Skip to main content

Interview: Filmmaker, Alex Haughey & Movie Review: Prodigy

Over the past two weeks, I've featured indie talent worth listening to and worth reading. This week, it's something worth watching.

My find is a film: Prodigy. Written and Directed by Alex Haughey and Brian Vidal, and starring Richard Neil, Savannah Liles, Jolene Andersen, Emilio Palame, and David Linski, it's a thriller (with a little sci-fi thrown in) about a girl who may or may not be the most dangerous person in the world. Well, the government thinks so, anyway.

Read on for my review of the film, Prodigy.

The opening was a nicely done little prologue introducing you to some key background people of the film without giving away the film's content. It left me wondering "What's the deal?" and wanting to know more.

The ongoing exchange between Savannah Liles character, Ellie, and Richard Neil's Dr. James Fonda was cleverly written. This, coupled with the chemistry between the two actors, allowed them to play off each other well. This, in turn, helped me get fully immersed in the scenes they were in together. Richard Neil gave a compelling performance as the cool-headed Dr. Fonda, and Savannah Liles gave a standout performance as Ellie. She's already won a young artist award, and if she continues to pursue her acting career with as much passion as she exhibited in this role, I have no doubt she'll be one to watch as a new rising star in the industry.

Overall, Prodigy did a fine job of playing on one's sense of not wanting to see anything bad happen to a child, while being taken aback by the possibility that a child could actually be evil; not because of a poor upbringing or environment, but simply because they were born wrong.

By the end of the film I was left sitting at the edge of my seat, fists clenched, and heart broken for this poor, misunderstood little girl.

As far as my overall feelings about the film: It was good and I enjoyed it. It was a nice change from the horror, sci-fi, and fantasy films I usually watch. Actually, I generally don't watch psychological thrillers, and because of my dislike of them, once I realized that Prodigy was "that kind of film," I almost stopped watching. But the story had me sucked in, and it was too late for me to bail. I'm glad I didn't, because I would have missed out on a well thought-out film, one that kept me interested and invested in these characters and what happened to them. It also helped that it was well-acted, with good timing and dialogue.

As a matter of fact, watching (and actually enjoying) Prodigy has led me to the conclusion that I may have been missing out on a whole genre of films I might actually enjoy.

On that note, as always, I leave it for you to determine, my malcontents, whether you like it or not. Read on, though, because next up is an interview with one of Pordigy's creators, Alex Haughey.  Also, make sure to check out the press release to read all cool details about Prodigy, its awards, the cast, and its creators, as well as contact info, photos, and links.

Lili's Lair: What is it about being a film maker that intrigues you?

Alex: Being a storyteller is what I find most intriguing. I don't believe it can be understated how important storytelling is to people and culture. If a story resonates with us, it can shape our morals, values, and ideas -- the things that make us who we are. The chance to be an active participant in that process, through the use of such an immersive medium, is something I consider an incredible honor.

Lili's Lair: Where did the concept for Prodigy come from?

Alex: My writing partner, Brian Vidal, and I had known each other since college and worked together on countless short films. We had developed a proficiency for making something cinematic out of nothing, resource-wise. We decided to attempt to apply this talent to a longer form story, and knew we would have to limit our scope in order to pull that off. During a brainstorming session, Brian found a logline he had won a contest with a few years back. It wasn't exactly the logline of Prodigy, but it was the seed that the project grew out of, for sure. After a few back and forth discussions, we knew we had a story we were confident we could tell.

Lili's Lair: Did you find it easier or trickier to do the majority of your filming in two rooms?

Alex: Easier for the actual process of capturing footage, because we weren't moving around very much. However, the challenge became the continued struggle to make those two rooms feel dynamic and interesting throughout the runtime. We put a lot of thought into the planning of our shot selection, and our Cinematographers deserve a lot of credit for bringing a lot of interesting ideas to the table. In the end, I was very pleased with the final visuals, as I believe we kept the limited locations from ever feeling monotonous.

Lili's Lair: What kind of distribution plans do you have in the works for Prodigy?

Alex: We are on all the major streaming VOD sites currently (Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, etc.) and we have performed admirably there. We are hoping the positive response and performance help land us a streaming deal from one of the big boys (Netflix, Hulu, Shudder) before it is all said and done.

Lili's Lair: Do you have any new projects in the works?

Alex: I have done some really cool work with another colleague of mine in the video game space, in the past, and I am excited that we are getting close to a green light on a game we have been developing for a long time. I am also trying to use Prodigy's success to segue into another directing project -- a female driven revenge script I penned just before getting started on Prodigy. This is a great time to have a bad ass female protagonist, and I hope to strike while the iron is hot!

Comments