When I interviewed executive producer Jim Carleton and producer Rob Tritton at the Sarasota Film Festival, I never expected the Lakeland filmmakers’ film to be one of the most popular films at the festival. But when I asked people about their favorite films at the festival, Endure was inevitably on anyone’s favorite list that saw it. And in spite of the fact that the filmmakers didn’t suspect our female readers to be attracted to the film, the women loved it!
Carleton and Tritton were surprised that both screenings of their first feature film sold out a week prior to the Sarasota Film Festival. It wasn’t as surprising when a previous screening of the film at the Gasparilla Film Festival sold out. People in nearby Lakeland had become aware of the film when it was in production. But in Sarasota, where the filmmakers have no attachment, the sell-out was especially thrilling.
Carleton and Tritton’s third partner Joe O’Brien wrote and directed the film. The idea for the thriller was inspired by a local incident in which in a man never returned from a hunting trip in the green swamp. Wheels started turning about how to look for someone abducted in five hundred acres of swamp, and a screenplay was born.
One of the reasons for interest in the film may be the big names the filmmakers were able to attract. The film stars Judd Nelson, Tom Arnold, Devon Sawa and Joey Lauren Adams (from Chasing Amy). Although the lead actors came from Los Angeles, local actors were also utilized in the film. The crew, including director of cinematography Steve Campbell, is primarily based in Orlando.
Filmed in the Lakeland area, Endure was one of the more costly films at the Sarasota Film Festival with a budget of 1.2 million dollars. Predominantly funded privately through equity investments, incentive funds were also received from the state of Florida. The film was shot in a total of seventeen days.
Carleton and Tritton work in production full-time. Typically commissioned to do commercial work, the producers thought it would be nice to reach the mass market, rather than only selling to one group. After playing the festival circuit with three narrative short films which did “really well,” the producers felt it was “a natural progression to move to feature.”
Ironically, the filmmakers were at the Sarasota Film Festival’s opening night two years ago, passing out cards and trying to attract interest to their film when it was in the development stage. This year, they were back with a hit. Although I wasn’t able to attend the film’s screening, based on the buzz at the festival, I have a feeling I may get to see Endure in the theater one day.
Photos from "Endure" Q & A by Kim Fowler
By Amy Warren