On a sunny Sunday in late September, a few people gathered at “Rock Star” on Texoma Parkway to begin the process of making a short film. The location director was there, the make-up artists were on hand as well as special effects; the film’s star, too. And of course, the director was in the middle of it all.
“I’ve been in the entertainment business since I was nine years old,” said Israel Marquez, director. “I did some BMX; played music; danced, too. So, filmmaking is just a natural avenue for me.”
Marquez, from Dallas, is shooting his short film, “Runaway Angel” at locations in and around Sherman and Denison this month. The group at “Rock Star” was putting together the trailer for the film, which he hopes to introduce at the annual film festival SXSW. The Austin based festival is at the end of November.
“I’m still learning; I like the creative process,” said Marquez who has been directing since 2005. “I write all my scripts; I’m the editor; I compose the music; I take it from womb to birth. I love the process.”
Marquez had a hit with “Halley’s Angel” in 2010; it won several awards and put him on the map, so to speak. He added that his work is ‘musically driven.’
That admission explains “Runaway Angel.”
“I was playing some ‘Stevie Ray Vaughn’ and an idea popped into my head,” recalled Marquez. “What if a blues musician was addicted to heroin; and on one of her trips, the ghost of SRV visited to help get her back on track?”
“If this comes out like I want it, this film will be bigger than my other two; I really like this story idea,” he continued. “It’s more complex; I thought out the dialogue as I continued to play. It was hard to corral. It was challenging to put into words.”
With only a few bytes of digital space shot for the trailer, Marquez believes he is on the right track.
“So far, it’s going good,” he said. “We are working well together and after about two weeks of shooting, it will be done. We’ll shoot some more here (Rock Star) and in a loft. Also, in a farm house and in downtown Denison; we also hope to shoot something at the Carpenter’s Bluff Bridge. It looks great for a movie shot.”
The main character in the film is played by Hollee McMurray, a young actress from Dallas. She has been acting for two years and feels that “Runaway Angel” is the most challenging role she has had.
“It’s very different; it’s a lot more complex,” said McMurray shortly after the trailer was filmed. “But I’m glad, so I won’t be type-cast.”
McMurray was in another independent film, “Tensil,” and on some episodes of the new “Dallas” series, which is filmed in Dallas. She is looking forward to the next three weeks as she gets to delve into her heroin addicted blues musician persona.
“I like her vulnerability; she is complex but strong,” explained McMurray. “It’s something I can relate to. Today, all I’ve done is stand, walk and play guitar; it has gone well. I’ll get to freak out in the drug scene next time. This is something I’ve never played before.”
McMurray said the role has already put ‘a lot of things in perspective’ for her.
“The music (blues) is something you feel; it’s something you are,” she said. “The music and the guitar are very important in this film.”
McMurray admitted that she’s never played guitar before, but is having fun learning the basics in order to play the part of ‘Angel.’ It is part of the profession she loves now.
“It’s so much fun; I get to pretend and get paid!” she smiled. “I love acting and bringing something special to life.”
According to Marquez, he is pleased with the progress of McMurray and the film in general. He wrote the script and the music simultaneously in about two weeks. It is all on computer and ready to go, he added. Now, the two or three weeks of filming; and then on to the editing process.
“I have to ‘feel it’ and I do on this project,” he noted. “Timing is everything and it is all
Susan Hamilton, a local woman, is producing the short film. She also procured all the filming locations for Marquez. He is appreciative of her efforts, even though he only recently met her through Facebook.
“We talked about the story and she got all the locations in two days,” he said. “I was amazed. In Dallas, this would not have happened.”
“I loved the idea of this film,” said Hamilton. “There she is; and turns around to see Stevie Ray Vaughn, her mentor! That is cool! It’s a very interesting idea.”
Hamilton relayed some of the scenes in the trailer that the group had just finished shooting.
“Hollee was in tears, she was playing the guitar; it was great,” said Hamilton. “The scenes at Rock Star were great! Kim Oliver, the owner, has been wonderful. She has helped us so much. More people need to find out about this place.”
Marquez was equally impressed with not only Rock Star, but all the locations that the crew will use. He also likes the ‘small town’ feel of Sherman/Denison.
“This whole area is beautiful; it’s got a special feel,” he said. “It’s vibrant; it’s got flavor. It has all come together; it’s got the character of a small town with big ideas.”
Marquez plans to finish “Runaway Angel” this month; then do a documentary in November and another short film in December. A full-length feature film is set for March as well. All to be done or partly done in the Sherman/Denison area, he added.