It is a fascinating experience to arrive on a set of a film in production. Many believe that observing the making of a motion picture often takes away from the experience of watching the completed product after it is released. This xystwhat.com has the opposite point of view based on past observations of films in production and the latest visit to the set of The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story. The invitation was given by co-executive producer, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, producer, Mark Gantt and director, Brianne Davis.
The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story is not a traditional sequel to The Night Visitor but can be viewed as a companion piece to the first film. Many of the same actors that were in the first film reprise their roles in this film which essentially tells the tale of Heather(Caitlin Carmichael) who is gifted with an ability that connects her with others who may have a connection with the hinted upon beings that were established in the first film. Are these beings interacting with these gifted children and what is their agenda? Those are the questions that were raised in the first film and will be explored in what is planned to be an ambitious serious of stories that will be told over the span of film movies.
If the filmmakers of this second in a series of four films wished for privacy and seclusion, they found exactly that with the private home they had secured within the Los Angeles hills. Driving to the location proved to be a sometimes harrowing, yet exhilarating journey as the roads often became one lane roads overlooking the scenic Los Angeles foliage that often reminded this columnist of pathways you would not wish to find yourself in a slasher film of the 80’s! Imagination notwithstanding, I was warmly greeted by producer and star, Mark Gantt whom I had met at the screening of the first film in San Francisco, California late in 2013. I was then reunited with co-executive producer and star, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn and director and star, Brianne Davis. I was given a generous amount of freedom to wander the set and converse with the principals that were present which also included well known psychic and actor, Chip Coffey and the remarkable young actress, Caitlin Carmichael.
The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story will be the directorial debut of actress and now director, Brianne Davis. When this xystwhat.com had spoken to her at the premiere of The Night Visitor, she had revealed that she would be taking over directorial duties for the second part of the film series. Davis joins the likes of past actors such as Clint Eastwood, Ben Affleck, Sydney Pollack and The Night Visitor’s own Jennifer Blanc-Biehn in deciding to further creative visions by becoming directors. All notions of whether or not she was up to the task vanished as I observed her in action as she continued to demonstrate an impressive ability to elicit fine performances from Caitlin Carmichael, Chip Coffey and Mark Gantt. It is the subject of this transformation that will be featured in an upcoming interview with Brianne Davis in this column in the future.
Budgets will inevitably be a source of concern for film productions and it is more apparent on low to modestly budgeted movies like this one. Although it will inevitably create restrictions on what can be created and filmed for a movie, this issue can also unleash provocative cleverness as that which was demonstrated by Jennifer Blanc-Biehn’s directorial decisions that created an unnerving ambiance of quiet dread in the first film. It was also demonstrated by the amazing cinematographer, Justin Janowitz whose amazing energy and eye for the most intriguing angles will most surely add to what appeared to be a uniquely different visual look that this film will have from the first one in terms of outdoor locations and film atmosphere.
Wandering around on the residential location that doubled as the home of the main protagonists played by Jennifer Blanc-Biehn and Mark Gantt, the common denominator that linked the crew of this film was the professionalism and wonderful sense of mutual respect. There was a determined effort to give Brianne Davis everything she wished for within the budget of the film and that was a testament to the fact that she created a set that celebrated the contributions of those in front and behind the camera. It was literally one of the most cheerful productions that I have been fortunate to witness and document. It proved that if you treat those that work for you well, they will return that with a genuine loyalty and a fervent work ethic beyond the call of duty.
One of the most pleasant discoveries during my stay on the set of film was that of the young actress, Caitlin Carmichael. At the ripe old age of nine, this actress has accumulated more I.M.D.B. credits than most actors three times her age. Amazingly intelligent and wonderfully charming, Caitlin demonstrated serious gravitas with her performance as Heather. An interview with the engaging young actress will appear in this column in the future.
A finished film can be compared to that of a finished puzzle in that every piece needs to be placed in its appropriate space and if you are missing just one then your picture will not be complete. The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story is part of the proposed four part film series, but it also represents the growing film making empire that is known as Blanc/Biehn Productions. The company is headed by famed actor, Michael Biehn and his equally famed and adored wife, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn. They currently have an ambitious slate of films that they will make throughout the year and the output inevitably will increase. A detailed interview article with the tireless, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn will appear discussing the state of Blanc/Biehn Productions and so much more will also appear in a future article in this column.
The Night Visitor: Heather’s Story 2 appears to be an indication of the type of productions that the Blanc/Biehn Productions empire will specialize in releasing. Assembling a qualified, talented and hungry crew to mount these productions will almost certainly guarantee a finished film that is entertaining and turn a profit. It must also be stated that Blanc/Biehn Productions is giving opportunities to talented individuals like Brianne Davis so that all concerned can achieve a unified goal of releasing films that the public will want to see. It is rare in an industry that many times values the bottom line and not the artists that helps them achieve that line. One can only hope that the Blanc/Biehn Productions template is an indication of where the industry might be headed!