By MICHAEL GINGOLD
This contagion chiller was shot just before the pandemic made it timely.
Black Fawn Distribution has announced its acquisition of Canadian rights to HALL, the feature directorial debut of Francesco Giannini and the first movie completed by his Franky Films. The movie will arrive on all major Canadian VOD platforms April 6, followed by physical release later this year. Giannini, who won the Best Director award at last year’s Blood in the Snow Film Festival for HALL, scripted it with Derrick Adams and Adam Kolodny, and the cast is led by Carolina Bartczak, Yumiko Shaku, Mark Gibson, genre veteran Julian Richings and Bailey Thain. The synopsis: “HALL follows Val [Bartczak], a young mother separated from her daughter [Thain], who must navigate a hotel hallway ravaged by a mysterious virus. Forced to crawl her way past other helpless victims, Val crosses paths with Naomi [Shaku]–a pregnant tourist thrust into the fight of her life. While keeping out of sight, Val and Naomi must escape the stretch of isolated carnage, before they become infected themselves.”
“The story of HALL was always somewhat anchored by my fear that a contagion could potentially be fabricated for nefarious purposes,” says Giannini, who shot the movie in early 2019. “But I never thought this fictional story would share so many similarities with the reality we face today.” The film also addresses themes of domestic violence and mental health, and Giannini adds, “HALL isn’t so much a ‘pandemic film’ as it is a very honest and personal story. There were some very real societal issues that had been sitting with me well before 2020–one of those being how impactful our actions can be to those around us, especially when kids are part of your life. No one deserves to be subjected to domestic violence, be it physical or verbal, and getting out of such an undesirable situation is extremely challenging. It takes an immense amount of mental strength to get out of such a toxic relationship.”
“It was actually a complete coincidence that HALL was almost finished just before this unfortunate crisis struck,” he continues. “When the time was right, we decided to approach the team at Black Fawn Distribution to see if they’d like to work on getting the film out to the masses. Canada is our home, and I’ve been a huge fan of Black Fawn Distribution and their work with helping to bring independent horror to a wider audience nationwide. There couldn’t be a better fit for our film.”
“When I found out that HALL was filmed pre-pandemic, I was blown away,” say Black Fawn sales manager CF Benner. “The horror genre has a storied history of incorporating relevant social commentary in unique and terrifying ways. HALL is no exception, and Francesco has done an exceptional job of balancing our fear of what’s on the other side of the door and the human terrors that can live in the same room as us. Knowing that the film was originally crafted as a cautionary tale instead of a reactionary project makes for a truly uncanny viewing experience. It was important to us that HALL became part of the Black Fawn Distribution film family.”