After a chance encounter on the set of a thesis film, Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing built up a solid friendship and soon went about devising a plan to write and direct a low budget movie which they were confident could emulate the same sort of success as the likes of Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project. The film we’re talking about is the found footage film The Gallows which New Line and Warner Bros. finally snagged after an all out bidding war with Lionsgate and Relativity.
Fast forward five years and the release of their latest film, Held is testament to the fact that the directing duo are still just as passionately committed to producing films exactly how they deserve to be.
Penned by the film’s lead actress, Jill Awbrey, her feature film writing and acting debut is a thrilling, #MeToo inspired tale of female empowerment which addresses themes of relationship dynamics, abuse, gender roles, and today’s often stereotypical view of what a marriage is. In an attempt to rekindle their dwindling flame, married couple Emma (Awbrey) and Henry (Bart Johnson) take a weekend break in a remote high-end rental, complete with automated smart house features and integrated security. However, after suspecting a night time intruder they decide to flee, only to become forcibly trapped inside by the automated security system. Emitting from the house, an unknown ‘Voice’ watches their every move through an array of hidden cameras, revealing an intimate and unsettling knowledge of their relationship. While the situation grows increasingly brutal, Emma and Henry must work together to uncover the truth and find a way out before it’s too late.
With the film available in theatres and on demand this Friday, April 9th, through Magnet Releasing, we sat down with Lofing and Cluff who revealed how the film fell into place after a chance encounter, much like their debut feature, and how they went about deconstructing the world’s interpretation of the “perfect man” to give Awbrey’s script the potency and relevance it deserved…
Words: Howard Gorman