Director sinking teeth into new film

Published 8:34 pm Thursday, August 12, 2010

Struber Productions shoots “Fang” in Buchanan. Photo submitted


Off the Water

Kurt Struss hasn’t slept much this past month, but he doesn’t seem to care.

The Buchanan independent filmmaker and owner of Struber Productions has been  working 20-hour days shooting his newest movie. For the past month, he and his crew have been filming in Buchanan and will finish up in early August.

He and his partner, Tom Zuber, have released three films since they established the film company in 2004, but their newest one has Struss especially giddy.

Struss is cautious in how much he will reveal about the vampire movie, titled “Fang,” mainly because it’s a concept he has never seen done before.

He describes it as “a suspenseful, stylistic horror movie.”

“The genre we are doing has not been done before and we’re kind of protective of it,” he said.

Struss would say the movie is not a traditional vampire flick, maybe to the disappointment of teenage girls caught up in the “Twilight” saga.

“It relies heavily on Eastern European spectral lore,” he said. “We did months and months of research on the Eastern European background of the vampire legend.”

Struss said the script, which was written by Zuber and his brother John Zuber, is “phenomenally good.”

Because they were so confident in the script, they pulled the trigger on bringing in a professional, Hollywood-style film crew for the first time in one of their movies.

Besides the high production quality, Struss believes movie-goers will appreciate the character development.

“The compelling thing is the characters have depth,” he said. “People will project themselves into these people. You want to be these people and live in that world.”

The film has drawn acting talent from throughout the Midwest, including a few South Bend and southwest Michigan actors and actresses, along with dozens of local extras.

Why Buchanan?

Struss, a LaPorte, Ind. native, has lived in Buchanan with his family for several years.

He thinks it’s a perfect location for shooting films.

“Buchanan, being so close to Lake Michigan, is the perfect home base. We’ve got rivers and streams and beautiful locations,” he said.

Struss said the community has been extremely accommodating when his crew is filming.

“(Buchanan) has taken us under their wing,” he said. “There hasn’t been a person in this town who hasn’t opened their doors to us. I think that is really rare.”

Struss has a big vision for Struber Productions and hopes Buchanan will become the hub of a big independent film movement in Michigan.

“Michigan has the largest tax incentive program in the country right now,” he said. “If we can band together and get everybody on board, I see Struber Productions being the largest independent film company in the country. That’s what we want.”

‘It’s in my blood’

Struss has always had a love for the cinema.

“I had a camera in my hand at age 7,” he said. “I was in the backyard shooting movies of my own.”

Although Struss has always had a passion for films, he said “you get away from things.”

“After doing several other things, I got back to this,” Struss said. “I always was intended to do this.”

Moviemaking certainly is in his blood. Struss’ great uncle, Karl Struss, won two Academy Awards for Cinematography and was nominated for several more during his career from the 1920s through the 50s.

It’s that passion for movies that has Struss, who is also employed by the County of Berrien to work with at-risk youth, working nonstop on “Fang.”

“People are busting their cans to tell this story,” he said. “There’s going to be a big buzz about it.”

“Fang” is set to be released in early 2011.

For more information about “Fang” or Struber Productions, visit For trailers of the film, check out the Struber Productions Facebook fan page.