When first-time feature writing and directing duo Nicky Cassidy and David Rice started making their micro-budget revenge thriller Fallen Drive, they didn’t have enough money to fund it all.
So, they decided to get creative using only what they had.
“We were living in a s—ty apartment. We had jobs as caterers and no money to shoot a feature. But we just decided, let’s take it one step at a time and write something that takes place in one location, because that’s probably all we can afford to do,” Cassidy tells MovieMaker.
Now, Fallen Drive is scheduled to make its world premiere at Cinequest Film Festival in August.
But in order to raise the initial funds they needed to get started, Cassidy’s younger brother donated $10,000 from his college fund to the project. Plus, Cassidy’s girlfriend — Maryana Dvorska, who also acts in the movie — raised another $10,000 by selling workout plans on Instagram that Rice helped write, using his skills as a personal trainer.
With $5,000 from Cassidy’s own pocket, the team had enough to start shooting.
Perhaps the key to making it all work was Cassidy’s mindset of taking action now and figuring out the rest later. In fact, he wasn’t sure how he was going to find the money to pay his crew until he ended up booking the role of Spoons in the Peacock original series The Girl in the Woods the day after he wrapped filming on Fallen Drive.
“I was like, let’s say yes to anything at this point, and then I’ll figure it out later,” Cassidy said. “And it worked.”
What is Fallen Drive about?
Fallen Drive follows the story of a pair of high school sweethearts who decide to take revenge on one of their former classmates at a 10-year high school reunion. The resulting film blurs the lines between victim and perpetrator in a way that will have you questioning who to root for.
For Rice, who is Cassidy’s cousin, Fallen Drive is a dream fulfilled.
“It’s something that we’d both been striving towards for a long time. Since we were kids, we’d shot little short films in the summer and talked about our filmmaking aspirations, and when I moved to L.A., we started shooting short films on iPhones and cheap cameras,” he said. “From those beginnings to being on a set with a professional crew shooting a story that we’d created together felt like a special moment and a huge step forward.”
And with only one location to shoot the whole movie, Rice says he and Cassidy had their work cut out for them.
“The main challenge for the writing process was having to construct the story around our limited budget and location. I find it very challenging to have preset limitations when writing, which can already be a difficult task at times. It definitely can put my imagination in a box when most of the things that first come to mind are not an option due to budget,” Rice said.
“I find that it can, however, drive the writing process forward once you get past the initial restrictions. You have limited pieces so you have to make them fit together in an interesting way, which forces creativity.”
They liked the idea of writing a movie about revenge.
“What could have happened that would be triggering 10 years later, that would make someone want to come back and take revenge? That was kind of our jumping-off point,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy stars in the film as Liam, the high school classmate against whom sweethearts Reese (Phillip Andre Botello) and Charlie (Jakkie Jandrell) set out to exact their revenge. Dvorska plays Ivy, another former classmate who has her sights set on Liam despite the fact that he’s engaged to someone else. It comes as no surprise to Reese and Charlie when Liam doesn’t try to resist Ivy’s advances.
But Reese and Charlie start to waver when Liam’s younger brother, Dustin — in a very strong performance by Donald Clark Jr. — throws a wrench in their plans.
Cassidy produced Fallen Drive, with Cassidy’s brother Cash Cassidy and Cassidy’s father, MovieMaker founder Tim Rhys, serving as executive producers alongside Dvorska and Edwin Kho. Yelena Krivosheyeva serves as associate producer, with Kelly McPherson, Doug Millar, and Rice as co-executive producers.
Harvest Moon‘s Josua Fischer served as the cinematographer on Fallen Drive, with music by Filippo Landi, film editing and visual effects by Kenji Ito, and production design by Kathryn Forrest.
Main Image: Phillip Andre Botello and Jakkie Jandrell have an intense conversation in Fallen Drive courtesy of Nick Cassidy.