Producers go to well of local talent in filming thriller

February 26, 1993|By Casi Clocker | Casi Clocker,Contributing Writer

A drug dealer, a few black leather-clad punks and a cocaine addict were among the clientele at Henry and Jeff's bar on North Charles Street last Saturday morning. No, the bar hasn't changed its establishment from yuppy to seedy. Instead, it had become the site of Baltimore's latest film venture.

The cast and crew of "Reflections of Evil," a Twilight Zone-like thriller, have spent the past couple of weekends at various Baltimore spots shooting a trailer for the film, a 10-minute segment that will be sent to film distributors and festivals to raise money for the full-length movie. The film's producers, Vash Klein of Bethesda and Laureen-Benson Hall of Baltimore, expect to raise the $1 million needed to produce the film within a year.

"There is a lot of top talent in the area investing in each other," said Jay Schlossberg-Cohen, director of the Maryland Film Commission. "[Filmmaking] is a global industry now and you don't have to be in L.A.," he said, citing other area producers such as Barry Levinson and John Waters.

"Reflections of Evil" was written by Ms. Benson-Hall, who is also the film's director, and is described as a mystery thriller about a television evangelist, a drug dealer and a society woman, and how they destroy each other's lives.

"I had wanted to get into directing for quite some time but, being relatively unknown, I knew no one would give me their script to direct," said Ms. Benson-Hall, who owns Laureen Benson-Hall Productions, Inc. in Baltimore.

Inspired by the Jean Paul Sartre story "No Exit," Ms. Benson-Hall wrote the screenplay in what she calls a "non-stop adrenalin flow."

"In my story, hell is a starting and stopping place, and each person's story is a puzzle piece."

Ms. Benson-Hall's credits include local theater directing, as well as acting appearances in features films such as "The Accidental Tourist" and "Her Alibi."

Vash Klein, owner of Vash Klein Productions Inc. in Bethesda, is the co-producer. She has won numerous awards, including a Cine Golden Eagle and a Blue Ribbon from the American Film and Video Festival.

"The independent film movement is exploding all over this country. It's clearly in the Washington-metropolitan area," Ms. Klein said.

The film stars Cynthia Rothrock, a Pennsylvania native who, as a karate champion/actress, has starred in 22 films in seven years and has become well-known in Asia and Europe as an action-adventure star.

One of last Saturday's segmentsz featured a Baltimore actress new to the industry. Zite Suarez-Jones plays the film's only good character.

Barry Price, also of Baltimore, whoplays drug dealer Johnny Alonzo. began acting in 1982 after discovering accounting wasn't for him.

Other Maryland talent involved in the production of the film's trailer includes Reggie Daniels of Piper Productions as director of photography and Emmy award-winning Terry Halle as editor.


Extras are needed Sunday for "Reflections of Evil." The crew will be shooting a "TV evangelist revival scene" at 9 a.m. at UMBC's Fine Arts Building. Interested individuals are asked to take a lunch and wear conservative church clothing.

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