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Translated Article from magazine “Ecran Fantastique” in France.

CELL COUNT - di Lorenzo Ricciardi

What would you do if your loved ones were going to die? What would you do to save their lives? Would you be willing to undergo experimental treatments? The protagonists of Cell Count will find it out despite themselves… It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Cell Count is the first pure horror movie directed by the american Todd E. Freeman, a young director who writes, directs, photographes, edits and produces his movies (this is his fifth one and at the moment he’s filming a new one). The movie has been financed and produced by Wooden Frame Productions, a partnership between Todd and his brother Jason and the executive producers Roger and Jen Wood, utilizing the Indigenous Oregon Production Investment Fund: “I’ve always been a fan of horror, thriller, and sci-fi movies but I have always been afraid to tackle such an intimidating genre. Most of my favorite movies and filmmakers are in these genres and I never wanted to jump into it unless I had the right idea. I absolutely loved every facet of making a horror movie. It’s going to be hard to want to make any other type of movie ever again”, the director said.

Plot: Russell Carpenter attends to his wife, Sadie in hospital where she is terminally ill with a fatal disease that the state hospitals cannot cure. With Sadie only having weeks to live, Doctor Victor Brandt approaches Russell and offers Sadie a chance at surviving if both she and Russell embark on his experimental cure at a private clinic. Doctor Brandt having survived the same disease himself persuades Russell as he agrees to sign up for the programme. Three weeks later Russell wakes up in the facility which is built like a high tech prison. The patients are free to do as they please whilst the doctor watches their every move via the security cameras. Sadie and Russell, along with the a handful of other patients have small incisions where the ‘cure’ has been inserted into their body. Finding out that two murderers are also locked up in the facility with them, Sadie decides to enter the restricted zone to speak with them. Only after talking to one of the murderer’s does Sadie learn that all is not what it appears and after a series of gruesome incidents, she finally realises that the cure could be worse than the disease itself.

For years before actually setting out to shoot it, the director wanted to make a movie about people being test subjects for medical experimentation. Then five years ago the tragic event that sparked all: “My mother was out shopping when suddenly she passed out and fell to the ground. She was taken to the hospital and was immediately told that she had a tumor exploded in her abdomen which spread the disease throughout her body. Through the operation and subsequent chemotherapy I began wishing that I could do something, anything, to save her.  That’s where the idea was born. What would you do to save the one you love?  Who and what would you sacrifice to take their pain away? On a very important note: my mom is alive and well. She’s been cancer free for years and for that I am most thankful”, Todd Freeman said, “After my last movie, Wake before I die, I immediately started to work on this one. We got financing in a very unconventional way. I wrote the first 10 minutes of the movie and we shot it on our own. We then rented out a theater and took our dear friends and business partners and surprised them with the completed first 10 minutes of the movie.  Once the movie had the green light I then went to finish the screenplay. I would say I wrote different drafts of the movie over 3 years but the final draft was put together in about a 6-week period”.

Despite Todd Freeman has been inspired and influenced by two masterpieces, Alien and especially Carpenter’s The Thing, the movie recalls and homages somehow David Cronenberg, giving a twisted vision of science and its terrifying side, a sense of body horror, evident peculiarity of early Cronenberg. Though Cell Count is not so intricated and twisted and it doesn’t take itself too seriously, its purpose is to entertain, a fun movie that makes you squirm in your seat. But the theme he wanted to focus his attention on is quite serious: “Until this point in my career I have been coping with death and dealing with how to move on and stay strong after loved ones die. I know you could never guess that looking at my filmography, but it’s very much apparent that subconsciously I am trying to prepare myself for the death of everyone I love. It sounds very morbid, but it’s true. I think it is the most universal of all themes because everyone all over the world deals with this at some point in their life. How we deal with death ultimately determines how we live our life and I think that’s a very interesting subject”, Todd Freeman said.

