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'Blair Witch Project' creators to film new thriller in area

More than 100 cast and crew members are expected to work on the project

September 08, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

The minds behind "The Blair Witch Project" will return to Maryland next month to film their latest thriller.

Writer/editor Eduardo Sanchez, producers Robin Cowie and Gregg Hale, and their production company, Haxan Films, together with Amber Entertainment, will film "The Possession" in Washington County, according to a news release from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

Tom Riford, president and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), said more than 100 cast and crew members are expected to work on the project.

Riford said he worked extensively with the filmmakers to bring the project to Washington County.

As of Wednesday, Riford said they plan to shoot the entire film in the county. Specific locations for filming were being determined, he said.

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Contract negotiations prevented Riford from disclosing the few known locations, including a house where a portion of the film is set, he said.

Maryland offers incentives to lure filmmakers to the state, including a rebate of production costs, said Jack Gerbes, director of the Maryland Film Office.

Hospitality is its own incentive, Riford said.

"If they love filming here, they are going to love coming back," he said.

Washington County has "rolled out the welcome mat" for Haxan Films, Riford said.

A group of more than 200 local real estate professionals, led by Clarence Horst of Coldwell Banker Innovations, worked to find the production company the ideal house for the film, Riford said.

Hotels bid to house the cast and crew while they are in town, and a catering company soon will be selected, he said.

"It feels great to finally shoot another film in my home state," Sanchez said, according to the news release.

Numerous benefits come with hosting a film project, Gerbes said.

"Any time a film shoots in Maryland, we are pleased," he said.

Films usher in short-term economic growth, new jobs and future tourism to an area, Gerbes said. Films also brew excitement in the hosting community, or what he called "impact you can't put your finger on."

Haxan Films was the banner behind indie horror sensation "The Blair Witch Project," also filmed in Maryland.

Shot on a small budget, "The Blair Witch Project" grossed more than $250 million worldwide, according to the news release.

Sanchez will return to his roots for "The Possession." The film starts off as a simple horror movie about things that go bump in the night, but slowly turns into a thriller about the evil power that exists inside one troubled young woman, according to the release.

"The last time went pretty well for us, so we're hoping that Maryland will bring us some luck again with 'The Possession,'" Sanchez said, according to the release.

"The Possession" will be one of about four films shot in Washington County so far this year, Riford said.

Filmmakers wrapped up shooting scenes from another independent film, "She's In The Details," in August, he said.

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