LISBON — In a parking lot on Main Street Sunday, a man carrying a bullhorn walked actors, crew members and three parkour stuntmen through a scene, something about wendigos pulling people from vehicles.

The man with the bullhorn was Seth Roberts of Turner, director of the zombie film, “Frost Bite” by Killatainment Films.

“We’ve been developing the script for quite a while,” Roberts said, “It’s gone through several revisions. You write and write and rewrite, and hopefully you’re happy with your story.”

Once you’ve developed your story, Roberts said, you get right to work on locations, sets, costumes — all of the things that make a movie what we go to see in the theater.

“We have distribution offers,” Roberts said, explaining that after post-production work on the film, they will return to those who made offers to negotiate.

Roberts said his first major film was “How to Kill a Zombie” with Freight Train Films, where he was the assistant director.


Characterizing the town of Lisbon as “very generous,” Roberts said the town agreed to various shooting locations, including Chummy’s Mid Town Diner and the Lisbon Police Department. The town even offered to close off Main Street for an evening of shooting, providing the movie company, Killatainment Films, got proper insurance.

“Waiting for the businesses to close so that we’re not interrupting with local business is very important,” Roberts said as the daylight faded. “Now we’re going to make this place look like zombie hell.” 

Producer and founder of Killatainment Films Alan Dillingham of Durham said his company has been around for about a year, with “Frost Bite” being their first full-length film.

Originally from Portland, Dillingham said, “I got out of the Navy and I needed somewhere quiet to go.”

“It’s a supernatural, zombie-creature horror movie,” Dillingham said, “It’s very unique.”

What makes it a twist on the zombie genre?


“The zombies,” Dillingham said. “They’ll be slow, they’ll be fast. They’ll creep you out. They’ll scare you.”

Dillingham said one of the unique factors in the film is the cause — relying not only on a mysterious virus, but on a native curse — but he didn’t want to give too much away.

The crew hopes to wrap shooting “Frost Bite” by the summer, according to Dillingham.

One of his ambitions for the film is to “pretty much kind of let people outside of Maine know we can do big films.” Dillingham noted how even productions that take place in Maine quite often are not filmed here. He said he wants to be part of the solution.

Nearby, actors James Paine of Madison and Benjamin McClean from Monmouth waited in the cold with other crew members for shooting to begin.

Paine and McClean play brothers Mat and Danny in the movie.


“My character’s kind of the strong, silent type,” Paine said of his portrayal of older brother Mat.

Paine described Mat as an Army veteran home from the war.

“He’s kind of that hometown-hero kind of guy who’s never been real comfortable with that.

“He’s just trying to live an everyday, normal, small-quiet-hometown life,” Paine explained, “and all of a sudden, he’s in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.”

Paine, a stage performer and regular at Lakewood Theater and Restaurant for about eight summers, has also acted at the Waterville Opera House and Gaslight Theatre in Hollowell.

“There’s quite a lot that Maine has to offer for actors,” Paine said, adding he hopes this film will hope to promote independent film in Maine and possibly get more people out to local theaters.


Paine also had a bit part in the movie about Don Fendler, “Lost on a Mountain in Maine.”

McClean, who plays Paine’s brother, Danny, said his character is a “little different than Mat.”

“He’s a bit of a screw-up,” McClean said. “He’s probably mooching off of his older brother.”

McClean describes Danny as a childish troublemaker, foil to his hero brother, who finally gets to step up to the plate as the movie progresses.

“I’ve practically been acting my whole life,” the 20-year-old McClean said. “Before I was ever put on screen, I would do plays.”

McClean said that as a child, he would often play the lead in homeschool productions and Christmas plays.


He credits his father, Bill McClean, for helping him transition from stage to film acting. Bill McClean was on the “Frost Bite” set to coordinate stunts and weapons handling.

McClean said his father brought him to the set of “Empire Falls” to be an extra in the movie.

“That’s where I met Paul Newman and Helen Hunt,” McClean said.

“And when I say ‘met’ I mean, more like ran into the wrong tent, got embarassed and cried.” (McClean’s father later assured me that Newman and Hunt chatted with his son for about a half hour before showing him where he needed to be.)

“Recently, I was in ‘How to Kill a Zombie,'” McClean said. “I wrote it. I acted in it, and that’ll be coming out for the L/A Film Festival.”

Benjamin’s father, Bill McClean of Monmouth, who works nearby with Freight Train Films, was asked to come out and film. Although McClean was given a small acting part, his primary duties included fight and stunt choreography and weapons.


“I’ve been acting and doing stunts for 22 years,” McClean said, “mostly learned on the sets.”

McClean said his most recent work was on his son Benjamin’s film, “How to Kill a Zombie.”

McClean said the movie was chosen out of some 400 films to be included in the festival and currently has two nominations.

“Which is pretty exciting,” he said.

McClean said he has also worked on previous LAFF movies the previous two years with the award-winning, “You Can’t Kill Stephen King” and “Scooter McGruder.”

A veteran of projects of all sizes, McClean said his biggest project was as Ray Winstone’s photo and stunt double for the Mel Gibson film, “Edge of Darkness,” released in 2010.


McClean said he got to hang out on the set with Gibson and Winstone for eight days, an experience he said was “amazing.”

Don’t expect to hear any dirt about Gibson from McClean, though.

“I tell you, if you ever actually work with him, actually work with him, instead of just watching TV, he made everyone on that set — I mean everyone, even the grips — feel like they were a part of the team,” he said.

“He went out of his way to be nice to people, guys and girls,” McClean said. “There was never an issue on the set.”

After his work with Gibson, McClean said, “I got a call from People magazine — 25 questions from someone from People magazine — and every one of the questions was designed to get a bad-illicited response about Mr. Gibson.”

“I told her the truth,” McClean said. “He was super nice, a consumate professional, a gentleman, and I left it at that.”


McClean said he was thanked for his time, but told the magazine probably won’t use any of what he said.

“She was very polite for a dirt-digger,” he said.

Cinematographer Mark Hensley from Yarmouth was taking time off from his company Wicked Moose Productions to direct “Frost Bite.” He had started off as a photographer.

Hensley said, “I got into this four or five years ago, and just really enjoyed it. Since then, I’ve shot three other little feature films here in Maine,” he said, including “Early Gray,” “Dark Minds” and “Tangled 8.”

Hensley said, “I feel like I’m bringing a lot of the experience I’ve gained with a lot of these other films to this film.”

Going all out for scare factor, Hensley said that some members of the production crew visibly jumped while viewing some of the footage shot thus far.


Optimistic about the project, Hensley said the crew on “Frost Bite” have been great.

Working with the cast and crew for months at a time, Hensley said the family-feel that builds can lead to what he calls PSD or “post-set depression.”

“None of us are doing this because we’re actually getting rich,” Hensley said. “We do it because we really enjoy trying to make movies, and there’s always that dream that you may have that next ‘Blair Witch Project.'”

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