Local writer and director’s independent film “Baphomet” starts filming in Wilmington this week

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Promotional poster for “Baphomet” (courtesy of Alex Sinesi, art by Stu Schuckman)

WILMINGTON — The film incentives may be gone but the Port City still has an active film-making scene.

The independent thriller “Baphomet” starts shooting on Tuesday, Nov. 2., in Wilmington and the Cape Fear area. A cast and crew of Wilmingtonians will film throughout the month of November.

Writer and director Alex Sinesi said Wilmington is not just a backdrop but a place that made the film possible both artistically and logistically.

“I’ve found that there is an incredible wealth of talent in this city,” Sinesi said, “in terms of both actors and film crews, many of whom are interested in working on an independent level. They are making this film possible.”

This includes Hannah Elizabeth Smith, Sinesi’s lead actress. Smith, who lives in Wilmington, is a familiar face in the theater scene. She has performed as Carrie in City Stage’s musical adaptation of the classic horror and Lady Macbeth in Dram Tree Shakespeare Company’s “Macbeth.” She has also performed at Thalian Hall and several other Port City theaters.

Sinesi said Wilmington offered not just a variety of local talent but also a variety of locations. “We’ll be shooting at several local businesses as well as downtown, around Carolina Beach and in the Castle Hayne area, and the wonderful variety of locations has really allowed us to expand the scope of the film without travelling very far at all.”

Like many in the film industry, Sinesi was drawn to Wilmington by the North Carolina’s film incentive program which ended in 2014.

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Hannah Elizabeth Smith. (Photo courtesy of Hannahelizabethsmith.com).

“I came down here when the film incentive was alive and well to get some experience on big budget film and television sets,” Sinesi said. “That was invaluable but I quickly realized that I had to find my own way into the industry, and that meant coming up with a concept and story that I could produce myself.”

Sinesi transitioned into independent film, remaining optimistic about the future of Hollywood East. “It’s my hope that “Baphomet” isn’t just an isolated incident of indie film-making but rather one in a series of productions that keep the spirit of film alive in our town.”

Watch a teaser trailer for “Baphomet” here.