Along the North Coast and in the Portland Metro area for 18 days, filmmakers captured the flavor of the coast. The marquee reads “Seaside,” the movie, which debuts Aug. 20 and will be shown at 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, at the Times Theater & Public House in Seaside.
Oregon native Sam Zalutsky directed the Gravitas Ventures production, starring Ariana DeBose, Sharon Washington, Matt Shingledecker, and Steffanie Leigh in a revenge thriller that explore the tension between people’s surface behavior and the conflicting thoughts and impulses bubbling up inside us all.
“The movie takes its inspiration from the Seaside area, which is very dear to me,” Zalutsky said.
The film shoot lasted 18 days, including three days in and around Portland, on the coast — including Manzanita, Arch Cape and Hug Point — and Seaside.
“It was so great to shoot in this area, not only for the incredible natural beauty, but also for the welcoming reception we got from everyone,” he said. “Everyone was so supportive. Half the people we talked to were artists themselves. It was so fun.”
The story follows Daphne (DeBose), who moves in with her boyfriend, Roger (Shingledecker), when he inherits his childhood beach house.
The two decide to start a family and a new life, but when they run into a local woman who works at the arcade, Daphne realizes Roger hasn’t been completely honest about his romantic past.
Now Daphne must risk everything to fight for her relationship, and her life.
Zalutsky said he had “so much fun” making “Seaside.”
“I hadn’t made a movie in Oregon before, so it was just incredible to be able to do that in my home state with friends and family around,” he said. “My dad came to the set one day to watch, which he hadn’t done before, so that meant a lot to me.”
Zalutsky credited his “fantastic crew” of producer Alyssa Roehrenbeck; cinematographer Phil Anderson; sound designer Quentin Chiappetta; and editors Maeve O’Boyle and Jordan Montminy. Jordan Beswick and Simon Max Hill cast the film; the music is by Megan Diana McGeorge
“We had great support from Tim Williams at the Oregon Film Commission,” Zalutsky added.
Family members donated houses in Arch Cape, including his own family’s home. “You couldn’t ask for a more gorgeous place to film.”
He said it was a thrill to shoot in one of his favorite childhood locations, Funland! in downtown Seaside.
“They were so welcoming and nice,” Zalutsky recalled. “We shot on the beach. We shot in the Seaside police station. It was amazing! We would never have the money to shoot in these places in New York. It just wouldn’t have been possible.”
Zalutsky relayed that for a couple of scenes, including the most dramatic ones, they shot in a large cave at Hug Point.
“I wrote the script with that cave in mind, but then didn’t even think that a cave on the coast might have complications from the tides,” he said. “So we had to schedule those scenes really carefully, haul a bunch of lights and other equipment from the parking lot to the cave, and make sure we did it all within the few hours we had before high tide.”
While the scenes “look amazing,” he doubts he will ever shoot in a “tide-dependent” cave again.
“Seaside” was a “micro budget film,” he said.
“We raised a portion of the budget from a small group of investors, my husband and I put in some money, we got a lot of in kind donations from vendors in Portland and the Coast, a lot of donated locations, and we also did a Kickstarter campaign to finish the movie.”
Zalutsky is proud of his cast and crew’s accomplishments outside of his film. Ariana DeBose is currently shooting the role of Anita in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story,” and was an original cast member on Broadway in “Hamilton.” Steffanie Leigh is from Talent, Oregon, and played the most recent Mary Poppins on Broadway.
The score was created by Megan Diana McGeorge, a Portland musician who created the “Piano, Push, Play” series in PDX.
“Seaside” is getting a digital release from Gravitas Ventures; you can check it out at iTunes, bit.ly/seasidethemovie