Westport – Over the past 20 years, Vincente DeSanti has gone from Standard Times Athlete of the Year 2002 to the title “Mr. Friday the 13th” for his fan thriller Don’t Walk Alone.
“In sports, I’ve always worn 13 against my football or baseball number…it was all 13,” said DeSanti, 38.
The Westport local said he lived near a pond, which he thought was the perfect hiding place for Jason Voorhees, the killer villain of the “Fridays 13” series. He said, “I loved horror movies. I grew up watching all of Jason’s movies.”
“As I got older, that was what really drove me to want to work in cinema because I just wanted to know how to make these films.”
In 2017, DiSanti attended Worcester State University and majored in TV and Film Production. After graduation, a friend invited him to Los Angeles to help with the visual effects team on the set of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”.
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“I was getting Chinese food for all the artists who made Brad Pitt look like an 80-year-old,” DeSanti joked.
His goal was to make his way through the industry and eventually stumble upon the “Friday the 13th” project. However, the franchise hit a wall around the same time.
“It’s been in development for nearly eight years, as they keep canceling movie after movie and getting back to the drawing board,” he said.
So, instead of waiting, DeSanti decided to make his own movie.
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“I kind of got tired of waiting, and I was like, you know, I’m going to have fun and do it myself,” he said.
He set up a production company called Womp Stomp Films and started hanging out with director friends on the weekends, riding a truck on Fridays, driving into the mountains of California, and taking photos and film shoot scenes, with DiSanti wearing his punk Jason Voorhees outfit.
Then, the group stumbles across an abandoned camp, as if from a killer movie in the ’80s. “It was a horror movie of its own,” DeSanti said.
“Working as a freelance film director, you don’t get great sets, and you don’t get access to a lot of things.”
He said the place is where the fan movie “Never Hike Alone” was born.
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Produce a movie for fans that does not infringe any copyright issues; In fact, it falls under the fair use law of copyright as long as it is clear that the filmmakers are making a movie for fans as part of the official title or logo.
The movie can raise money, but it can’t make a profit. The money made through fan films usually goes to a charity or goes back to another budget for the production of fan films in the future.
There are also some additional rules that are a case-by-case basis for a fan movie being made, such as not being able to use actors from the original movie. However, DiSanti said the creators behind the “Friday the 13th” franchise are very comfortable with more restrictions. For example, in the movie DiSanti Fans, actor Tom Matthews, who appeared in “Friday the 13th, Part Six”, made a cameo.
Show fan movie
In 2017, the 55-minute film premiered on the Telluride Horror Show during Friday, October 13, launch day. DeSanti said he was nervous. “We didn’t know if that concept would translate because it wasn’t a body count movie,” he said, adding that there weren’t any girls running topless or bloody death scenes with tons of fake blood.
“For me, I just wanted to make ‘Friday the 13th’ that was scary again, make Jason scary again and focus on that.”
The movie was an overnight hit with amazing reviews like the book “Birth Movie Death”, “It’s a well-made product for someone who truly loves, understands and fears Jason Voorhees.”
Dead Dead Viral YouTube channel, known for its “death toll” videos of films with comedic narration by host James A. Janis, has reviewed the “Never Hike Alone” that has raised their movie viewers into the millions.
Currently, the fan movie has a total of 3.5 million views.
Shortly after its premiere, the “Friday the 13th” franchise hit another hurdle when Paramount canceled its planned movie after the previous horror movie “The Ring Two” failed at the box office.
“They looked at Friday the 13th and said, ‘You know, we’re not making a $25 million bomb. They canceled Friday, the 13th,'” DeSanti said.
Then in 2019, the future of the franchise received another huge hit when it was sued for copyright claims by original screenwriter Victor Miller.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, there is a provision in the copyright law that allows authors, after a 35-year wait, to recover copyrighted material by terminating grants. They’ve been in litigation ever since.
Hence, DiSanti has taken this yet another opportunity to continue turning fan films onto crowdfunding sites to raise $200,000 to budget for their next movie.
But just as they were about to start production in California, the pandemic happened.
“We got into this pandemic, we didn’t really know what was going on, and I had three more movies planned, but I was stopping them until we knew more about what was going on,” she said.
At the ‘Finestkind’ set in New Bedford
In 2022, DeSanti returned to Westport to be with his family. “I wanted to have some quality time at home because I’ve been away from home for 14 years,” he added.
Upon his return, he heard that “Finestkind” would be filming in Fairhaven and was able to cast him as a production assistant.
“It was a breath of fresh air,” DeSanti said. “It felt like I was on set in Los Angeles but I was in my backyard.” “And that’s what I’ve always wanted…that experience to be able to shoot here.”
He said it was great to watch Academy Award-winning director Brian Helgeland work with his team. “When you’re observing the work of these people, you’re watching efficiency happen at the highest level, you can take this nugget of information and then pass it on to your smaller group.”
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DeSanti said he would like to discover more local filmmakers in the South Coast region. “I want to meet all these people,” he said. “When people start working together, they want to stay together and keep those teams that work together for as long as they work.”
He hopes to start producing other projects in the area and hopes to put it on the map as a place to come and film.
At the moment, DiSanti will be releasing another movie for fans, “Never Hide from the Snow,” as well as returning to Los Angeles in the spring of 2023, to begin filming a sequel to “Never Hike Alone.”
On June 5, Womp Stomp Films announced that it is also collaborating with Mako Animation to present the first animated movie for fans of “Friday the 13th”, titled “Ghost in the Fog”.
“If someone has a passion to do something in their life, don’t wait, just do it, find out, and find the people who will go with you on that journey,” DeSanti added.
“I wanted to do something, and I just go for it and see where it takes me. And he took me here. I love him.”
Standard-Times team writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: Tweet embed. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.