By Tara Bennett
“Each episode we take on a new piece of Louisiana folklore or urban legend or ghost story and throw our own characters in the mix.”
Local indie film company Hedges Pictures is offering the opportunity to view the final episodes of their web miniseries “Requiems” at the Theatre Baton Rouge (TBR) before the episodes go live on YouTube. If you missed out on the premiere, there’s enough time to catch up and then view the final three episodes on Friday, November 14, at 7 p.m., in the Studio Theater at TBR.
The six-episode YouTube project features over 50 local actors and is centered on the folklore and urban legends of Louisiana. Each episode tells an independent story, but according to series creator and Hedges Pictures founder Travis Williams, if you watch all six together, they form one unit.
“It’s sort of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest meets the X-Files set in Louisiana,” said Williams. “They tell one story over time. Each episode we take on a new piece of Louisiana folklore or urban legend or ghost story and throw our own characters in the mix.”
The story centers on Danielle, a young woman who discovers she is in a mental hospital for victims of supernatural occurrences. In each episode, Danielle uses her special ability to look into the memories of the members of the asylum, whom appear to be keeping hidden agendas. As Danielle discovers how everyone arrived to the mysterious asylum, including herself, the episodes feature stories inspired by Louisiana folklore including the Highland Road Civil War soldiers, Marie Laveau and the Cajun Loup Garou.
“Living in Louisiana, growing up in Louisiana, you can’t help but hear some of these things and it’s so much a part of the culture” said Williams. “It just seemed like a natural thing to do.”
Williams has been doing indie films in Baton Rouge for almost 15 years, starting in the beginning in his back yard with a group of friends and a video camera, and has since created much more complex work. Along with film making, Williams has experience working with the Red Stick Animation Festival, Theatre of Baton Rouge and the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre. According to Williams, “Requiems” has been 10 years in the making, and would be a new challenge for the group to collaborate on something on a much grander scale.
“The idea has been in my head for a decade now,” said Williams. “We finally decided the timing was right, we had the resources and the people we needed to make it happen.”
The timing was right, but according to Williams it was still not an easy task. Along with raising funds for the film via Indiegogo, Williams filmed all six episodes back to back over the summer when his cast and crew had greater availability.
“The goal was a year ago, to make it in time for Halloween this year,” said Williams.
Williams directed episodes one, three and six of the series with guest directors Anthony Pierre directing episode two; Tyler Grezaffi, episode four; and Kurt Hauschild, episode five. Along with the directors, other key crew members included director of photography, Jesse Seidule, who also composed original music scores with J. Lamm and Crystal Brown as the costume designer. A number of Baton Rouge-based actors are featured in the series, including Devin Williams, Kenneth Mayfield, Jenny Ballard, Rachel Theriot, Mike Katchmer, Yvette Bourgeois and Bill Martin.
“So many people came in and brought their own talent,” said Williams. “They’re great.”
Tickets for the premiere are $5 and the proceeds will go towards the 10/31 Consortium, which supports the Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, and the Big Buddy Program.
Three installments of the web series have been released with a new episode premiering every Friday. The next three episodes are scheduled to debut on Nov. 14, 21 and 28 after the premiere at TBR. The films are intended for a mature audience.