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"Hardcore Halbert makes a plant and a boy grow with heavy metal music. Even with its more sharp-edged elements of teenage rebellion, the film is warm in the same way that children’s literature about secret worlds is warm."


Hardcore Halbert - Trailer

Hardcore Halbert - Trailer

Hardcore Halbert

Director Riley Sweeney Lynch

Producers Maria-Sara Santoro & Max Pearce

Halbert is a sad young lad trying to tend to an ailing ficus plant. Despite his vigorous watering regimen, the ficus will not grow. One day, heavy metal music drifts over his neighbor's fence, causing a new leaf to sprout from the sapling. Halbert quickly picks up the music as a new passion. His mother, however, wants him to stop wasting time on his ever-rotating wheel of hobbies, and to focus on his future. Determined, Halbert commits to the metal music with the aid of his neighbor, Abby, and is not only able to make his ficus flourish, but himself as well.

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Hardcore Halbert was originally a very different story with the same heart: music can inspire and heal, no matter who you are. The plot changes were prompted by the advent of COVID-19 and the production shifting from in person to virtual. This entire production was accomplished with each member of cast and crew in their respective COVID bubbles, meaning no one was ever together in the same room nor on set, beside Joanne Whalley and Jack Kilmer who already live together as mother and son.

Our Director of Photography John Hanle pioneered a new way of controlling camera settings and focus from his house while the camera was on location with the actors, miles away from him. He achieved this by attaching the camera to a switcher that was connected to a laptop we gave the actors. Once connected to our Zoom set, our DP would then remotely access the actor’s laptop to control the camera from his own computer. We run our Zoom the same way we’d run an in person set, but courteously asking our on location actor to do a few things on our behalf once we delivered set deck and gear a week in advance to make sure everything quarantined properly.

We are grateful we had the opportunity to embark in this adventure even during these weird times, and we are really proud of Halbert’s journey and its message.

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