…When asked about directing his dad in Stray Bullets, Jack laughs, “I’ve directed my dad since I was a very young child. I’ve always been bossy, but now, I’m considered directorial. My dad’s been in my short films for three or four years now, in front of and behind the camera. What’s funny is that I assume he knows what I want because we talk about it so much beforehand, so on set I may neglect to give him direction when I should, and that can result in him saying, ‘Well, I didn’t know what you wanted.’ But we’re usually on the same page.”
now available on DVD
for your home collection.
“An enjoyably blood-soaked thriller with unexpectedly lyrical interludes — made very much in the shadow of classic genre forebears and on what was clearly a constrained budget — this is a strikingly impressive calling-card.” —Hollywood Reporter
Disc includes the hour-long “making of” featurette entitled SWEATING BULLETS.
Stop by your favorite brick and mortar video store or order on-line today!
Starring Asa Spurlock,
Jack Fessenden, James Le Gros,
John Speredakos, Larry Fessenden,
and Kevin Corrigan
“lots of ambience and mood… a distinct feeling of desolation and claustrophobia
… fascinating, and very well produced … Give it a try.”
“particularly effective use of his own haunting, guitar-heavy score
… Fessenden could probably pursue a career in music if the challenge of film-making palls”
“an impressive debut with an equally impressive score”
STRAY BULLETS original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Now Available from Lakeshore records
composed and arranged by JACK FESSENDEN
additional composing CHRISTIAN NOLL
producer LARRY FESSENDEN
recorded at UNDERGROUND AUDIO, NYC
engineer, mix and mastering MATT ROCKER
additional engineer WILL WHATLEY
keyboards, guitars, percussion JACK FESSENDEN
bass MARK LERNER
electric guitar CHRISTIAN NOLL
cello ASA SPURLOCK
violin CYRUS SPURLOCK
“Ave Maria” by Franz Schubert
recorded at DUBWAY STUDIO, NYC
engineer and mix RUSSEL CASTIGLIONE
thanks AL HOUGHTON
piano ROGER PELTZMAN
vocals LUCY KATHERINE GHEGRAE
FROM THE COMPOSER
Even after Stray Bullets picture-locked, my biggest creative challenge still lay ahead: composing the score. I had used pieces by Cliff Martinez, Brian Eno, and Philip Glass, among others, as temporary music in my edit to help myself understand what mood I was hoping to evoke with the score I would go on to write.
I worked with Christian Noll, a fellow musician and friend from school, to help get started with developing chord progressions and sounds for the music, and soon felt confident enough to continue on my own and compose the entire feature film’s worth of tracks. We recorded in only 4 days, inviting friends from upstate to come down to play bass, cello, and violin. Asa Spurlock, my co-star in the film, and his younger brother Cyrus made up our string section, and Mark Lerner of Phoenicia, NY offered a unique bass tone that occurs throughout the score. I played most of the other instruments, drums, keyboards and guitar, expanding upon previous ideas and coming up with totally new ones in the moment.
I like to enter the studio with a solid understanding of what is needed and an openness to working spontaneously; I had made crude recordings of several of the main pieces with different parts and instrumentations mapped out, but other themes were less developed, and were discovered and refined in the studio. Never have I handed a musician a sheet of notation; I like to talk with collaborators and get them on the same page and then see what they have to offer, how they respond to my direction. Improvisation, especially with a largely atmospheric and ambient score such as this, is how we found the most memorable sounds. I believe it is in those last minute adjustments and additions that the music can really come into its own.
We mixed the music right there in the studio, Underground Audio on 3rd street next to Hells Angels, and were out of there in the afternoon of the 5th day. Sometimes I question myself before entering into an ordeal like this, fearing that I hadn’t done enough to prepare, but by surrounding myself with like-minded and willing collaborators, meticulously articulating my vision to them and letting them make of it what they will, I was able to shape the material and expand my original themes into the moody score I was looking for.
We Got It Good Here
What Took You So Long
“Ave Maria” by Franz Schubert
In the lobby of the Village East, STRAY BULLETS poster is in good company.
The new crime drama Stray Bullets (out Feb. 10) was written, directed, and edited by Jack Fessenden, who also stars in the film, composed its soundtrack, and is among the movie’s credited chefs. That’s an impressive array of contributions to this tale of two teenagers in upstate New York whose lives intersect with a trio of gun-toting hoodlums. But the amount of hats Fessenden sported on Stray Bullets is doubly noteworthy given he is only 17 years old and was just 15 when he directed the film.
