Cindy Shane must team up with a pizza boy, a space alien, a comic book saleswoman and a talking TV set in order to defeat an evil police chief, his human-controlling nano-robots and the legendary Big Foot in “Death Blood 4: Revenge of the Killer Nano-Robotic Blood Virus,” the fourth installment of the fictitious Death Blood franchise.
If that seems campy, it is because the movie was designed to be just that.
“To create ‘Death Blood’ specifically, the process involved watching tons of b-movies and bad horror sequels that we enjoyed and then just sort of borrowing from all of them,” said Chris De Pretis, a Livermore resident and corporate video producer. “Additionally, my wife Alejandra and I would walk the streets of downtown Pleasanton and take inspiration from the old architecture, the smell of the food from the restaurants and the neon lights … then we’d get home, and I’d write what we saw into the script. The cinematographer, Darwin Clark (who was raised in Pleasanton) and I would look at a street corner and say, ‘That looks amazing, how can we work it into a story about Big Foot and aliens and nano-robots?’”
The movie takes place in Pleasanton but was filmed in numerous well-known locations across the Tri-Valley and Alameda County.
“Most of the scenes were shot at iconic locations, like the Meadowlark Dairy, the Main St. Gas Station, King Kong Comics and Games, Inklings Coffee and Tea, DePretis CPAs, and Lions Wayside Park,” De Pretis said. “We also filmed in Livermore on First Street and at Terra Mia Italian Restaurant and at Giraffe Space Studios. In Dublin, we filmed at Earl Anthony’s Bowl and Evie’s Bar. And in Oakland, we filmed at the Video Room.”
De Pretis first found his love of film in high school, and the community has had his back ever since.
“I took my first video production class at Amador Valley High in 2003 and have never looked back,” he said. “After I got out of the Army, I attended film school in LA – at Cal State Northridge – and have enjoyed working professionally in video production since 2009. We got this whole film shot for about $3,100, which really means that the community came together to offer their time, talent and locations to us for free.”
According to De Pretis, all of the shooting locations allowed them to film without charge.
“All of our actors and crew, who include many Bay Area professionals, worked without financial compensation,” he said. “We had people loaning us clothes to use as wardrobe, items to use as props, even vehicles to use as picture cars. We couldn’t have made this movie without the generosity shown by our neighbors.”
Filming movies can have considerable costs, making it hard for independent filmmakers to leave their mark on the industry. De Pretis encourages people to seek out and support these cinephiles in their own communities.
“Shooting a film should cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (and more often millions). And that makes the barrier to entry difficult,” he said. “Sometimes, it seems that if you can’t raise that kind of cash, you don’t get to play. Restaurant, bar and home owners who allow us to film for free show a ton of support. The same can be said for anyone who donates time and talent to the production. When you support indie filmmakers, you are going to see cool localized content. Big budget, mainstream Hollywood films are going to show you LA and New York, but it’s the indie folks who’ll explore life in smaller markets like Pleasanton and Livermore. You’re also giving newcomers a shot at learning the process and breaking into the industry.”
De Pretis and the cast and crew had their private premiere at The Vine Cinema in the fall of last year. The film is now available to stream on Prime Video for the whole country. To watch, visit https://amzn.to/3445eDs.