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Saturday April 29th 2017

Indie Spotlight: Cost of a Soul

Indie Spotlight: Cost of a Soul

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Rogue & AMC have given Sean Kirkpatrick the opportunity to receive distribution for his award-winning film Cost of a Soul. The film is the gritty tale of two wounded veterans who return home to the ghetto they joined the military to escape. As they struggle for redemption, their own families become entangled in a web of crime, corruption and violence. In 2008, Kirkpatrick penned Cost of a Soul and in 2009 he assembled a cast and crew in his hometown of Philadelphia to begin production on the film. The film has already caught the attention of various film festivals and was an official selection of the 2010 Hollywood Film Festival, 2010 Cinequest, 2010 HBO NY International Latino Film Festival, 2010 Brooklyn International Film Festival, 2010 Toronto Moving Image Film Festival, 2010 San Antonio Film Festival and the 2010 Rehoboth Beach Film Festival. Additionally, the film was featured at the 2011 Kansas City FilmFest and 2011 Philadelphia Cinefest, where it won the Audience Award for Best Feature Film.

You graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2006 and then moved to Los Angeles and began work as a production assistant on several movies, such as Stranger than Fiction and Hancock. At what point did you start thinking about the idea for Cost of a Soul?

I'm a huge film noir fan and I had always wanted to make a modern day film noir. It was in 2007 right after I started moving to Los Angeles; Philadelphia has some of the highest murder rates in the country and it kind of sparked the idea. It was an outrage, and an outrage to me, that it was happening in a city that I loved. It sparked the idea to tell the story of the people who were living in those neighbourhoods or were affected by the violence.

Most films are very capable to be filmed almost anywhere - there is even a street in Hollywood called Anywhere, USA for that specific reason. However, you were adamant to filming this on the streets of Philadelphia as opposed to any other city. Why was that?

The city adds to the film and to the character. The neighbourhoods that we shot the movie in are neighbourhoods that are rarely seen on camera; it's really dangerous to go into a lot of these neighbourhoods with a camera crew - most people don't. There were 4 or 5 drug related homicides on four of our production locations within days of filming there. I mean, there were murders in the exact spot you see in the movie... It was really a desire to tell the story as realistically as possible.

How do you film a movie in those kinds of locations?

The only reason this film got made was because of the community support. Essentially, we involved the community and they saw they value in the film we were making and they saw the integrity in the production and they even protected us. There was a whole group of people in the community who were well respected and who were, essentially, our security. They made sure we didn't have any incidents and we were incident free. There are normally gunshots on the block and police chases but there were none while we were there because of the support of the community.

Were any of the cast and crew worried after reading the script detailing those violent neighbourhoods and then learning that they were going to film in those same neighbourhoods?

They put their trust in me. It was never brought up. A lot of the actors really went further and immersed themselves in the people as part of their own research and got to the underbelly of what it is really like.

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