‘Fang’ sinks teeth into audiences

Published 10:32 pm Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Struber Productions crew film scenes from “Fang” in Buchanan last year. A trailer for the movie is playing at Moore Cinema Theaters and will make a regional release sometime this month. The local film company is also in talks with film distributors for a wider release. Off the Water file photo

It’s been a long time coming for Kurt Struss.

But when the Buchanan independent filmmaker’s newest flick, “Fang,” hits the big screen this month, he can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

'Fang' movie poster

For Struss and his business partner Tom Zuber, who run Struber Productions, the film has consumed their lives for more than a year. For six weeks of the project, they were working 20-plus-hour days.

But now their moment has come.

A regional release is expected this month with screenings at all four Moore Cinema Theaters, including Wonderland Cinema in Niles. The trailer is currently running at the theaters.

Struss says “Fang” — Struber Productions’ fourth film —  is also generating buzz from major film distributors. He is in discussions with one distributor that could release the film to 270 screens nationally.

Struss is excited about the potential of his film being cast in a national spotlight, but he also finds fulfillment in just being able to watch the final product himself.

“It’s been so much hard work,” he said. “As artists, we have a hard time separating ourselves from the project. Now, we can sit and watch it and remove ourselves from the project and say, ‘this is a great movie.’”

“Fang,” which combines elements of street racing, vampire, Mafia and romance movies, is Struber Productions’ first attempt at a Hollywood-style production. Struss was able to nab Dave Rutherford, a cameraman with experience on major Hollywood productions, as cinematographer.

Struss brought a taste of Hollywood to small-town America, shooting in Buchanan and towns in Indiana and Illinois last year.

Locals may recognize Buchanan streets and landmarks in the film, including the interior of the old Clark Equipment factory. Struss said the city of Buchanan was accommodating when it allowed his crew to shoot street racing scenes in the middle of the night.

“Fang” may be competing with “Breaking Dawn,” the newest installment in the “Twilight” series, but Struss told the Star in an interview during filming last year that “Fang” is a completely new genre of vampire movie.

“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.”

The movie’s premiere took place this summer in Quincy, Ill., where the bulk of it was filmed. After the showing, filmmakers gathered with a focus group of viewers.

“We wanted to know what worked, what didn’t work, how was the story, how was the cinematography?” Struss said.

This led to some changes in the sound, music and length, leading to the final product that will soon be shown on the silver screen.

But Struss isn’t taking  much time to pat himself on the back. Struber Productions is  working on the script for new films, including a potential story about the haunted Rockcliffe Mansion in Hannibal, Mo.

“We spent a day and a half down there,” Struss said. “It’s a creepy, great story.”
Struss said he learned a lot throughout the experience of producing “Fang.”

“To go from working with people around the area to step up to a movie like ‘Fang’ was daunting,” he said.

“I had a hard time letting go of control, but you really have to.”