Film and TV

Behind The Scenes of 'Paranoia'

Right as Alaina is about to burst into tears, a torrential rainstorm begins outside. It sounds like something out of a movie ... and it was on Sunday morning on the set of Paranoia.

Paranoia's a locally filmed and produced feature-length movie about a woman named Alaina who's undergoing experimental fertility treatments. The only problem is that these treatments tend to have sketchy side effects that begin to blur the line between reality and her own suspicious imagination.

The screenplay was written by Diane Dresback and being directed by 2008 Arizona Filmmaker of the Year Bivás Biswas. Both Dresback and Biswas make their own short films and operate production companies, but Paranoia is one of the few collaborations between the two.

"We wanted to do a psychological thriller," explains Biswas as to how and why they wanted to work on Paranoia. "What we're doing with this film--the final product--it will be difficult to tell it's an independent film."

Among the creatives involved is actress Katherine Stewart (also leading in the steampunk series Mantecoza) starring in the film as Alaina. Stewart is a full-time director of Desert Rose Theatre and describes Paranoia as an interesting switch for her.

"With film you have to narrow your focus," says Stewart. "You can't gesture big or act big like you would on stage because the smallest things like moving an eyebrow on camera is big already. It's very tough but it's fun too."

Another interesting actress on hand for Paranoia is so-called "scream queen" Tiffany Shepis, who plays Alaina's close friend Sherry. Shepis has acted in more than 90 films -- most of them horror films such as Bonnie & Clyde vs. Dracula and Frankenstein Syndrome.

"I love this change of pace," says Shepis of working on a psychological thriller. "The script is different and it's better than always having blood and guts on you and screaming all the time."

Dresback commented that they are planning to release Paranoia in August this year. Both Dresback and Biswas will have featured works in the upcoming 48 Hour Film Challenge premiere on March 3.

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Christen Bejar
Contact: Christen Bejar