THE HOURS TILL DAYLIGHT
The Hours Till Daylight is a supernatural thriller about a south Texas Latino family that is haunted by a familiar spirit, an evil entity that has haunted their family generation after generation. The effects of the entity on family members can be traumatic and sudden, but is also felt through life-long despair and sadness.
As a child growing up in south Texas, I was fascinated by legendary ghost stories such as La Llorona (The moaning), Lechuza (screech owl), The Ghost Tracks of San Antonio, The Lady in White and many others. The allure of these terrifying stories and the way they were perpetuated through Latin American culture and Texas as a whole are woven into my psyche. Throughout my life I have experienced some supernatural phenomenon that I could not explain, my experience and research into these occurrences is what has inspired me to make The Hours Till Daylight. There are many documented instances of similar phenomenon all over the world and range from friendly to extremely hostile. It is possible there may be many—If not more—unreported cases due to the unsettling experiences of those afflicted.
Catholicism also underpins The Hours Till Daylight. Marco calls upon himself to discover how to disburden himself and his family from something he believes has been with them throughout their lives. Family is an important part of this story,the Vasquez family explore unimaginable tragedies, and there is question as to if this is caused by supernatural forces or if it simply the way of life. This is where I feel the real beauty of this film lies: How we rationalize tragedy and how we go forward. Whether one views these conflicts as man vs. beast or man vs. himself, the challenges are one and the same for Marco Vasquez, the protagonist of The Hours Till Daylight.
Family is an important part of this story, the Vasquez family experiences unimaginable tragedy. Yet there is a question as to whether these events have been caused by supernatural forces or is simply the way of life. I feel the real beauty of the film lies in this paradox: How we rationalize tragedy and how we go forward; whether one views these conflicts as man vs. beast or as man vs. himself. The challenges are one and the same for Marco.
The Hours Till Daylight is the first of my four feature films in which I have been the cinematographer in addition to writing, producing, directing and editing. This intensive immersion while working alongside some of my closest friends and family made this a deeply personal and memorable film making experience.
THE MAKING OF THE HOURS TILL DAYLIGHT
In the spring of 2012 I traveled from Portland, Oregon to my home town of Corpus Christi, Texas to make a film about the supernatural. Returning to Texas after living in the Northwest for seven years was an incredible experience.
Co-Producer Zachary Carter and actor/associate producer Quinn Allan accompanied me and were joined on this production by actors Vannessa Vasquez, Carlos Sepulveda, Dan Braverman, Sarah Johansson, and my nephew and niece Jonathan Carter and Auburn Taylor Thomas. We shot The Hours Till Daylight with a two-person crew, which on some days, grew to five with the help of two local interns.
We began our adventure in Austin, where we searched for shooting locations as well as the gear and materials to create our special effects. From the beginning our little film was met by serendipity.
A few calls led to a production designer named Steve Joyner (Kill Bill 1 & 2, Sin City, Jackie Browne) who, without pause, agreed to meet with me to discuss my film. We met at Robert Rodriquez’s Troublemaker Studios where Steve showed me how to achieve the effects I wanted for the film. He gave us access to the prop room where we found everything from break-away bottles (used on From Dusk Till Dawn) to a col- lection of every consistency of fake blood imaginable.
With the help of the Texas Film Commission we secured the Connor Estate in beautiful Bastrop, Texas. This property was owned by former Secretary of State Geoffrey Connor, who was kind enough to let us film on his property for four days. This was the same neighborhood where Austin filmmaker Terrence Malick filmed his movie The Tree of Life - a film that influenced my cinematography in this film.
Quinn, Zach and I worked tirelessly during the swift, twelve day shoot. At times we were so exhausted, we were falling asleep while filming a scene. Several work days spanned 24 hours and pushed us to the limit of our endurance. As the movie’s lone cinematographer, there were times I was strapped into the Steadicam for hours, gaff-taped audio receivers on my wrists. I remember chasing Quinn through the Conner Estate capturing final footage needed to complete the movie, it was early morning and we had just hours till our rental time came to an end.
