The film stars Julianna Robinson as the titular character Sister Gracie Rose and William McNamara whose previous works include “Stealing Home” with Jodie Foster and “Copycat” with Sigourney Weaver and Harry Connick, Jr.
“Nun” follows a troubled Sister Rose as she attempts to confront her past by visiting a former romantic interest in a distant city. Along her travels she stops in a rural town to retrieve an item from a storage facility, eventually finding herself trapped in the building and forced to face her inner demons.
The primary filming location was Union County, Kentucky, birthplace of the film’s director and Dossett Farms LLC founder Chad Dossett. “The process began several years ago, principal photography primarily occurring in the Union County area before our cast and crew returned to LA to finish things off,” Dossett says in an interview with a local Kentucky newspaper. “All told it took roughly 2 years to shoot, then another year plus to edit.”
Dossett and Infocus Entertainment LLC founder Chuck Cuellar admit that while their production time frame was long, it’s not uncommon in the world of independent film. Dossett says, “Big studios have the resources to quickly churn out blockbuster after blockbuster, they could have put out a small film like this in a fraction of the time it took us.”
Upon completion, Dossett and Cuellar took their film around the festival circuit, including a world premiere screening at the 2017 Hoboken International Film Festival where the project placed in the top 5 out of more than 1500 submissions.
Cuellar shares, “Film festivals really are the primary method for projects of our size to get any attention and have any chance of finding distribution. So while it can be a grind, unless you become a viral hit or know a guy, it’s the way the business works.”
Eventually the film caught the attention of Porter Pictures who signed on as a sales representative. In September 2018 the film was released to U.S. digital platforms by Cinema Epoch.
While Cuellar and Dossett found a distribution partner, they were informed that the marketing for their film would have to be modified to make it more attractive to available channels.
Dossett shares, “Part of that process was changing the title of the film from ‘Gas Light’ to ‘Nun’, then learning that the distribution company had chosen a horror based approach for the poster.”
This approach hasn’t come without negative repercussions. Because the new title and poster art was so similar to another film “The Nun”, the latest installment of The Conjuring series, directed by Corin Hardy and currently in theaters, the customer reviews of “Nun” have been polarizing. Many reviewers shared their confusion and anger, expecting to watch Hardy’s “The Nun” only to see Dossett’s “Nun” appear on their screen.
Dossett explains, “Compromise is often necessary in order to get your project to see the light of day. Unfortunately, there can be some backlash from those decisions as we’re experiencing now. Ours is more of a psychological thriller than a gore-horror thing. The hope is that after it has its run within this current marketplace we can switch our promotional tactics to appeal more to the art house crowd for which the movie was always intended. A big part of that is changing the artwork to more appropriately reflect the content of the movie.”
Yet even with the negative feedback, the duo are optimistic. Cuellar shares, “Most of the comments are about the marketing, but there are others that have spoken to the film itself and have been very complimentary, which tells us we do have an audience. We see this as a significant learning moment in our careers as producers and filmmakers and look forward to putting this knowledge to work in our next project.”
Dossett and Cuellar have already teamed up with Porter Pictures for their next film project, a drama set in the world of mixed martial arts titled “Wolfpack”.
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