The movie starts slow, the director tries to introduce the charaters and shows the difficulties they face in that strange situation. Just after 30 minutes it starts to put into gear. Much of the merit goes to the location, ‘the facility’, as it is called, not unlike an aseptic prison, techonologically advanced, with sterilized walls and monochromatic colors: “Most of the film was shot in the empty minimum-security correctional facility in North Portland, paid for by the taxpayers of Multnomah County. While the Wapato Facility has never housed a single inmate, it provided a plethora of amazing backdrops for all of the areas of Dr. Brandt’s secret research lab, including the control room, a space-age visitation room, holding cells with spooky door slots, and an industrial kitchen”, the director said, “Base camp for cast/crew was in a dormitory identical to the one where the film’s subjects are housed. The facility is as much of a character in the story as the humans (and whatever else) that inhabit it. For the duration of the shoot, I slept in an RV locked into the facility’s processing yard. To say that it was a strange experience would be a vast understatement. I lived in prison for 23 days and I wouldn’t have had it any other way”.

The cast is very good, especially Christopher Toyne who plays Dr. Brandt, the best character in the movie. He is a perfect villain: evil, cunning, diabolical, raw, with a frightening look. But most of the cast did a good work. The director wrote most of the roles for these specific actors because he already knew them as people and imagined how they would throw themselves into the roles. There is also a little cameo of Daniel Baldwin in the final sequence: “Christopher Toyne made a very bold decision with an accent early on and I loved it. It immediately made you aware that something was wrong with this guy. Some people hate the decision and others love it. But no one can ever accuse us of playing it safe. Bold decisions are what makes the world of film exciting and we decided to go for it. I met Ted Rooney a couple months before I wrote the final draft and I immediately came up with the idea of Abraham. Funny story: the first thing I saw Ted in was a Mountain Dew commercial where he played Abraham Lincoln. Lastly I decided to rewrite the ending with a sequel in mind. I knew I needed a great actor to come in at the end and get people excited about seeing a road movie sequel. Daniel moved to the NW earlier that year and I wrote the role specifically for him. He got the script and immediately came on board. I am so happy with all of the performances and actors in the film. Without them I’m afraid I’d be nothing, so I’m thankful”, Todd Freeman said.

After an adrenalinic second part, with bloody special effects and action scenes, the movie ends suddenly without many explanations and with questions still unanswered. But the director, during the writing, already had in mind a sequel, ‘Cell Count II: 100 Miles of Bad Road’: “I was raised watching serials with my dad. I always loved a good cliffhanger that made me so excited for the next episode. There are many unanswered questions that will absolutely be answered in the sequel. I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised. It’s an action packed monster road movie. I like to explain it as Road Warrior meets Aliens. It will be a fun ride. We hope to shoot it in 2013”, the director said, “Something bad happened in the surrounding 100 miles of quarantined land. There are mutants from the years of medical experiments as well as many of the “cures” that have grown to full size and are seemingly more hungry than ever. Not really alien, but experiments gone wrong, horribly wrong”.

Despite the low-budget and a 22-day shooting schedule inside the same big location, the movie, from beginning to end, captures the audience’s attention. The pace is slow, especially in the first part, but the suspence increases progressively until the final sequences, thanks a solid story, good cast and amazing special effects, very effective and gore, in particular the face mask (the symbol of the movie, shown in front of the poster), a bloody tissue leaked from the mouth of the victim that enclosed completely his head. The actor, Judd Eustice, had to have that mask attached to his face and wrapped tightly around his head for upwards of 10 hours a day. Inspired and influenced by the best sci-fi movies like Alien and The Thing and the body horror genre (the terrifying central theme), practically created by the early works of David Cronenberg, Cell Count is successful in involving and upsetting the viewer. Waiting to see the sequel and the very final end of the movie…

MORE FILM FESTIVALS FOR ‘CELL COUNT’

Sci-Fi Thriller to have UK and Canada Premiere in upcoming months.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feature film Cell Count has UK Premiere at Celluloid Screams and Canadian Premiere at the Montreal HorrorFest as a part of the Montreal Comic Con.

PORTLAND, Oregon (August 8, 2012) The feature film “Cell Count” premiered on May 20th at the Fantaspoa Fantastic Film Festival and is now an Official Selection of this year’s Celluloid Screams Film Festival in the UK as well as the Montreal HorrorFest in Canada.

Celluloid Screams: Sheffield Horror Film Festival, October 26-28, is a three-day celebration of the best in classic and contemporary horror cinema.  Founded in 2009, the festival has become a destination for horror fans seeking the very best the horror genre has to offer. In its short history, Celluloid Screams has premiered films such high-profile films as Paranormal Activity, Cold Sweat, Neighbor, I Sell The Dead, Inbred, Subconscious, The Revenant, Grace and Snowtown (to name but a few) and has an ongoing commitment to emerging genre talent.  This year Cell Count is screening with some of the most exciting genre films in the world such as Before Dawn, Excision, and a special screening of the Cobal Cut of Clive Barker’s Night Breed. 

