PT Film Fest winning screenplay ‘Glampire’ starts filming in Hastings building

By Kirk Boxleitner
Posted 7/10/24


The Hastings building at the corner of Water and Taylor streets in downtown Port Townsend is set to be the center of a flurry of filmmaking activity this month, thanks to the Port …

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PT Film Fest winning screenplay ‘Glampire’ starts filming in Hastings building



The Hastings building at the corner of Water and Taylor streets in downtown Port Townsend is set to be the center of a flurry of filmmaking activity this month, thanks to the Port Townsend Film Festival selecting “Glampire” as the winner of the inaugural short screenplay competition.

“Glampire,” by screenwriters and creative partners Jordan Lucas and Winda Benedetti, focuses on a social media influencer who tracks an ancient vampire to his lair set in the Hastings building. There the brash, fame-chasing young human can give the creature of the night a “brand makeover.”

Danielle McClelland, executive director of the Port Townsend Film Festival, said “Galloper” was one of 37 submissions from screenwriters living within the eligible area of the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas and Puget Sound islands. The screenplays also met requirement of being set somewhere in that area.

McClelland noted that “Glampire” stood out as “a light-hearted romp,” referencing various genre film and social media tropes.

“With its main characters are a 2,000-plus-year-old vampire and a 20-year-old social media influencer, it puts together a collaboration and conflict between an elder and a youth in a way that the selection committee thought really resonated with many issues we face in Port Townsend,” McClelland said.

“It makes fun of all perspectives equally, and encourages us to think a little more deeply about the ways in which our ‘lifeblood’ gets taken away from our community.”

From here, the Port Townsend Film Festival is teaming up with the Jefferson County Filmmakers Collective and the Port Townsend Film Studio to treat “Glampire” to a full production.

McClelland elaborated that about 30 people are directly involved in the production, the majority of whom are from the Olympic Peninsula. The film’s budget is roughly $50,000, the “vast majority” of which will be spent in Port Townsend, including housing and meals for crew members.

Lucas and Benedetti originally wrote the story as “Revamped,” for the 2018 issue of the annual comic book anthology “Monsterpedia.” It was animated by high-concept ideas such as a “generation gap” spanning millennia, as well as the ways in which modern technology could be weaponized against horror movie monsters, and how technology such as social media could be seen as metaphorically “vampirizing” humanity.

Producer Aaron Drane praised the “exceptional” quality and “unique voice” of the script, concurring with Lucas that it boasts “a solid ending.” Director Amy Hesketh asserted that “Glampire” is a standout, even among the other vampire films Hesketh has already directed and/or acted in.

“It has a zany yet dry humor that’s really dark and doesn’t pull its punches,” Hesketh said. “I love horror comedies, but it had been a long time since I’d read a script that literally made me laugh out loud.”

Hesketh and Drane lamented that the pre-production work for a short film can consume as much time and effort as what’s required for a feature-length film, even though the filming window for “Glampire” is set to run, at most, from Thursday, July 11, through Sunday, July 14, compared to the range of 18-24 days of shooting often allocated to a small- or mid-sized feature film.

“We’ll be shooting from sunup to sundown, for three to four days,” said Hesketh, adding that he expects it to be a caffeine-fueled weekend-plus stretch of shooting.

Prepping the night scenes require certain windows in the Hastings building to be temporarily blacked out, since the story for “Glampire” takes place over the course of a single day and night.

Certain rooms of the Hastings building are being redecorated to reflect the appropriate atmosphere — by a crew whose members include David Egeler, a media teacher at Port Townsend High School — but the requisite props also needed to be secured, including “creepy” dolls’ heads and works of taxidermy, plus the vampire’s throne and coffin.

“We just ordered the casket online,” Hesketh said. “The hardest part was finding a full-lid casket, since most people order half-lid caskets, to display their loved ones, but even then, it wasn’t any more expensive.”

As a Port Townsend local, Lucas has been able to visit the staging of the sets during pre-production, and he compared Hesketh and Drane’s adaptation of his and Benedetti’s screenplay to the passing of a baton.

Lucas gushed over additions to the film version of the story that “I never would have thought of,” including two different puppet sequences, which the filmmakers have assured The Leader will make sense in context, once people are able to view the film for themselves.

Hesketh also looks forward to introducing broader audiences to Port Townsend through “Glampire,” which will include an overhead drone shot of the city’s skyline.

“Since this was the Port Townsend Film Festival’s first time running this contest, we wanted to showcase Port Townsend’s fabulous architecture,” Hesketh said. “Anyone who’s been to Port Townsend before will immediately recognize where this film is set, and anyone who hasn’t been here before will want to find out where we are, so they can come visit us.”

The extended plan is for “Glampire” to be featured as part of this year’s Port Townsend Film Festival lineup, from Sept. 19-22. After that PTFF plans to provide support and guidance for “Glampire” to reach broader audiences, including through other film festivals, with Lucas and Benedetti due to receive recognition as PTFF alumni filmmakers.

McClelland said the PTFF selection committee was “truly impressed” with the quality of this first round of submissions, as well as with the range of locations from which they were submitted.

For the next competition, the submission period will be between Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 of this year. The goal is to announce a winner by the end of January 2025, but McClelland urged prospective entrants not to wait, and to start working on their scripts as soon as possible.

“As with any script, we’re looking for narrative arcs and changes, and an ongoing sense of ‘What’s going to happen next?’” McClelland said. “We’re also looking for stories that are truly specific to our region, that could only happen here.”

The screenplay submission limitations are five pages, with no more than five characters or five locations.