Apartment 413 – Home Isn’t Always Safe
Marco spends his days applying for jobs online and waiting for Dana, his pregnant girlfriend, to get home. Strange post-it notes mysteriously appear around the apartment with cryptic warnings. A mechanic texts and calls him with menacing messages from an old non-functioning cell phone. The walls close in and tensions build between Marco and Dana’s relationship until all sense of safety dwindles as the lines between imagined and reality blur for both Marco and the audience. When Marco discovers the root of it all, his real problems begin.
Nicholas Saenz (“American Crime”), Brea Grant (“Beyond the Gates”) and Dave Buckner star in Matt Patterson’s unnerving APARTMENT 413.
APARTMENT 413 is available from Terror Films on Digital Download September 17
From the moment I first read Ron’s script, originally titled THE CHURCH BELLS ALL WERE BROKEN, I knew two things; I wanted to make this movie… and the title had to go.
I was sucked into Marco’s world of paranoia, self-doubt and a desperate need to be loved. And I related to the false-reality men are taught that they have to be tough, self-reliant and never ask for help. I wanted to meet Dana, this lovely and strange version of Mary Poppins that is only in Marco’s world for a moment to make him better, and to teach him how to ask for help. I loved that he imagined a girlfriend that didn’t give in to his every whim, but pushed back, and sharpened him along the way.
The story also hurts. When, in the end, Marco chooses a false, sick life, over a lonely but healthy and real one, that shameful choice is shocking. And relatable. I do it myself all the time, and I don’t know why. I’m surrounded by a country, family and friends that choose their own world-view bubbles to feed into what they already believe and shut everything else out. I don’t understand it, but I want to. So in the end, I wanted to make this film to explore that paradox. And have fun in the process.
We knew from the moment we started pre-production that this was going to be tight. Tight in terms of budget, time and space. And we used it to our advantage. Jon Michael, my producer, and Rocky, My DP, got on board with idea of shooting a film that was like THE SHINING in a 600 square foot apartment. With a matching down-scale in budget.
We did a lot of one-shot takes when Marco and Dana were together, to both showcase their talent and also keep the action flowing. Rags come and go in the same shot (with the help of most of the crew off-camera). There are even things that no one will ever notice, like how the
painting in the dining room changes from day to night gradually over the course of his many breakdowns throughout the movie. These touches, while not always obvious, are what made shooting this film fun for the cast and the crew and kept us on our toes to push the envelope with what could be done in such a tight space.
What I really care about and why I love movies, novels and campfire stories is the characters. And to that end, as a director, I LOVE ACTORS! I love workshopping scenes, tearing them apart and re-building them together, trading dialogue for action and cheering them on when they take an idea and give it flesh. Building on takes to create something new instead of re-hashing the same until it’s dead. And for this film we needed some good ones. We needed an actor who could hold the movie, almost on his own, who’s literally in every scene. We needed an actress that could be lovely, tough and smart; likable and yet out of reach.
I’ve known Brea for years, but we hadn’t been able to work together until APARTMENT 413. I actually sent her the script before I optioned it because I wanted her opinion. She’s smart, savvy and every bit what Dana aspires to be in real life. She called and told me that I should not only make the movie, but she wanted to star in it, and had notes. Bring it on. Nick came along later, and was worth the wait. He brings so much gravitas and pathos to the role, it made me wish I had something else to throw him into when we wrapped on this film. Dave runs an improv troupe and training school in Austin and had so many ideas for the mechanic he came out fully formed, even though he was only on set for a single day. And Adriana, the doctor, really is my doctor. No kidding. Talk about type casting.
I have been lucky enough to produce three other feature films, two of which I also co-wrote. Along the way I’ve directed several award-winning short films and countless corporate projects. APARTMENT 413, however, is my feature directorial debut. I learned a lot. Like how to fight back panic and keep going when your entire crew has their cars booted during your first shot of the day. Or how to push through unexpected construction on the foundation of the apartment you’re shooting in for the last two weeks of a three-week shoot. But, in the end, making films is my team sport and we had a great team. We pushed through all the chaos that is filmmaking and I can’t wait to huddle up and do it again.
-Matt Patterson / Director and Producer
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.