A film by Erynn Dalton
Written by Joseph Zettelmaier
The Story of the Film,
from Stage to Screen
Infinite Abyss Productions has done what no other theater company has done before by going directly from stage to screen with its first feature film, The Gravedigger, which is having its World Premiere at the Fort Lauderdale-based Popcorn Frights Film Festival on August 15th. Infinite Abyss mounted the live production, with founder/artistic director Erynn Dalton directing, at their theater in Wilton Manors, Florida in March 2019 through April 2019. Immediately after closing the live show, the crew tore down the stage and theater seating to build a Hollywood-style sound stage and prepare for the filming of the same story, starring the same cast and with Dalton again directing.
While the logistics of accomplishing such a feat are dizzying, Infinite Abyss selected a stellar cast and creative team that had the talent and experience to pull it off "though Abyss has largely been a company that produces live theater, we have also specialized in producing high-quality short films that have been featured and incorporated into our shows for years. With all of the filmmakers we have on our creative team, moving into film was a natural progression for us," says Erynn Dalton, Infinite Abyss' founder and artistic director.
Infinite Abyss optioned the film rights for The Gravedigger script in late 2018 from Joseph Zettelmaier, a Michigan-based playwright who had submitted his script to Infinite Abyss for consideration of producing it as a play. "I read Joseph's script for The Gravedigger, and not only knew immediately that I wanted to produce it as a play, but because the story was both so intimate and cinematic, I knew it had to become a movie, too. I'm so grateful that Joseph trusted our vision and had faith that we could do his story justice, both on stage and on screen," says Dalton, who directed both the stage and film productions.
Zettelmaier is a powerhouse writer who is a four-time nominee for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Award for best new play and recipient of 2009’s Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award. "I'm beyond excited to be working with Infinite Abyss on a film version of The Gravedigger. The play has enjoyed several productions, but film takes the story to another level. A real cemetery, real tombstones, a world lit in moonlight...I can't wait," says Joseph Zettelmaier.
The Gravedigger is a gothic horror story set in Germany in the 1700s and focuses on Victor Frankenstein and his creation, the monster- characters originally created by Mary Shelley in her classic novel Frankenstein. In Zettelmaier's version, the monster has murdered Victor Frankenstein's friends and family in a fit of rage and escaped to a desolate cemetery in Bavaria where he meets a solitary gravedigger and a mysterious gypsy. There, the monster struggles with both his budding humanity and murderous impulses while his creator, Victor Frankenstein, hunts him relentlessly, hell-bent on revenge.
The Gravedigger is making its world premiere at the Popcorn Frights Film Festival on August 15th, alongside well-known horror artists such as writers Scott Beck & Bryan Woods (the duo who wrote the box office sensation A Quiet Place), who are debuting their new horror film Haunt, and director Larry Fessenden, whose film Depraved is making its Southeast premiere at Popcorn Frights. Says Dalton, “To be given the opportunity to premiere our film at Popcorn Frights, such a widely-respected horror film festival, alongside these other amazing horror artists, is just beyond our wildest dreams. We are so excited and honored to be there!” To purchase tickets for the world premiere of The Gravedigger on August 15, 2019 CLICK HERE.