LITTLE MONSTERS: New Independent Film Features Child Murderers

Little_MonstersLITTLE MONSTERS has everything a successful independent film needs, a veteran director with a passion for his craft, a hungry production team who can eke out every resource from a shoestring budget, and a stable of actors from Las Vegas who take pride in their craft. David Schmoeller’s realization of his own script entices you with crime, drama, and suspense. The film explores bullying in America at its core by examining how the horrific crime of two ten-year-olds has shaken America. Everyone from the victim’s family, to the seedy tabloid market, to the vigilantes with a bone to pick has a hand in this story. But something happens about midway through the film. Schmoeller brings this twenty-thousand-foot view slowly and methodically down to the personal level of the characters. It’s subtle at first, but when you realize what happened, the film takes on new meaning. These two bullies (now 18 and recently released from Juvenile Detention) become human. We feel how these events have changed them, how the events have eaten away at their lives, and the lives of those around them. Scenes become engrossing, wrapping you up with complexity and providing you with a window into the souls of these characters. This is where the actors shine, playing off each other and bringing you with them into their emotional worlds. The scene where Carl (played by Charles Cantrell) meets his mother after being incarcerated for eight years is film masterpiece. Being a fan of Schmoeller’s early work (Puppetmaster (1989); Tourist Trap (1979)), it’s wonderful to see how his films have changed over the years with the rise of independent filmmaking, yet his works still hold true to his ability to scare you, to shock you, to play with your emotions. LITTLE MONSTERS is no different. If you get a chance to see this film, you must see it!

LITTLE MONSTERS will have its Las Vegas Premiere at the Vegas Independent Film Festival (VIFF) – it will be an “Encore Closing Night” Screening at Brenden Theaters at the Palms on Thursday, May 9th, at 7pm (Red Carpet at 6pm). Tickets are available for this screening from Fandango HERE.

Watch the trailer:

Like LITTLE MONSTERS’s Facebook page for updates.

Read Jonathan Sturak’s interview with David Schmoeller from November 2012.

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2012 Las Vegas Film Festival

A femme fatale seeking revenge, a suicidal soldier, and Saddam Hussein. What do these people have in common? They were all characters in films featured at the 2012 Las Vegas Film Festival hosted at the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, July 19 – 22. This year a mix of films with international focus wooed film-lovers who were trying to find a reprieve from the 110-degree temperatures outside. Viewers were quickly transported far, far away from the sweltering Nevada desert with this year’s selection of stories and characters of China, Thailand, Vietnam, India, and Iraq.

I was hungry for some good old-fashioned noir, and I came away satisfied where I least expected. The following films were some of the highlights of this year’s festival.

Monika
Written and Directed by Steven R. Monroe. This violent and edgy thriller oozed noir with its revenge theme and bullet-flying special effects. The story follows Reagan Tyler, a troubled guy who ends up in the place where troubled people seem to flock—Las Vegas. It’s here where he meets the dark and dreadful Monika, a woman who is supposedly already dead. Monika is hungry for revenge on the killers of her younger sister. Check out this one’s trailer!

In Mexico
Produced by, Directed by, and Starring Ash Adams. This one was only 13 minutes in length, but it was 13 minutes of sheer genius and picked up this year’s Jury Award. The story is about a conflicted soldier fighting the demons lurking inside his mind. The plot takes place at a bar surrounded by cold alcohol and hot tempers. The script was tight and the acting was eerily real. If you have a chance to see this film, do it!

Thief
Directed by Julian Higgins. A story about a young boy named Mehdi who accidentally befriends Saddam Hussein, only to get burned by him. Now a grown man 40 years later, Mehdi has another chance meeting with Saddam. For Mehdi, revenge is tempting.

At this year’s festival, there was a panel discussion featuring Original Gangsters of Las Vegas, which included the mobster Frank Cullotta. Mr. Cullotta discussed his time as a consultant with Martin Scorsese providing him with the real mob experience during the making of Casino (which was the number one film on my Top 10 Las Vegas Noir Film list!).

My feature-length screenplay entitled “Past Due” won the Silver Ace Award at this year’s festival. The story revolves around a young woman trying to “make it” in Las Vegas only to find herself at the brink of disaster as the city slowly and methodically tricks her. I had the opportunity to speak on the screenwriters’ panel and to meet some talented filmmakers between some rolls of the dice.