Movie promises to be a Cult classicIf anyone in Duluth were to work 13 hours a day on a film that recreates the idea of a cult group gone wrong, it would be 22-year-old Duluth East graduate Lance Karasti.
By: Clara Hatcher, Duluth Budgeteer News
If anyone in Duluth were to work 13 hours a day on a film that recreates the idea of a cult group gone wrong, it would be 22-year-old Duluth East graduate Lance Karasti.
Karasti has been interested in filmmaking ever since he could hold up a camera. He entered short films into the film fest every year at Duluth East, and he went on to the Los Angeles Film School after he graduated from high school.
“Filmmaking has been my passion ever since I can remember,” said Karasti. “It is the pinnacle of art to me. I love that I can affect an audience subconsciously in the way that other art forms cannot.”
“Cult” is a soon-to-be released film that is locally edited, cast and shot. Resembling movies such as Hitchcock’s “Rope” and Sidney Lumet’s “12 Angry Men,” Karasti aspires to have “Cult” featured in film festivals across the country.
“Making a movie is like staring into an abyss. It starts off easy when writing the script, then it slowly gets more challenging with each step taken,” Karasti told the Budgeteer news. “I think that cutting down the three-hour script I had written was one of the most frustrating things to do. Somehow, I managed to find a real plot in it and move forward with the film.”
Even though this is Karasti’s first time making a feature-length film, he is no novice to the movie-making business. He recently graduated from the Los Angeles Film School and has made more than 50 short films in his life.
Karasti has also been in five film festivals, including the Duluth Superior Film Festival, and has received numerous honorable mentions for his work.
This feature film is almost a Duluthified version of the Jonestown massacre, with every shot filmed in the movie located in the city.
There are seven roles in the film that cover everything from the cult leader to the rebellious members who plan to take action against him. I asked him to describe the film in two sentences or fewer.
“A youth bible study group is manipulated by its insane and charismatic leader into performing a group suicide,” said Karasti. “Two of the members conspire to stop it and examine the history of the group.”
The pre-production—meaning script writing, redrafting, casting, and storyboarding—for the film is completely finished, though that is just a small step in the filmmaking process.
Sigrid Mellem, a student at Marquette University and Duluth East graduate, was cast as a main lead in Karasti’s film.
“I have always been fascinated by acting, so when I heard about the auditions for [Karasti’s] movie, I decided to go for it,” said Mellem. “I will be playing Laura, who is one of the main characters conspiring to run away from the corrupted cult.”
Marcus Jahn and Christopher Leblanc will also be featured in the film.
Filming begins July 8. After 12 days of nonstop shooting, Karasti will move on to editing, and then distributing “Cult” to film festivals such as the Duluth Superior Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival, and also to Netflix and iTunes.
“I’ve been helping Lance [Karasti] publicize the movie from the start,” said Abe Diaz. “I think that this movie is something that is worth watching. The script that he has is unique and captivating, from an audience standpoint. I think that it will get a lot more buzz than he is anticipating, if he can pull it off.”
Karasti said that Diaz is the other half of the two-man crew.
In the filming process, Diaz operates a boom microphone that records sound into a mixer to be edited later on. He was also featured at the latest Oscars as a winner of its student film competition.
“Putting this movie together is like piecing a puzzle together,” said Karasti. “I just can’t wait to see how it turns out in the end.
I think that all of the exhausting work will be worth it when it is done.”
“Cult” is scheduled to be completely finished and distributed in September.