Despite the challenges, our small crew was supported by a camaraderie and charmed synergy that helped us persevere and complete The Hours Till Daylight.
THANKS AND GRATITUDE
Our team did their best at every level of production to make The Hours Till Daylight a deep and moving film. I’m thankful for the heart that everyone put into this picture.
We spent almost three years in post-production with the help of four different editors: Ben Slavens, Murad Amayreh, and myself, with Jared Yanez acting as the overall editor.
Visual effects gurus Josh and Zach Persson worked on the special effects for close to a year and a half-creating one of the most critical elements of the movie: The signature look of the entity. Seasoned special effects supervisor Sam Treadway helped us complete principal shooting before we left Texas.
Sound engineer/mixer, John Neff, is best known as David Lynch’s partner and sound engineer (nominated for an Oscar for his work in Mulholland Drive). John worked tirelessly to ensure this movie could compete with films in this genre with two to three times our budget. Skip VonKuske, founder/music director of the PortlandCelloProject.composed and performed the majority of the soundtrack for this film. His one day of studio work completely changed the dynamic of this film. Michael Morris of Dewolff Music improved the production quality of this film by providing classical music performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Zach Carter has been a true counterpart and the only person to work on this film from pre-production all the way through post. Quinn Allen, in addition to starring in the film also served as Associate Producer. Jeff Hammond also helped us along when we returned to Portland for our remaining shoots.
I am grateful for our actors:
To the star of the film, Quinn Allan, who shines in his role – and worked round the clock on site in Texas
To the very talented Vannessa Vasquez who is gaining deserved attention in her Hulu series East Los High
To Carlos Sepulveda who kindness and dedication still amazes me
To Sarah Johanson, one of the most present and consistent actors I have ever met
To Dan Braverman who is the perfect mix of one of the most frightening and beautiful people I know.
I’m grateful to my family, including my mother Alma Gloria Garcia (who played the part of Marco’s aunt) and my sister Marisa Thomas who helped us strive through production, and who along with the rest of my family, hosted the production and worked with us through twelve long days of principal photography.
And finally, a special thanks to my niece and nephew Auburn Taylor Thomas and Jonathan “Carter” Thomas. I expected I would teach them “acting” but instead they taught me how to completely lose oneself in character.
THE HOURS TILL DAYLIGHT SYNOPSIS
The Hours Till Daylight
Generation after generation, the Vasquez family has been haunted by a demonic entity. Now that Marco is a young man about to start a family of his own, the supernatural activity around him has intensified.
Marco seeks help from a man named Luis Ortiz - a Curandero - an indigenous shaman who serves the cartel in South Texas. Ortiz gives Marco a scroll with the instructions for a dangerous self-exorcism: Marco will only have a few hours to defeat the entity and there are dire consequences should he fail. Once Marco makes the decision to confront his tormentor, he only has until daylight to defeat the malevolent spirit. The Hours Till Daylight is inspired by true events that took place in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Generation after generation, the Vasquez family have been haunted by a demonic entity that has caused their family tragedy and despair. Now that Marco Vasquez is about to start a family of his own, the paranormal activity has intensified. In order to stop the curse from passing onto his son, he must confront the entity and destroy it.
The frightening and realistic tale of a man who must confront the terrifying entity that haunted him as a child by reaching out to a Mexican shamen who helps him prepare for battle against the ultimate evil.hort
THE HOURS TILL DAYLIGHT CAST
Auburn Taylor Thomas / Mari Vasquez
Auburn was born in Austin, Texas and currently lives with her family in Houston. She was 9 years old when the movie was filmed.
Auburn attends an inner city parochial school and in her free time enjoys drawing, fishing, hunting, riding horses and traveling. She also plays guitar and writes music and stories. Her passions are art, acting and exploring her faith.
Jonathan “Carter” Thomas / young Marco Vasquez
Carter was born in Austin, Texas and currently lives with his family in Houston. He was 11 years old when the movie was filmed.
