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Small Film Company Screams for Attention

Hollywood movies are seen around the world and the industry, based in Los Angeles, is one of the biggest in terms of U.S. exports. But not all American films are big-budget Hollywood productions. Small-budget independent films are made all over the United States and some of them meet with worldwide success as well. VOA's Greg Flakus in Houston has a story about a couple who have turned their marriage partnership into a creative partnership, with some scary results.

They may not look very menacing. But this suburban married couple is responsible for several grisly murders.

Bill and Heidi Hughes are hoping to make a killing with a horror film they developed together, combining his talents as a veteran motion picture art director and her talents in business management. "She watches every frame of the film and makes sure that everything is perfect. I will let things go. I always feel like, 'That's good enough.' But nothing is ever good enough for Heidi."

Heidi says she just want it to be done right which is more important than just getting it done. Bill agrees that it works out pretty well.

Bill Hughes had a successful career as an artist working with some of the biggest directors in Hollywood, but he left that behind a couple of years ago to develop his own projects and tell his own stories.

"I did the visual part of the storytelling and that is why we really wanted to get into the moviemaking business because we can do the whole storytelling here. I am not just stuck on the two-dimensional plane, I am dealing with emotion and character and sound and the whole ball of wax."

But this is not just a hobby for Bill and Heidi. Their Big Tex Movin' Picture Company is a business and they wanted to make a film that would make money.

Heidi says Bill ran across key information searching the Internet. "Bill researched on the Internet what movie distributors were looking for and, as it turns out, they were looking for horror movies."

So, after doing research by viewing dozens of horror movies from their local video store, Bill and Heidi came up with their own story of vampires on the loose in Houston called "The Color of Blood."

A key factor in such a film is having a compelling central character with whom audiences can identify and they found her in local actress Sophia Martinez.

In the film, she plays a woman of Aztec descent who is drawn into the world of the occult. "Color of Blood has everything in it. It's comedic, it's drama, it's horror, it's suspenseful, It keeps you on your toes."

There is a huge fan base around the world for such films, many of which never go into mainstream theaters and find their audiences through specialty magazines and web sites.

Bill says he plans to make his film reach wider audiences. "We are designing this film so that it can be translated into different languages and be sold overseas, hopefully, in all sorts of different markets."

As to why these films are popular, Bill and Heidi have also given that some thought. "Number one, it is a cheap thrill. You can watch it and get your adrenalin flowing without actually being in danger yourself, and number two -- and this is not my theory but something I heard somebody else say (Bill, behind, grins and points to himself) -- young people like it because they are flirting with mortality."

Bill and Heidi Hughes are confident they can turn a profit with this film and use the skills they have developed to make even more monster hits.