Gen Con Indy is one of the largest sci-fi / fantasy gaming cons in Indianapolis. Known as “The Best Four Days of Gaming”, it has become an annual event where fans come to celebrate all things science fiction and fantasy, and has added, among other programming, its own film festival.
Demetrius Witherspoon screened two segments of Submerge: Ni’Re Reborn on Saturday, August 6, at 4 p.m.in the Westin Grand Ballroom III. Demetrius is no stranger to Gen Con, and he came ready to make a memorable impression this year. Members of the cast, in full costume, joined him (Shonna Bedford as “Lyte”, Erin A. Moore as “Ni’re”, Grace Carlton as “Liz”, Amy Thompson as “Lt. Nova” and Bryant Rue, who will play “Mac” in the Submerge feature slated to start filming in 2017). Makeup artists Sonja Rohn and David Schlatter made sure the crowds saw the characters in all their authentic splendor.
“We took advantage of the weekend,” said Demetrius. “I had a chance to screen films and meet filmmakers from all over the world. I particularly enjoyed a sci-fi comedy out of Austria called This Giant Paper Mache Boulder is Actually Really Heavy, directed by Christian Nicolson.” Over the weekend, over 120 films were screened at the festival.
Demetrius estimates that about 35-40 people showed up for the screening, an overall solid turnout, given all the events at Gen Con. “The Q and A afterwards was terrific; the audience was engaged and really into the film. We also showed the trailer for Submege: Echo 51 (Click here to see it yourself.). Members of the audience said they could see the progress and they couldn’t wait to see what was next. They appreciated how the films explain themselves and build on to the larger ideas as they go along.”
Submerge: Echo 51 star Shonna Bedford flew in from Orlando to be at Gen Con. “Shonna hadn’t really been a part of anything like this, and Gen Con is a big event to start with. She brought a lot of energy. The crowd responded to that energy and to seeing our characters in full costume. People took all sorts of pictures, and as the writer-director, witnessing it all, it was quite humbling,” The cast and crew participated in a couple of podcast interviews, including “Gaming with Scott”, which has already gone live.
And the excitement didn’t stop at the convention center. “We stopped at a local restaurant for dinner, and the customers and servers all stopped what they were doing to find out what we were about, and we had a crowd around us wanting autographs and pictures. It was mind-blowing. There was a family at the table behind us, an extended family, from little kids to grandparents. The youngest daughter was ecstatic. Her mother brought her over to get autographs and we gave her a poster. She was still awed by the whole thing when she left.”
The crowd response to a sci-fi film being shot in Indianapolis was incredibly supportive. “The family was so giddy about sitting next to us. They were excited about what we were doing and asked all sorts of questions about the film. The grandmother (who I’m told was 90 years old but she didn’t look it) passed me a note that said how great it was to meet us, and they put their phone numbers on the note, and offered to be extras in the movie. It was overwhelming to get this sort of celebrity treatment. It pulled at my heartstrings.”
Demetrius and the crew are preparing to go deep into production in the next weeks, building sets and costumes and preparing to push Submerge: Echo 51 forward. There are no public appearances planned for the next couple of months (but you will hear about them here first).
In the meantime, get ready for a series of interviews and behind the scenes blogs covering everything about the production, starting with an interview series Q and A with Demetrius Witherspoon himself! We’ll post that over the next few days.
Blog content created by R.J. Sullivan, supervised by Demetrius Witherspoon.