Sam Qualiana, was one of last years winners of the Buffalo Screams Film Festival “Filmmakers to Watch Award” for his submission “No Road Out”, a crime drama. Sam has been very busy producing short films, for example “Swamp Squad of the Dead”, “Like Icarus, Quickly Falling”, “Toxic Hoppers” among many more.
Originally he had decided to remake one of his movies “Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Shark”as a short movie but found that when he announced it that the shark took on a life of its own. He was receiving interest from all over the internet and the project grew into a feature, which is currently in production. The cast include Jackey Hall, Bob Bozak , and Chris Wrobkewski. Special effects are being handled by anomaly effects and John Renna. The movie is a homage to the 1950’s giant monster movies and played out oh so seriously. Sam is the director, writer and co-starring in the production and clearly a very busy man. Between scenes and praying for enough snow for the outside scenes (there was just enough) we were able to get in an interview:
Could you explain how a 7 year old short snowballed into a current feature?
I was thinking about re-booting one of my old short films, now that I have much better equipment and more experience in film-making. I threw out the idea of doing Snow Shark again and it blew up overnight into such a huge excitement I figured I might as well write it into a feature.
How is writing a feature different than writing a short?
This is the 2nd feature I’ve written, but the first I began filming. It does give you the freedom to really expand a small idea into something that can develop much more back story and information than a short can.
What influences did you have putting together snow shark?
The original idea my best friend I grew up with (Elijah DiRaimondo) and I thought how scary would it be if you couldn’t escape from a shark even on the land! So we put together the idea of the first film and made it happen. Now that I had decided to re-boot it with all the support from other filmmakers and friends I felt really comfortable trying to tackle my first feature and knowing it would get finished.
What effects are being used in Snow Shark?
John Renna has build a giant shark and helped out in the gore department. Arick Szymecki and Andrew Lavin have been working on Shark Miniatures for other effects in the film. There will be some green screen shots and camera tricks to make those come to life.
Western New York is well known for its snow and for the fact it often disappears when companies come to film it, what has been your experiences with your movie?
Seeing as I came up with the idea of starting this project in January, I was asking for problems. We immediately started production and had to cancel shoots on some very important days. Surely enough Mother Nature favored us and we got everything we needed complete for exteriors in time though.
Any funny/interesting stories from filming?
The whole shoot has been a blast so far, even with the freezing cold snow pelting the cast and crew and the unbearable bitter wind. The worst thing you can imagine is the day somebody is going to be blasted with a blood cannon in the freezing snow. We always had it set up so the actor would be immediately dried off and rushed indoors… One actress unfortunately while laying in the snow was blasted in the face with blood when the cannon accidentally discharged and the camera wasn’t even rolling… needless to say the tension was very high on the set that day.
You are working with a varied acting base in this movie, how has it been?
It has been great, they all have been awesome! Some people have blown me away and even gotten bigger roles then they were supposed to. Jackey Hall flew in from out of state and has really been a huge support to the film.
Where should we be looking for updates?
If you use Facebook there is a page called “Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast”. you can follow progress on there. We are in the midst of creating an official website as well.
Any ideas on where Snow Shark will premiere?
Still unsure of that at the moment, but we are looking in to some theaters in Buffalo, NY.
What are your future plans?
In my spare time I am currently writing my 3rd feature script that is going to be something really fun, but top secret at the moment. After Snow Shark is finished hopefully I’ll get back on some other movie sets where I can relax a bit and just do some more acting. But I definitely plan do keep moving forward and directing some more films on the way. Then maybe once I’ve raised enough money I can finally film my first screenplay which has been something I have really wanted to bring to life for years now.
Just when you thought it was safe to go play in the snow we find out sharks are here as well as on the waters. This could be the start of something big. We hope they don’t jump the shark.