Robert Nevitt, Festival Director/Head of Programming, at Celluloid Screams says “Cell Count encapsulates the body-horror of Cronenberg and the tone of early John Carpenter, whilst always maintaining a style and execution all of its own. Within minutes of viewing the film, we knew it would be perfect for Celluloid Screams.”

Writer/Director Todd E. Freeman says, “We are also super excited to announce that artist Tom Hodge, from The Dude Designs, will also be at the screening signing posters to giveaway at the screening at the festival.  Tom’s amazing artwork has helped promote Cell Count and also has brought attention to the film that we would have not otherwise gotten.  Having him on hand at the festival is going to be a great opportunity for fans to get his amazing Cell Count artwork signed as well as meet and talk with him.  I’m very much looking forward to this festival… it’s really going to be a special one.”

Montreal HorrorFest, September 14-16, is a 3 days Horror film festival/convention that take place during the Montreal Comiccon in Montreal, Canada.  Writer/Director Todd E. Freeman says “We are so excited to be taking Cell Count to our first Comic Con.  This movie really is for lovers of genre in every way shape and form.  In the upcoming year we are looking forward to the possibility of shooting the sequel to Cell Count which would obviously be a much bigger undertaking.  With plans for toys, art, comic books all being a part of our plan to further the universe set forth by the original film Comic Cons all over the world will be a place that we look forward to meeting with genre fans of all mediums.”  He continues, “We’ll be bringing a whole lot of posters to sign and giveaway at the festival as well.  We are in debt to all of our fans around the world as well as their excitement about what we’ve done with this film as well as what we plan to do with its sequel.  Time to give back some posters and tees of the amazing artwork that Tom Hodge at the Dude Designs created for the film.”

Cell Count is the story of Russell Carpenter who reluctantly admits his wife Sadie into an experimental treatment facility for her life threatening disease. While locked in this prison like surrounding they, along with 6 others, are unknowingly subjected to a cure that might just be worse than the disease itself.

Cell Count’s production company, Wooden Frame Productions, has recently signed Worldwide Digital Distribution with FilmBuff and it will be available On Demand and on many digital platforms in November.

FILMBUFF TAKES ON “CELL COUNT”

Sci-Fi Thriller to be released on digital platforms November, 2012

(New York, NY – July 27, 2012) FilmBuff has come onboard to digitally distribute the sci-fi horror film festival favorite, Cell Count from filmmaker Todd E. Freeman (Two Fisted and Pray for Hell), starring Robert McKeehen (“Leverage”), Haley Talbot (“Grimm”), Ted Rooney (“Boardwalk Empire”) and Daniel Baldwin (Grey Gardens).

The film, which had its world premiere at the 2012 Fantaspoa Film Festival in Brazil, is the story of Russell Carpenter, a man who reluctantly admits his wife Sadie into an experimental treatment facility for her life-threatening disease. While locked in this prison-like surrounding, they along with 6 others are unknowingly subjected to a cure that might just be worse than the disease itself.

Cell Count is co-produced by Polluted Pictures (The Weather Outside) and Wooden Frame Productions (Wake Before I Die). It will next screen at the Macabro Film Festival in August as well as the Sitges Film Festival and Celluloid Screams in October. FilmBuff will release the film across digital platforms in November.

Roz Lichter brokered the deal on behalf of Executive Producers Roger and Jen Wood and Producers Jason and Todd Freeman with Steve Beckman, Head of Acquisitions for FilmBuff.

Read advance reviews at www.cellcount-themovie.com

Cell Count accepted into 2012 Sitges Film Festival in Spain.

PORTLAND, Oregon (July 9, 2012)  The feature film “Cell Count” premiered on May 20th at the Fantaspoa Fantastic Film Festival and is an Official Selection of this year’s Macabro Film Festival in Mexico City.  This week offered the Producer’s of the film an exciting third acceptance to a film festival so far this year, the Sitges Film Festival in Spain.



