Boston’s John Beaton Hill has just walked away with the Chris Brinker Award at the San Diego Film Festival for his upcoming crime thriller “The Wolves of Savin Hill”. How does a former athlete from Boston become the toast of the independent filmmaking community? Perseverance and perfectionism.
How did you celebrate?
Thank you… They had an amazing reception in La Jolla at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Meeting with other Award winner’s Eli Roth, Michelle Monaghan, Alison Pill and Alan Arkin… It was a great… Just awesome. It was a truly memorable night, not just for myself but the cast and crew as well… My ears are still ringing when my name was announced and Suzanne Willard one of the cast members was sitting right next to me… Jumped up screaming like we just won the lottery. All the cast and crew members, just went airborne… I or course was in shock. And then I had, what felt like the longest walk to the stage. I thought I was going to faint… Seriously.
I think about Chris a lot and this Award… It’s unfortunate that he passed away so young. He was a good guy, talented filmmaker…
Was it Tom Berenger that presented you with the award? That would’ve made it all the more surreal?
Yes…! He could not have been kinder… He is such an awesome person! Chris’ last film “Bad Country” which Tom was in, was also in the San Diego Film Festival and as he was talking about Chris and his great talents, you could feel it in his speech… Let’s just say…it was increadibly moving. You could feel it in the audience. Seriously…
And as Tom was introducing the Award… It felt like everything got so quiet to me, I got nervous. I did… I did not know what to expect. Then, he looked out into the audience and announced my name. I was like…what…? I was the deer in a headlight my friend. Totally, totally unexpected… I turned to Sean Ireland, producer on the film and I was like, “oh my God, this cannot be happening…” And as I’ve said, cast and crew members were going wild… It felt like everything was moving in slow motion… It was an amazing experience to be part of that moment. I will never forget. You have to understand, we really just finished the film, right up until the festival… So, everything felt like…an out of body experience for me. I did not know how the film would be received… We shot this low budget, independent film that…people really loved, they really responded to it. Surreal…? Yes. Very much so…
Where in Boston did you grow up?
Milton. Went to Milton High School… Go Wildcats!
When did Hollywood come calling?
There is no doubt that things did change for me that night. It definitely opened up doors for all of us working on the film… All I can say is that you have to be prepared and you have to love what you do. Believe me, dedication and hard work always find a way…
How long had you been trying to get Wolves of Savin Hill up?
I think the overall process was about two, two and a half years. But also during the writing and filming I had surgeries. Complements of the sport of gymnastics, but that’s another story… I had a spinal fusion in my neck and both shoulder were in bad shape… Seriously needed repair. I’m so grateful that I had them done. Otherwise, I can’t imagine… I just now feel like I’m physically healthy were I can go out and do what I love. Which is makings films…
Where did it film? It has some Boston connections – besides yourself – right?
We shot the majority of the film in LA and I think only a few days in Boston. We got some great locations shooting in town around Kenmore Square and at the Quincy Quarries.
Many of us on the film are from back home… Sean Ireland one of the producer’s is from Springfield and went to Harvard, and actor’s David Cooley is from Northampton, Brian Scannell is from South Boston and Paul Carafotes is from Somerville. I think we got Boston or at least Massachusetts covered.
Damon and Affleck are always trying to get movies up about Boston or characters associated with Boston, do you have a Boston-specific movie you’d like to make one day?
I have a few ideas. It would be a dream to shoot a feature in Boston. It will always be home for me.
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YBcRPmem_M