A local actor and producer stars in a newly-released independent movie filmed in western Pennsylvania.
Martin Patterson, an Ambridge resident, plays Florian Sirko, one of the main characters in “Croaker.”
“It went really well,” he said of the filming.
Released Monday on DVD, the film is a throwback to old monster movies of the early 1970s, and takes place where the concept was originally inspired and written—the banks of Chartiers Creek in Canonsburg.
Patterson said filming took place in other locations around Western Pennsylvania, including Sunny Jim’s Tavern on Camp Horne Road in Kilbuck.
“A lot of it was shot down in Canonsburg, and then we shot a really big scene up at Sunny Jim’s,” Patterson said.
A movie screening will take place Friday, May 16 and Saturday, May 17 in Ambridge, along with a chance to meet the cast. Film screenings are also planned at Sunny Jim's and the Meadows.
A former constable, Patterson has been involved in films since 2001 and never went to film school.
“Everybody I know that’s successful at this is just doing it,” he said.
“Croaker” tackles the topic of family and friends, and how relationships are difficult to recapture because of absence and time.
Canonsburg native Fred Terling, who wrote and directed the film, said “It’s a very different kind of monster movie. Unlike contemporary horror films, the creature is actually in the background of the story.”
The plot centers on the Sirko family plagued by a curse that the citizens of the town are paying for with their souls. The curse was originally cast from the attack of Haidamark Cossacks on Nemirov Poland, 1648, spawning a mythological creature, the Vodnik.
Florian Sirko’s one-time love, Macy Patterson, is hesitant to believe urban legend as is local County Sherriff Ben Cade (Ron Russell), who suspects Florian is dealing with the grief of losing his brother in a more sinister way.
Patterson co-stars with Valerie Gatto, who plays Macy in the film, and was crowned Miss Pennsylvania USA 2014 in December. She will compete in June to win the Miss USA pageant, part of the Miss Universe Organization owned by Donald Trump and NBC Universal.
With “Croaker” under his belt, Patterson, who is also a writer, producer and co-owner of Dream Forge Films, said he is also preparing to launch another production, a television series akin to the popular shows “Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad.”
Patterson hopes to film scenes at the old J&L mill site in Aliquippa and is looking for other places in the area, along with sponsors and a network.
“We’re going to shoot 13 episodes,” Patterson said. “We do want to use some locations around here in Beaver County and we're looking for some support with the series,” he said.
Patterson also has two films slated for this year. An end of days thriller "Sickness" and a paranormal horror film "IR."
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