Nathan Snyder is trying his hand at cinematography, from scratch.
Inspired by works such as the “Paranormal Activity” series, “Lost,” “the Blair Witch Project” and “Harry Potter,” the Oak Ridge High School alum and producing partner Brandon Cano-Errecart created their first chilling full-length feature film, “The Sigil.”
The movie documents the journey of Devan, a confused and grieving sister seeking answers to her brother’s sudden death in California. Officials reported Logan Lewis and 41 others died in response to radiation poisoning in a Los Angeles home. All of the bodies were confiscated by the authorities and never shown to the deceased’s family or friends. Devan’s friends Nate and Brandon accompany her to the house, where they find out that a lot more had happened than the police let on. Brandon documents the adventure on film, in hopes of helping Devan reconcile herself to Logan’s tragic ending, but the trio soon find themselves in a deadly situation: seeking the truth about a possible mass-murder while drawing closer and closer to danger.
Snyder, 27, wrote, produced and acted in the film. He said he was “inspired by Harry Potter a bit — three friends travel to the unknown to discover the truth, testing the strength of their friendship. The relationship between Devan, Nate and Brandon is the core of the film. I was also influenced by the TV show ‘Lost’ in the sense that I wanted to create a world with mystery and intrigue. I want the audience to be guessing the whole way through.”
Acting was once the farthest thing from Snyder’s mind. During his time at Oak Ridge, Snyder randomly enrolled in a beginning drama class in order to fulfill the high school’s fine arts requirement. The self-described “jock” and “video-gamer” said he enjoyed the experience. After graduating from high school, Snyder attended UC San Diego, intending to major in communications but his interest in acting led him to a few plays and he eventually switched his major to theater.
He studied acting in Greece and London before graduating and moving to L.A. to pursue his career. After being involved in multiple plays and films, Snyder decided to undertake the difficult task of creating a film. In 2008 Snyder met Cano-Errecart while they worked on a play. They started shooting some short films. “No budget, not much equipment, just a couple of friends shooting something,” Snyder recalled. Cano-Errecart then left to attend UC Santa Cruz and acquired a degree in film. The two started their own company — triple d Productions.
“We decided to shoot a lot of the film very cinematically, like you would see in any normal movie — sweeping shots, panoramic shots, close ups, wides, aerials — all that stuff,” Snyder said. “Then we would weave those shots with the intense, raw, visceral first-person documentary found footage. That’s how we came up with the cinematography of the film.”
Snyder said he hopes to continue to produce more movies, and eventually envisions completing the many projects he and his co-producer already have in the works. “‘The Sigil’ is just the tip of the iceberg of what is to come …,” he said. The film has shown investors and distributors that triple d Productions can “make such an amazing film for an extremely low budget,” he added.
“The Sigil” is currently making its circuit at film festivals across the country. It is available for digital download at indiegogo.com/thesigil.