Audiences have a choice: wait for the weekly broadcast premieres of “Requiems” on YouTube, or attend the big screen premiere of the first three episodes Friday at Theatre Baton Rouge.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m.
That’s when they’ll learn about the girl who’s been committed to a designated psychiatric hospital for people who have had traumatic experiences with the supernatural. And it’s in this setting where they’ll realize this girl has the power to see the memories of these experiences when touching her fellow patients.
Her name is Dani, a pinked-haired artist played by Devin Williams. And her story is presented by local indie film company Hedges Pictures.
“This has been the largest undertaking we’ve ever attempted,” Travis Hedges Williams says. “Each of the episodes runs between 20 and 25 minutes, and the series is a continuous story in the same vein as ‘American Horror Story.’” That anthology horror series airs on FX.
Williams is Hedges Pictures’ founder. He also wrote and produced “Requiems” and directed episodes one, three and six. Williams usually directs all Hedges productions, but elected to take a different approach with this series.
“We had three guest directors for the other episodes,” Williams says. “I’ve never done that before, so it’s been interesting. It brings different perspectives to the show.”
Anthony Pierre directed episode two; Tyler Grezaffi, episode four; and veteran Hedges Pictures actor Kurt Hauschild, episode five.
Area theatergoers will be familiar with these names, along with those of cast members Kenneth Mayfield, Jenny Ballard, Rachel Theriot, Mike Katchmer, Yvette Bourgeois and Bill Martin.
“We used people from both Theatre Baton Rouge and LSU,” Williams says. “We shot some scenes locally, but we also drove to other places in Louisiana like Grand Isle. The audience will recognize the places in a lot of the scenes, and all of the episodes were inspired by Louisiana folktales.”
This will make it more fun for audience members at the Theatre Baton Rouge premiere, because they’ll have a personal connection with the lore and legends playing out in familiar places on the big screen.
That’s not saying a worldwide Internet audience can’t develop its own connection with Dani and her supernatural world. It’s filled with mystery, hope and intrigue, elements with which almost everyone can identify.
Then there’s the supernatural, which ushers in fear of the unknown. Almost everyone enjoys a good scare every now and then, whether it suddenly jumps out of a corner or wraps itself in a psychological cloak.
It all works together to solve Dani’s mystery.
“Dani not only looks into the patients’ pasts but begins to piece together mysteries of the hospital staff,” Williams says. “But the viewers don’t know what put her in the hospital, so she starts putting together pieces of the puzzle as the series unfolds. In episode three, a big piece of the puzzle will be revealed.”
Now, for those who aren’t able to make the premiere, the first episode will be released Friday on YouTube with subsequent episodes debuting each Friday through Nov. 21. A second premiere is set for Nov. 7, also in Theatre Baton Rouge, to introduce the final three episodes.
As Williams mentioned earlier, putting the series together was no easy task. He first raised money through the fund raising website Indiegogo, then rallied to film all six episodes during the summer, when schedules for both cast and crew are generally slower.
Williams worked with a new director of photography, Jess Siedule, on this project, Siedule and J. Lamm composed original musical scores, and Crystal Brown was the costumer.
The production team met its self-imposed deadline, and the timing of “Requiem’s” release couldn’t be more perfect. It’s October, after all, and Dani’s story will play out during Halloween season.
All proceeds from the $5 ticket price will benefit Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital, the Big Buddy Program and the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.