Carter currently attends an inner city parochial school and in his free time he enjoys playing football and basketball. When he is not following college football, he can be found fishing or hunting with his sister Auburn Thomas. Carter’s passions are art, acting and sports. One day he hopes to own a Ferrari.
Quinn Allan / Marco Vasquez
Quinn began acting and filmmaking in high school, where he wrote and directed award-winning student films. In college he starred in the indie short, The Reader (2004), which won a San Diego Regional Emmy. Quinn began his own production company, Mongrel Studios, and has produced feature films, web shows, music videos, and commercials.
Upon moving to Portland, Quinn began acting in national commercials for companies such as Nintendo and Kroger. He has also been immersed in Portland’s independent film scene, appearing in feature films The Roomies (2011), Son of Evil (2013) and two other films by Jon Garcia - Tandem Hearts (2011), The Falls (2012). Quinn also guest starred on season three of NBC’s Grimm.
Quinn is represented by Option Model and Media for both acting and lifestyle modeling.
Dan Braverman / Luis Ortiz, The Curandero
Dan took up acting late in life. After the breakup of his hard rock band deprived him of the opportunity to make a fool of himself in front of an audience, Dan made up for lost time. He has appeared in over thirty features, TV series, pilots and shorts. He has held principle roles opposite stars such as Antonio Banderas, Meg Ryan, Colin Hanks, Nicolas Cage, and character actor Charles Durning (who assassinated Dan’s character in a Lincoln Continental). Dan also acted with pop star Jessica Simpson in a role requiring Dan to stare at her cleavage in the rear-view mirror of a New York City cab.
Dan resides in Galveston, Texas, with his loving and supportive wife, Holly, several affectionate, but rather stupid cats, and a demon.
Sarah Jannet Parish / Sarah
Sarah has worked as a professional actress since 2004 with her first role in an indie film River's End shot primarily in her hometown of Menard, Texas. Since then Sarah‘s film work has spanned vampires and apocalyptic worlds, to the history of outlaw country and folk music, to not-so-romantic comedies. Her most widely known role has been as Donna, a secretary on the critically acclaimed AMC series Mad Men.
Carlos Sepulveda / Sergio
Carlos has lived in three countries: Canada, Mexico, and the United States of America. He played collegiate baseball for both The University of Texas and Texas A&M University - one of only three players to have achieved that feat. He went on to play professional baseball for six years with the Florida Marlins (now known as the Miami Marlins). Carlos has earned a PhD in at Texas A&M University. He has been cast on Dallas and other independent and major motion pictures.
Vannessa Vasquez / Sarah Vasquez
Vannessa is an American actress of Mexican decent born and raised in Texas. At age six she began acting and directing little plays at her grandmother’s house. In sixth grade she read for the role of Becky in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and fell in love with the character. The following year she joined her first theater class and her passion for acting began. She flourished at the University of Houston where she studied theater and psychology and graduated with a BA in social sciences and liberal arts. She later went on to study on a granted scholarship at the Stella Adler Academy in Los Angeles. Vannessa has appeared in various national commercials, music videos, industrial videos and feature films. She stars in the new Hulu series East Los High, which is has brought in- ternational attention to her talent.
The Hours Till Daylight Crew
The Hours Till Daylight / Writer, Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Assistant Editor
Jon is an accomplished musician and filmmaker who lives in Portland, Oregon. He earned a BA in Film Studies with a minor in Women Studies at Portland State University. In 2009, Jon released his first film, Tandem Hearts, about Portland transplants and the local music scene. In 2012 his film The Falls was released and acquired international distribution. It screened at 25 of film festivals around the world. A year later, a sequel was released and once again received international attention. Both movies can be streamed on Netflix.
A proficient musician, Jon brings a strong musical vision to his films. He has recorded two studio albums which were well received in the UK circulating through BBC radio and acquired an international following.
Currently Jon is working on a series of novels which tell the story of the The Falls I and II and writing the screenplay for his next movie.
Jared Yanez is an artist and filmmaker based in Portland, Oregon. He is a founding member of Mongrel Studios, producing a diverse range of multimedia projects.