“I’d been making little movies my entire childhood [but] I started taking movie-making more seriously when I was maybe 12 or 13,” says Fessenden. “When I was 13, I made my first real short film, called Riding Shotgun. We showed it at the Woodstock Film Festival and, ever since I’ve known that I wanted to make a movie like Stray Bullets. I always referred to it in my mind as ‘my epic.’ It wasn’t necessarily going to be a feature. It was just something that would incorporate a story [in] my comfort zone — of kids upstate — as I’d done before, and then also the story of these crooks. In the summer before I started high school, I started to write the story and realized that it was very dense for a short film. My mom, one day, said, ‘Well, why don’t you just make a feature?’”
It could be said that Fessenden was born to make films — certainly, he has been involved in their creation virtually since birth. His mother, Beck Underwood, is an animator and production designer while his father, Larry Fessenden, is the director of such influential indie-horror movies as Habit and Wendigo. Fessenden Sr. has also nurtured a long list of filmmakers through his Glass Eye Pix company, including Ti West (House of the Devil), Jim Mickle (Stake Land), Mickey Keating (Darling), and now his son, whose film was overseen by the production outfit in conjunction with Jack’s own Fessypix. Jack himself appeared in Wendigo when he was just a few months old and, down the years, helped out on a number of other GEP movies, including 2008’s Dominic Monaghan-starring I Sell the Dead. “I helped age some old boxes,” he laughs. “I got paid $50. That’s a pretty big payday for a 7-year-old.”
Larry Fessenden recalls that it was the time he spent goofing around with Jack and his friends which really inspired his son to become a director. “Instead of going out and playing with a ball, we’d go out with a video camera,” he says. “Jack would have three friends over, and we’d say, ‘Let’s pretend you’re running from something terrible!’ And I’d have the fun of designing the shots. I used to edit them, put the music in and so on, and [say], ‘Look, that fun thing we did this afternoon, this is the result.’ Eventually, Jack would take the camera and I’d see him off telling the kids what to do, and I think that’s how he became a filmmaker.”
Jack and his friend Asa Spurlock play the lead teenagers in Stray Bullets while the movie’s three criminals are portrayed by John Speredakos (Wendigo, The Mind’s Eye), James Le Gros (Living in Oblivion, Girls), and Larry, who also shot the film and produced it with Jack. Indeed, with Underwood overseeing the movie’s production design, Stray Bullets is very much a family affair, although Jack insists his father was careful not to offer too much input during the shoot. “He was always there to help, whenever I needed it,” he says. “But I mostly think he wanted to give me some space, so that I could feel that it was my project — and he did that very well.”
Stray Bullets premiered last September at Germany’s Oldenberg Film Festival and won a rave review from The Hollywood Reporter which described it as “an enjoyably bloodsoaked thriller with unexpectedly lyrical interludes.” Jack says he has plans to make another film, but has to first deal with some matters which aren’t usually an issue for first-time filmmakers. “I’m in junior year in high school, so I have to crack down a little bit more than I have been,” he says. “I have to keep my grades up!”
Stray Bullets is released Feb. 10.
8:26 AM PDT 11/4/2016 by
The indie distributor will do a multi-platform release for the crime drama in the U.S. as well as handling international sales.
Screen Media has picked up worldwide rights for Stray Bullets, a low-budget crime drama from 16-year-old Jack Fessenden, son of indie film vet Larry Fessenden.
The younger Fessenden stars alongside Asa Spurlock in Stray Bullets as a pair of teenage boys tasked with cleaning out their father’s old mobile home on an abandoned property, only to find that three cons on the run (James Le Gros, John Speredakos, Larry Fessenden) are using the trailer for a hideout.
The movie, produced through the Fessenden’s New York shingle Glass Eye Pix, premiered at the Oldenburg Film Festival in Germany earlier this year.
Screen Media is planning a multi-platform release for Stray Bullets in the U.S. in February next year. The company has also taken on international rights and will be selling the title to foreign buyers at AFM.
“We have a great track record working with Screen Media, and we’re delighted they’ve shown such enthusiasm for Jack’s movie,” said Larry Fessenden. “We look forward to building on that to make an impact with this humble but resonant film.”
The deal for Stray Bullets was negotiated by Needle for Screen Media with Larry Fessenden and Jenn Wexler at Glass Eye Pix on behalf of the filmmakers.
Screen Media’s recent releases include Michel Gondry’s Microbe & Gasoline and South American horror thriller Colonia starring Emma Watson and Daniel Bruhl.
Bloody Disgusting has been snooping around the Glass Eye Pix website and uncovered the
Stay Bullets project page, still under construction.
Stay tuned for news of STRAY BULLETS screenings this Fall.