The Sitges Film Festival is ‘the number one fantasy film festival in the world and represents, at the same time, the cultural expression with the most media impact in Catalonia. With a solid experience, the Sitges Festival is a stimulating universe of encounters, exhibitions, presentations and screenings of fantasy films from all over the world.  Started in 1968 this film festival has hosted Producers, Directors, and Actors such as Quentin Tarantino, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Paul Verhoeven, Ralph Fiennes, George A. Romero, Cameron Diaz, Viggo Mortensen, Terry Gilliam, Rutger Hauer, Sarah Michelle Gellar, John Landis, Joe Dante, Zoë Bell, Dino de Laurentii, Takashi Miike, Wim Wenders, Tony Curtis, David Cronenberg, Vanessa Redgrave, Darren Aronofsky, Brad Dourif, John McNaughton, Peter Greenaway, John Woo, Park Chan-Wook, Johnnie To, Paul Naschy, Ray Liotta, Jon Voight, Sam Raimi, Robert Englund, Tarsem Singh, Roger Corman, Mira Sorvino, Santiago Segura, Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, Guillermo del Toro, Kim Ki Duk, Álex de la Iglesia, Aitana Sánchez Gijón, among others from the long list of people who, year after year, are a media attraction.’

Cell Count is the story of Russell Carpenter who reluctantly admits his wife Sadie into an experimental treatment facility for her life threatening disease. While locked in this prison like surrounding they, along with 6 others, are unknowingly subjected to a cure that might just be worse than the disease itself.

Writer / Director Todd Freeman says of the acceptance to Sitges, “This is one of those festivals that you only dream of getting accepted into.  We are so excited that the film will be playing there as well as being able to go and meet such talented filmmakers from around the world.  It is very humbling to be a small part of such an amazing festival filled with the best that genre film has to offer.

Cell Count’s production company, Wooden Frame Productions, has recently signed Worldwide Digital Distribution and will be announcing details in the upcoming weeks.

Cell Count had its World Premiere in Brazil at the Fantaspoa Fantastic Film Festival on May 20th and is headed to Mexico for the Eleventh Annual Macabro Film Festival in August.  A few more film festival dates will be announced soon. 

We are currently negotiating a distribution deal and Cell Count will be available worldwide the end of this year.

Be sure to stay up to date with news on our FB page at www.facebook.com/CellCount 

Thanks for watching!

Writer / Director Todd E. Freeman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New trailer and festival announcement for feature film Cell Count.

PORTLAND, Oregon (June 4, 2012)  Just two weeks ago Cell Count was Closing Night Film at the Fantaspoa Fantastic Film Festival in Brazil and the World Premiere was a huge success.  The scheduled showing was over capacity and a second theater had to be added to accommodate all of the genre loving fans that came out to see the film.  Now it is Polluted Pictures and Wooden Frame Production’s profound pleasure to present the new trailer as well as announce their second film festival acceptance.

It was just announced on June 1st that Cell Count has been accepted to the Macabro Film Festival in Mexico City, Mexico.  Macabro is in it’s 11th year and “is the first film festival in Mexico, dedicated to the promotion, dissemination and exhibition of the best contemporary genre films and historical account of it. It also is one of the festivals with increased longevity, continuity, strength and commitment to media education, training and creating film audiences in the national tour of festivals in Mexico.”  Cell Count is an Official Selection and is eligible for the Best Feature Film Macabre Horror Competition and Todd E. Freeman is in competition for the Macabre Silver for Best Director.

I am so thankful to everyone involved in this movie.  It is becoming clear that we are being accepted by an awesome worldwide community of genre film lovers and we couldn’t be any more excited.  What is amazing about movies is that it’s one of the few things in the world… that was created… to share worldwide.  It doesn’t matter what color your skin is or what language you speak:  Motion Pictures are made for us all and are created without borders. - Writer and Director Todd E. Freeman.

The Macabro Film Festival, which runs from August 16-26, has played some of the most popular genre films from around the globe for the last 10 years including both classic and contemporary films.  In these 10 years they have brought together more than 70,000 spectators at an average of four sites per year, providing the most relevant of Horror in the audience of Mexico City.

Wooden Frame Productions is in negotiations to bring Cell Count to a Worldwide audience by the end of the year including all digital platforms, VOD, as well as cable television.

Find out more, read reviews, and stay up to date with Cell Count at:  www.cellcount-themovie.com