Movie News & Reviews

Hollywood comes to Fresno as ‘The Gallows’ premieres at Maya Cinema

Actress Pfeifer Brown, left, photo bombs a photo with directors Chris Lofing, center, and Travis Cluff during a red carpet event for the movie "The Gallows" at the Maya Cinemas in Fresno Tuesday.
Actress Pfeifer Brown, left, photo bombs a photo with directors Chris Lofing, center, and Travis Cluff during a red carpet event for the movie "The Gallows" at the Maya Cinemas in Fresno Tuesday. ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

The mix of stars, fans and paparazzi usually associated with a film premiere in Hollywood came to Fresno Tuesday. A red-carpet (or, in this case, black-carpet) debut of the low-budget horror film, “The Gallows,” was held at the new Maya Cinema Fresno 16. Invited guests filled two auditoriums.

“The Gallows,” filmed for a budget of approximately $100,000, was filmed primarily at Fresno’s Veterans Memorial Auditorium, with additional footage filmed at Selma and Madera high schools.

Among those in attendance were the movie’s two Fresno-based filmmakers, Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing, along with the four stars: Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos, Reese Mishler and Cassidy Gifford.

“The studio suggested we have a premiere screening in Fresno. If they hadn’t, we would have bugged them to do it,” said Cluff, the film’s co-writer and co-director. “Fresno is big when it comes to movies, especially this kind.”

The film looks at a high school in a small Nebraska town where a production of a period play, “The Gallows,” ended in tragedy 20 years ago with a student being killed. Three students decide to stop a new production but get locked in the high school with the school’s drama queen (Brown).

They are not alone.

Fresno is big when it comes to movies, especially this kind.

Fresno-based filmmaker Travis Cluff

Warner Bros. is distributing the film that opens nationwide July 10.

There have been numerous movies shot in Fresno but none have been given the kind of international release Warner Bros. is doing with this movie. And the movie is being released during the summer, going against major summer blockbusters like “Minions” and “Self/Less.”

Mayor Ashley Swearengin was on hand to proclaim June 30 “The Gallows Day” in Fresno. She said “The Gallows” is an incredible success story for the two filmmakers and the entire community.

“We have proven we can make top-notch entertainment here in Fresno and I have a feeling these guys are going to do it again and again,” the mayor said. “When we see local talent rise up and get the investment capital to make their film and then see it distributed, I think they are going to inspire many other filmmakers to do the same right here in Fresno.”

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355

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