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Garden of Gore

Filmmakers hope Spring Garden will bloom this Fall


An innocuous apartment around the corner from the Boise Co-op looks like any other building in the North End. But on June 13, the body of a girl was splayed out awkwardly on the living room floor. Blood ran from a stab wound on her neck and soaked into the white rug. Hunched figures stood impassively by, just watching.

"Do we need more blood?" someone asked.

The room was serving as the main set for the local independent short film Spring Garden, a psychological thriller about a man suffering from paranoia and blackouts who finds dead bodies piling up in his apartment.

The film began as an original short story by local writer Matt Shelar, and soon developed into a joint project between Shelar and director Jake Fullilove. Though both are students at Boise State University, the project isn't a student film.

Shelar cites director David Fincher as his primary inspiration.

"I started writing it with Fight Club in mind, and then I watched Seven. That really helped me develop from the original story," Shelar said.

"We went through 150 pages of script," added Fullilove. "We've only had this version for a couple of weeks."

The team found its producer, Craig Lew, after hearing him give a talk for Boise Cutters, a local filmmaking community. Lew has a strong film background, having worked on multi-million-dollar projects and even done consultation work for Steven Spielberg.

"Jake came up to me afterwards, and we ended up talking until 1:30 a.m.," said Lew. "He impressed me. He was technically talented, but also I just got a sense that he had some great creative vision."

Director of photography Skip Armstrong also has an impressive resume, with experience working for National Geographic, The Associated Press and Vimeo, among others.

"I had no idea that there was such a busy filmmaking community here. ...There's a lot of insight, and everyone's really psyched to get together and push filmmaking in the Treasure Valley," said Armstrong.

In addition to working with these more experienced crew members, Fullilove and Shelar also brought some fellow rookies onboard, like art director and associate producer Cassandra Lewis.

"Originally I was just supposed to be the dead girl for the poster, then they wanted me to do makeup, then they discovered I really enjoyed artwork as well, so they asked me to help with the art direction," she said.

Lewis brought a subtlety to the visual aesthetics that pushed it beyond gore. She also cited Psycho as a creative inspiration.

"I like the mystery behind it," she said of Spring Garden. "That's a little bit more of what I'm into instead of just, 'Let me chop your limbs off.'"

Spring Garden is being produced with the festival circuit in mind, though Fullilove wants Boise to share as much credit as the crew.

"We're not hoping to make any money back on it, which is why I funded it myself," Fullilove said. "The purpose is to make an incredibly visually aesthetic film, and other than that, we hope to take it to festivals in America and get our names out there, and get Boise's name out there."

Spring Garden is currently in post-production, with an anticipated fall release date. To follow the film's progress, visit