He is the man behind Survivor Type Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Chris Ethridge: I am film director and producer. In addition to Survivor Type, I have directed several short films and a feature called The Morningside Monster. I am currently in post on my next feature film, Haven’s End. I have also produced some shorts for other filmmakers, most recently a 5 minute piece called Teaser from Director Dayna Noffke.
SKSM: When did you make Survivor Type? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Chris Ethridge: My producing partner, Stacey Palmer, and I shot the film in late 2010. It cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 for the 30 minute short. We shot over 9 days in the Atlanta area and at Anastasia State Park in Florida.
SKSM: How come you picked Survivor Type to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Chris Ethridge: It’s just such a dark but powerful story. It has stayed with me since I read it, and when Stacey and I were trying to decide which story to make, that was the one that I really felt drawn towards.
SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wikd guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?
Chris Ethridge: I had read a few articles that mentioned the program. When I met Stacey and discovered we were both filmmakers and huge Stephen King fans, it just made sense to try and make a Dollar Baby together.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Chris Ethridge: We shot the island footage at Anastasia State Park, which is down in St. Augustine, FL. Overnight between the first and second day, someone stole our raft, and we had to find a replacement raft or we were going to not be able to finish the film. We did manage to find a replacement, and somehow completed the movie in the limited time we had remaining on the beach, but there were some dark moments where we thought we were not going to finish.
SKSM: How does it feel that all the King fans out there can’t see your movie? Do you think that will change in the future? Maybe a internet/dvd release would be possible?
Chris Ethridge: I guess it is frustrating to a lot of filmmakers, but for me, it was always part of the deal. When I signed the agreement with Mr. King, I knew it was going to have a limited audience, so I’ve never really dwelled on that. We used the movie exactly the way I believe he intended, to get our work in front of other people and then use that to make the next project, which we did. I don’t think it will change, it’s a legal issue, but if Mr. King did give the go ahead, we would absolutely release it online.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Chris Ethridge: We received mostly positive reviews, with a lot of support for our lead actor, Jens Rasmussen and his powerful portrayal of Richard Pine.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Chris Ethridge: We did our festival run several years ago, premiering at the Buried Alive Film Festival 2011 in Atlanta, and we were accepted and played at several other well-known festivals, such as the New York City Horror Film Festival and the Action on Film International Film Festival.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations.
Chris Ethridge: Oh, yes, I am a huge fan. I’ve been reading his bookd since I was eleven years old. My favorite works include IT, Bag of Bones, The Eyes of the Dragon, and of his more recent work, I really enjoyed all three of the books in the Bill Hodges Trilogy.
SKSM: Did you have any personal contact with King during the making of the movie? Has he seen it (and if so, what did he think about it)?
Chris Ethridge: No, we did not have any contact with him during the process. We did send a copy to him when the movie was finished, and I like to think he watches all of the Dollar Babies, but I really don’t know if he has seen it.
SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick -at least- one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?
Chris Ethridge: No plans right now, I don’t think I’ll be making another Dollar Baby. If I were to adapt a novel into a feature, I would love to try a different take on Bag of Bones. I like the Mick Garris miniseries, but I would love to make a theatrical R-rated versión.
SKSM: What are you working nowadays?
Chris Ethridge: I’m in post-production on my next feature film, working again with Stacey Palmer and Writer/Producer Michael H. Harper. It’s called Haven’s End and you can read more about it right here:
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Chris Ethridge: In addition to making films, I help other independent filmmakers get their films in front of audiences. I co-own a company called HorrorPack, which is a horror movie subscription service, and we send a new independent feature (along with three other films) each month to our subscribers. It’s a great way to support the same kind of filmmaker who takes on the challenge of making a Dollar Baby.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Chris Ethridge: Thanks for your continued support of my work and all of the Dollar Baby filmmakers!