BY ERIN MAHER
“Is it a man in a costume? Is it a bear? Or is it all in his head?” is the tagline that leaves the audience curious for answers for the new film, “Frostbite,” written, filmed, and directed by Rockland resident Bridget Machete.
Machete, 22 of Pearl River graduated NYU’s film school in 2012, and cites Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola as her directorial idols. “Frostbite” is her first post-grad project.
“Frostbite” is an independent film about a schizophrenic teen battling to uncover the truth behind an urban legend. Jake Elomaa, the film’s protagonist, and his family relocate to Finland. While in Finland, people are being murdered from what people suspect is a yeti. After Jake learns that this ‘yeti’ is merely a man in a mask and costume, he must prove to people the yeti is a hoax, while fighting against their prejudical notions that he is crazy. After uncovering the truth about the yeti, it also leaves the mystery of who is responsible for the brutal deaths in the village.
Machete wrote “Frostbite” a year ago, and finished the script before filming began this past January. In addition to writing the film, Machete has been the power house in fundraising, recruiting, and promoting the film.
As an independent filmmaker, Machete has relied on the funds from a private investor based in the Hudson Valley, as well as money she has raised from making a fundraising web page, to support the film. Machete also relied on friends and family, who served as actors, extras, aides, and even composed original music from the movie. The song, “Jake’s Theory,” featured in the film, was written by Machete’s boyfriend, Vinny Iuspa.
Machete posted casting calls for actors and actresses on Craigslist, the Hudson Valley Film Commission, and other recruitment websites. She also relied on past acquaintances and contacted a girl she had a dance class with years ago that she did not keep in touch with to see if she still acted and would be interested in being in the film. Her resourceful paid off and her former fellow dance peer appeared in the film.
“Frostbite” is set in America as well as Finland, but Rockland served as a great backdrop for both countries. As a Rockland native, Machete’s knowledge of the area aided her in scouting locations to shoot, “I know the area really well. There are American influences everywhere, and if you look hard enough, there’s a lot of European-style buildings.” Machete’s home in Pearl River was a prime location for many scenes in America. St. Augustine’s elementary school was transformed onscreen as a high school in the film, and the Palisades Community Center was the stage for a town meeting in Finland.
To film, Machete had to receive permission from the locations where she filmed, wrote up contracts, and secured insurance. Not all places were eager to let her film, however. Machete cites being denied filming a major challenge she faced, along with actor reliability to show up on time. Machete maintains Frostbite’s Facebook, Twitter and web pages. She has taken on a tremendous amount of responsibility, and while the work is hard, it is surely rewarding, “I’m enjoying every minute of it. There’s definitely a lot of stress, but it’s more enjoyable than stressful.”
Enjoy Machete’s newest film, and find out the real story of the yeti at the film’s Rockland premier on June 15 at 1 p.m. at The Nyack Center on 58 Depew Ave in Nyack. Tickets are $5. For more information, visit www.frostbitethefilm.com.