Portland writer/ director Todd Freeman has announced that the world premiere of his latest feature film, Cell Count won’t be in Portland… or in the United States at all. Instead, Cell Count is set to premiere as the closing film of the largest fantasy film festival in South America: Brazil’s Fantaspoa Festival in Porto Allegre.
“We are so excited to have our World Premiere at the Fantaspoa Film Festival,” Freeman says. “Our intent from day one was always to make a film for enthusiasts of the Sci-Fi and Horror genre. It’s going to be a blast to see it in a theater full of genre fans for the first time… as well as subtitled in Portuguese!”
“The aura of involvement that Cell Count creates for the viewer is quite unique and its story is very well crafted,” Fantaspoa Festival directors Joao Fleck and Nicolas Tonsho write. “Cell Count is a film that has a strong potential to please a large audience. Those seeking for pure entertainment shall have their fix; however, those looking for a film to reflect upon will also be satisfied watching it. All in all, the suspense, the twists and its powerful visual allied with the simple story of a man who’s looking for the best for his wife, makes it unique.”
Freeman says the inspiration for his film came from an incident with his mother eight years ago. “My mom fell to the ground at a grocery store one day… she had gone unconscious. The ambulance rushed her to the hospital. She was told that a tumor had just exploded in her abdomen meaning that cancer had most likely spread all throughout her body. They operated immediately and suctioned as much of the disease that had exploded throughout her insides. I thought to myself during this time not only how much I loved her but also how I would do anything to save her life. So at that moment I came up with the main notion of Cell Count: what or who would you sacrifice for a cure to save the one you love?”
Cell Count is the third of three feature films Freeman and his brother, Co-Producer and Co-Cinematographer Jason Freeman, shot with Wooden Frame Productions in 2011. The other two films, Wake Before I Die and The Weather Outside, are expected to screen at festivals and be distributed worldwide in 2012.
“The main reason that any of this ever made it to the screen, and is as good as it is, is because of the partnership that my brother and I formed with Executive Producers Roger and Jen Wood,” Freeman says. “[We] have been making movies for 15 years now and have always been missing one huge and crucial step to filmmaking… business. Roger and Jen are both very successful business owners and operators and have brought a real sense of business integrity and smarts to our otherwise all creative process. Our movies are better because of them… and obviously we hope to make many more movies with them.”
The film, which utilized Oregon’s “indigenous” Oregon Production Investment Fund, utilized over 50 Oregon residents in cast and crew positions. “Our budget, almost entirely, was spent in the state of Oregon,” Freeman says. “From produce and supplies, to equipment rentals and sales, lodging, payroll, locations, and the list goes on and on.”
Freeman continues by saying “Oregon has diverse actors, locations, and crew abilities and without [the I-OPIF program] we would have to consider making movies in another state - and that is a truly horrendous thing to have to ponder. We are Oregon filmmakers… not filmmakers who happen to live in Oregon. We make our budgeted movies here and we contribute to the local economy through providing jobs as well as purchasing goods through all local merchants. We constantly have the conversation ‘Can we buy this locally instead of just ordering it online.’ This is our home and our workplace. We need to protect it and nurture it since we plan on doing this here for many years to come.”