Christopher Cramer believes 2014 is going to be the most exciting year of his life, and it’s thanks to a movie.
The 27-year-old Nicktown native is set to premiere his first feature-length, independent film, “Moreau,” on Feb. 1 at Arcadia Theater in Windber.
It’s a project that’s been a few years in the making.
“There’s been bumps in the road, but to see all the pieces come together is awesome,” Cramer said. “I think this film will be huge springboard for my career.”
As a student at Northern Cambria High School, Cramer was involved in the school’s drama productions and intended to pursue a career in acting.
After graduating in 2004, he moved to New York City to study at the American Musical Dramatic Academy.
While there he segued from acting into stunt work, specializing in high falls and fighting.
It was during time spent at the Philadelphia Filmmaking Collective that Cramer branched out again, this time into film production, and explored directing.
“They take young filmmakers and put you outside of your comfort zone, so it was there I got into directing and behind the scenes work,” he said.
By then Cramer was splitting his time between New York City and Los Angeles while working on projects and had a couple of short films under his belt.
With the help of two partners, Cramer started Poke the Bear Productions LLC just over a year and a half ago, and the three started laying the groundwork for “Moreau.”
Cramer, the film’s writer, director and producer, said “Moreau” is a psychological thriller that follows a hunter in search of the perfect prey.
The character of Moreau is obsessed with Richard Connell’s short story “The Dangerous Game,” and like a character in the story, Moreau decides to become a hunter of humans. It becomes a race for survival for two women who are Moreau’s target.
“It’s an intellectual film from beginning to end and makes you think,” Cramer said.
Filming began on Oct. 17 and wrapped up 17 days later.
The picture was shot entirely in Cambria County at locations in Johnstown, Patton, Ebensburg, Wilmore and Nicktown.
“I wanted to film it locally because I wanted to show people that this can be done here,” Cramer said.
The film’s four actors are from New York City and Los Angeles, but locals were used as production assistants.
Area residents will have the first chance to see the 11/2-hour film at its premiere.
The formal affair will start at 6 p.m. at the historic theater, located at 1418 Graham Ave.
Moviegoers will be able to walk the red carpet and have their pictures taken.
The film’s production crew and actors will say a few words at 7 p.m. prior to the start of the film.
Tickets are $25 per person and include an 18-page program that details how the film was made from beginning to end.
For an additional $10, individuals will be able to attend the afterparty.
Cramer said he chose the Arcadia for the premiere because he wanted a place that would have the same glitz as a Los Angeles premiere.
“I wanted it to be really special and have that star effect,” he said. “When you walk into the Arcadia and see it, it’s absolutely gorgeous, so I knew we had to do it there.”
Proceeds from the event will be used to send “Moreau” to competitions such as the Cannes International Film Festival in France and the Los Angeles Film Festival.
Cramer plans to return to Los Angeles, where he’s working on two new scripts and a Web series.
His goal is to return to this area to film again.
“It depends on how the premiere is perceived, and if it’s good we’d like to come back in the fall and do another feature film,” Cramer said.
For more information on Poke the Bear Productions LLC and the film, or to order tickets for the premiere, visit www.poke-the-bear.com.
What: “Moreau,” first feature length, independent film by Christopher Cramer of Nicktown.
When: 6 p.m. Feb. 1.
Where: Arcadia Theater, 1418 Graham Ave., Windber.
Cost: $25 per person; additional $10 for afterparty.
Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/KellyUrban25.