Wednesday, December 16, 2020

'Confession' Hits Amazon Prime with Local Talent and Scenery

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2020 at 7:16 PM

The Humboldt-Del Norte Film Commission has good news for those of us who've burned through our streaming queues: Humboldt artist and author Daniel Niyiri's thriller Confession is now available to stream on Amazon Prime. The drama centers on a forensic psychiatrist's evaluation of a captured murderer who claims to be a demon. Check out the preview below for a sample of the spooky film.

click to enlarge Gary C. Stillman as Det. Jared Lamb and Gavin Lyall as suspect Dean McCallum. - CONFESSION
  • Confession
  • Gary C. Stillman as Det. Jared Lamb and Gavin Lyall as suspect Dean McCallum.

Nyiri is joined on the project by cinematographer Matt St. Charles, whose commercial work for Wildberries Market, Sole Savers and the Minor Theater you've likely seen. The movie is edited by Humboldt State University grad Cole Saxton, whose resume includes feature films, documentaries, music videos and television ads.




While Humboldt is disguised as a metropolitan city through some scrappy movie magic, you may recognize some familiar faces in both starring and supporting roles, including Charlie Heinberg, Gary C. Stillman, Queena DeLany, Gavin Lyall, Jo Kuzelka, Gary Sommers, James Hitchcock and Bailey Barnick. In the mix with our hometown talent is Tony-nominated actress Cynthia Martells (Nurse Betty, Gattaca, Regarding Henry).

click to enlarge Queena DeLany as Det. Reina Herrera and Gary C. Stillman as Det. Jared Lamb. - CONFESSION
  • Confession
  • Queena DeLany as Det. Reina Herrera and Gary C. Stillman as Det. Jared Lamb.

While the commission's press release says the sets are mostly fabricated by Nyiri, whose extensive set design experience includes work at Redwood Curtain Theatre and Ferndale Repertory Theatre, some of the props were loaned by those theaters, as well as North Coast Repertory Theatre.

click to enlarge Cynthia Martells as Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Waverly. - CONFESSION
  • Confession
  • Cynthia Martells as Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Waverly.

Read the full release here:

Another locally filmed movie just became available on Amazon Prime Video for streaming. “Confession” was written, directed, and produced by local artist and author Daniel Nyiri. While filmed entirely in Humboldt, the movie was made to suggest a much larger metropolitan area. Almost the entire cast and crew was comprised of local residents, many of whom were new to the filmmaking process. Notable locals include Cinematographer Matt St. Charles, whose work is recognizable for his numerous commercials for Wildberries Market, Sole Savers, and the Minor Theater, and Editor Cole Saxton, who received his BA in Film from Humboldt State University and has worked extensively editing three features, documentaries, music videos and numerous TV advertisements as well.

The film is an intelligent thriller with deep metaphysical themes. After a gruesome multiple murder, Dean McCallum, a seemingly good and decent man, walks into a cafe covered in blood. Brought in for questioning by detectives Jared Lamb and Reina Herrera, who begin a series of interrogations to determine if McCallum is a psychopath, serial killer or suffering from multiple personalities. He is further evaluated by Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Waverly, which proves to be an unsettling and disturbing experience for her. McCallum's increasingly bizarre and disquieting comments, his paranormal awareness of things unknowable to him, and unexplainable peripheral occurrences, suggest there may be otherworldly influences. Now they must determine if McCallum could be possessed by demons, be the Devil himself, or if there is something even more shocking to consider. Once the truth is revealed, everything they believe in will be questioned and the foundations of their very reality will be shaken.

Nyiri believed that he could maximize the limited local resources available to make a movie that would provide the kind of challenging subject matter and fearlessness major studios are hesitant to tackle. Far more ambitious than your usual “Cabin in the Woods” approach to a low budget first feature, “Confession” required over 60 distinct locations and had 28 speaking parts. Unbelievably for the budget, the majority of the settings were built completely from scratch or heavily modified, so that Nyiri could maintain maximum control over the various visual elements. For example, one single location became three different apartments in the film by adding and removing windows and walls, while large sections of the film’s police station were actually constructed in an empty basement facility. This could be accomplished on the highly restrictive budget because of Nyiri’s expertise as a scenic designer with over 150 productions to his credit; including 15 shows for Redwood Curtain Theater and 9 shows for

Ferndale Repertory Theater. Those theaters, along with NCRT, received special thanks in the closing credits because of additional set materials loaned to the film, use of their spaces for the original auditions, and the hosting of the cast and crew private screening. All of it evidences of the connection between the local theater community and the filmmakers.

Attentive viewers will note many unfamiliar high-rise buildings appearing in shots, alongside the humbler ones they are used to seeing around Eureka and McKinleyville. For one montage, a whole series of religious structures were fabricated. All of these efforts were to give the impression of a much larger, more metropolitan setting. Matte paintings and miniatures were also used to give the locations more scale. Everything attests to the objective of creatingf a film which defies expectations as to what can be accomplished on a limited budget. Nyiri has said, “Too often individuals settle for what is easiest.

This film shows what you can achieve, if compromise is not your instinctive first choice, and you have a few people willing to put in the extra effort to go the distance.”

Many local actors were cast, including Gary C. Stillman, Queena DeLany, Gavin Lyall, Charlie Heinberg (who portrays serial killer Holden Parks), Jo Kuzelka (as Heather Kadar), Gary Sommers (as the Coroner) and James Hitchcock (as the Medical Examiner), as well as up and coming talents like Bailey Barnick, who plays the key supporting role of Casey Emerson). The production was fortunate to attract the participation of Tony-nominated actress Cynthia Martells, who played the difficult role of Dr. Waverly. In addition to her role in August Wilson’s Broadway production of “Two Trains Running” (for which she was nominated as Best Actress in a Featured Role for the 1992 Tony Award) she has appeared in “Nurse Betty,” “Gattaca,” and “Regarding Henry” among her 38 film and television credits.

“Confession” has a runtime of 1 hr and 58 min and is unrated. It currently has a rating of 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon Prime Video. Streaming is free for Prime members, $2.99 to rent, and $9.99 to purchase.

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Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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Jennifer Fumiko Cahill is the arts and features editor of the North Coast Journal.

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