February 29, 2020.
It was a special night for the cast and crew of Reaper Island Part II. I was able to rent the historic Palace Theatre in my hometown of Seguin for the evening. This very place was a one of Seguin's special treasures, and before King Ranger Theatres (now known as the Hometown Cinemas King Ranger 9) opened in 2000, the Palace was Seguin's place to go to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster after the closing of both the Texas Theatre (now reopened by The Seguin Conservation Society) and the Dixie Drive-In (which was eventually torn down).
Earlier in the month, the film had its first selection (and world premiere) at Slash Night, a showcase of independent grind-house style films in Bremerton, Washington. Even though I was not able to go to the event in Bremerton, I was informed by the festival director that the film had a great reception, and the audience loved its mixture of horror, action, and humor.
I was even able to advertise it in the local paper, and even got together with Special Kids with Special Needs, a local charity group I'm a part of that aided families with children with developmental and medical disabilities, to have all the money that was made that evening go to them. I even decided to have the film be a double bill with Reaper Island: Redux for added flavor.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. I was an absolute train wreck. We all got together, and despite there being about 15 people that attended, the film had a great reception. After the quick Q&A and cleaning up the Palace, the cast and crew went to celebrate the occasion (and have its long awaited wrap party) at Olive Garden.
Soon after, COVID hit the nation.
Things changed drastically. Scheduled plans had to be cancelled. Events were either pushed back or cancelled as well, and several of the film festivals I submitted Reaper Island Part II in either pushed back their dates (some as far to next year) or held the events online.
However, this didn't stop the film from receiving several accolades.
Reaper Island Part II ended up winning its first award (Best Horror Short) at the AltFF Alternative Film Festival in mid-March, and received its first Semi-Finalist ranking at the Couch Film Festival soon after. In April, the film won Special Mention at Global Shorts in Los Angeles, and it soon got a total of five nominations at two different film festivals in May. In early June, the film received its first review from the Rome Independent Prisma Awards, and soon after, Marianna Reimer won Best Young Actress at the Hollywood Blood Horror Festival. Finally, just as recent as last week (the same day part two of this series was posted), Zachary Hudson won Best Cinematography at the Continental Film Festival in Toronto, and the film won Best Horror Short at the Royal Wolf Film Awards.
As of now, the film is still in its film festival run, and its sequel (Reaper Island Part III) has been shot and still being worked on for a hopeful 2021 release.
I honestly can't explain how much happiness and joy I have for what happened from the day that Reaper Island: Redux got accepted to the 2018 Austin Indie Fest and found its audience there to me rising out of the ashes like a phoenix with a sequel that I never originally wanted to make but so anyway. The only people I can thank are those who have supported me along the way.
To watch the official trailer of Reaper Island Part II, please feel free to click on this link.