Some of Houston’s most celebrated local filmmakers are having a party this weekend, and they’re inviting Houstonians to join in as extras to complement their already local-heavy cast.
Life Insurance Lottery is the latest film from Courtney Sandifer (More Than Human, Haunted Trailer) and Chuck Norfolk (Conjoined, Jacob). It’s the story of man down on his luck (Tom Long) who turns suicidal. Instead of killing himself, he stumbles into a get-rich-quick scheme involving a group that makes its members designate others in the group as beneficiaries of life insurance policies. Things turn bloody pretty quick.
“It’s a thriller/black comedy. It’s a Chuck Norfolk movie,” says Sandifer, laughing.
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Sandifer, Norfolk and the rest of the crew are hoping to include as much local Houston presence in the film as possible. All through Memorial Day weekend 2018 they will be filming party scenes with open invitations for anyone to join in the festivities and possibly end up in the final cut of the film itself. Extras will be part of the titular club, which meets throughout the year. There are Halloween scenes on Saturday, and a pool party scene on Sunday. People interested in participating can find information by going to an online application.
It’s not just spear-carriers and the producers that are keeping Life Insurance Lottery a local showcase. In addition to Long, who has a, well, long list of credits when it comes to Houston film productions, there are plenty of other luminaries. Norfolk’s partner on Conjoined, Joe Grisaffi, is cast in the film. It also features some of the city’s stage actors stepping into the screen, such as Chaney Moore, who starred as Mary in Main Street Theater’s recent Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. Stand-up comedian and voice actor Rob Mungle is another member of the ensemble. All in all, the film hosts a nice collection of H-Town’s acting scene.
Though Sandifer and Norfolk have had luck with conventional film distribution before, they’ll be opting to self-distribute Life Insurance Lottery when it is completed. Their experiences with self-distribution of other films, such as Conjoined, show that there are significantly more opportunities for the entrepreneurial filmmaker than there were even five years ago.
“We’ve watched how well the last few movies have done,” says Sandifer. “The distribution looks good for us on the outside, but it hasn’t been the best experience. With our audience and conventions and the way you can access online platforms we feel better doing this ourselves.”