of the film features a fictional take on this story, set in present day with our Bauman. A larger subplot later in the film took inspiration from the story of Albert Ostman, who said that he was kidnapped by a family of Bigfoot for six days in 1924. In our film, a character finds himself in a similar situation with a much angrier group of Sasquatch.”
“With Valley of the Sasquatch I wanted to tell an engaging story for the cryptozoology community,” Portanova concludes. “I’ve seen a lot of Bigfoot films and have never been completely satisfied with them outside of some of the 70s classics such as The Legend of Boggy Creek or Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot.
They usually portray the creature as a bloodthirsty monster, treat the whole thing like some big joke, or are shot found footage style. Within the script and shooting of Valley I made sure to treat Sasquatch with respect. It isn’t a slasher film that just replaces Jason Voorhees with a Bigfoot, it isn’t full of cheap CGI and stupid characters, and it wasn’t shot on a handycam. I hope that the film will appeal to horror fans looking for a dramatic creature feature full of old school practical effects as much as it appeals to Sasquatch enthusiasts looking for a film that understands and respects the history of the creature.”
Valley of the Sasquatch is the directorial debut of writer/director John Portanova. It stars David Saucedo (Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones), Bill Oberst Jr. (Resolution), Jason Vail (Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies), D'Angelo Midili (The Invoking), and Miles Joris-Peyrafitte (Gut).
The film is a co-production between The October People (Found) and Votiv Films (Obvious Child). You can keep up with future festival screenings and news by following the film on its Facebook page (Facebook.com/ValleyoftheSasquatch) or on Twitter (@SasquatchHorror).
Valley of the Sasquatch Synopsis: After losing their home following a devastating tragedy, a father and son are forced to move to an old family cabin. Neither reacts well to being thrown into this new world. The son's attempts to relate to his father are complicated when two old friends arrive for a weekend of hunting. This trip into the forest will unearth not only buried feelings of guilt and betrayal, but also a tribe of Sasquatch that are determined to protect their land.
About The October People: The October People is a film production company based out of Seattle, WA and San Diego, CA. 2014 saw the home video releases of their first three award-winning films: the psychological horror story The Invoking, the coming-of-age slasher film Found, and the alien abduction thriller The Device. More information on the company can be found at www.theoctoberpeople.net
This post by Thomas Marcum, Thomas is the founder/leader of the cryptozoology and paranormal research organization known as The Crypto Crew. Over 20 years experience with research and investigation of unexplained activity, working with video and websites. A trained wild land firefighter and a published photographer, and poet.
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