April 18, 2014

Success on the big Screen

Ti man gains fame with 'The Den'

TICONDEROGA — Since Ticonderoga native Zachary Donohue directed his first commercial film, “The Den,” he says he can’t imagine doing anything else for a living.

The low-budget horror film has four out of five stars on the Apple iTunes Store, and Donohue says he’s pretty happy with the accolades it’s getting.

Now a resident of Los Angeles, he said first films usually don’t get the kind of attention “The Den” is racking up.

“The whole movie takes place on the computer screen,” he said in an interview with the Press-Republican recently. “It’s part of the ‘found footage’ subgenre of horror. It hasn’t been done too much.”

The subgenre includes films like “The Blair Witch Project.” In the case of “The Den,” the entire movie is shown from the point of view of its heroine’s computer screen, usually split between her own web feed and that of her video chat partner.


Donohue said “The Den” played in theaters in LA and New York City for a while.

“Now it’s going to be bouncing around the country in small independent theaters.”

The film is distributed by IFC Midnight and is available for paid viewing on iTunes, Time-Warner Video On-Demand and Amazon Video.


Donohue scored a coup in getting Canadian actress Melanie Papalia of “American Pie: Book of Love” fame to star in “The Den.”

“She’s pretty well known for the Canadian series ‘End Game,’ but a lot of people here didn’t know what it was,” Donohue said. “We auditioned her, and she was the best one.”

Papalia turned out be a good choice, he said.

“This is her first lead role. She was awesome. It’s her breakout.”

The film’s plot concerns a woman, played by Papalia, who gets a grant to explore users’ habits on a video-chat site called The Den. Soon after digging into the site’s secret areas, she discovers live webcams showing people being gruesomely murdered. She investigates further, and things spin out of control.

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