A local filmmaker is looking for the public’s support for his new series, “Spirit Quest.” Showing as a limited release on Amazon Video Direct the first episode of the historically-based paranormal unscripted documentary, “Spirit Quest: Sloss Furnaces, Birmingham, AL” will be available for viewers on the site until May 27.
The show is $1.99 to rent and $2.99 to purchase.
“It is a concept episode and we have been shopping it around since 2016,” filmmaker Casey Thompson of Denison said. “The film financing industry has been getting hard. The economy and the currently political situation are making things really hard. It has been making people in Los Angeles not excited about productions from smaller companies. They do not want to invest in things that will not guarantee that money will be made. They do not want to invest in things that are not a sure thing.”
Thompson is the owner of Jake and Rave Production, a filmmaking company that he started in 2016.
“I went to Stephen F. Austin University,” he said. “I attended the film school there. When I came home, I started making movies. This is the first production that we have put out.”
In Thompson’s show, nothing has been staged and nothing in the upcoming episodes will be staged. Thompson said that he cannot guarantee ghost or spirit sightings.
“We cannot guarantee that X, Y and Z will happen,” he said. “We cannot guarantee what the audience will see and what the audience will not see. The biggest part is that we are not staging anything. As a filmmaker, I do not want people to think we are doing tricks. We do not want to invite people to pick the show apart and look for fishing line and that kind of thing because it will not be there.”
Amazon Video Direct is a platform on Amazon for studios to produce and publish their own works.
“This platform is for people to see works, but also a way for producers to recoup expenses from making the shows,” Thompson said. “Concept episodes are generally low budget. We want to market the show and the concept of the show to an audience.”
Thompson also said that he wants to use the time that the show is on the Amazon site as a quality control test, so future investors can see the money that can be made off of the show.
“We not only get to see who is interested, we get to see how many people want to continue watching,” he said. “That way, we can tell future investors and so that future investors can watch the show for themselves.”
The first season will have a six-episode run.
“Then we may put it back up for a time,” Thompson said. “What we are really trying to do right now is recoup our expenses from making the first episode of the show.”
The show stars Braxton Roane, Justin Spurrier and Blain Rohan. In the episode, Roane is exploring the Sloss Furnaces of Birmingham, Alabama, the site of several haunted happenings. A mother and daughter have died mysteriously, a generator room worker who dies in the factory and a spirit trapped in the factory’s boiler room.
“Braxton’s wife is a medium,” Thompson said. “The goal is to give a personal journey through this paranormal site. I love history so I wanted to also put a little history into the show. A lot of situations are based on oral and written histories —especially when it comes to paranormal activity. Oral histories are not taken as seriously, but if they are written down, people tend to believe them more.”
Through the series, Thompson is trying to verify oral histories through paranormal investigations.
“There is no hard evidence that this really happened,” Thompson said. “The company may have tried to cover it up to make it not a bad situation for them. What we want to do is find evidence that it did happen.”
In the other five episodes in the first season of the series, Thompson wants to travel to other sites around the U.S. that have paranormal stories. He would like Texas to be the starting point and then the cast and crew will make their way north.
“So the story is an investigation and a road trip,” he said.
Also, Thompson noted that there is will be a difference between the first and second episodes that viewers may notice, as Roane went by the name “Selena” in the first episode.
“There is a physical difference,” he said. “The fact that he is transgender may be mentioned from time to time, but it is not a part of the storyline of the show. He started his transition after we shot the first episode. But the fact that he is transgender is not being hammered into people.”
To see the first episode of the series, search for “Spirit Quest” at amazon.com.