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June 24, 2011

Photo taken right after Travis Mills yelled "cut" on the final shot for his first feature film "The Big Something".

It’s been a very busy year for Guerrillastar member Travis Mills. He along with Gus Edwards founded Running Wild Films which is a film collaborative dedicated to providing the best storytelling in Arizona. They also brought on cinematographer Jason Cowan as a full-time member. Since then, they’ve been turning out shorts left and right. You can catch their work at their Vimeo page Running Wild Films. In addition to all that, Travis and Jason just wrapped on their first feature film “The Big Something“! The film was entirely shot in just fourteen days with a budget of only $2,000. Many people have asked Travis how a feature could be shot in such a short time especially given its practically non-existent budget. His response to them,

with determination and the good ole creative spirit. You see, my heroes did it in less time. Edgar G. Ulmer made the best Film Noir of all time, a masterpiece called Detour. And he did it in only seven days. That’s right, folks, seven days.

Kudos to the entire cast and crew of “The Big Something” for their serious accomplishment! My hat goes off to you!

Photo of the cast and crew of "The Big Something".

You can read more about “The Big Something” at their blog The Big Something which contains numerous posts documenting the film’s journey into creation.

Also, here’s a brief synopsis of the film that Travis provided,

Lewis is a loser-record-store-junkie. His boss has given him permission to sleep on the floor of the store. However one night when Lewis returns and opens the door, a startled cop yells at him to freeze. It’s then that Lewis sees his boss Marcus, lifeless on the floor. Marcus would never take his own life, but then who killed him?

The Big Something Teaser Trailer:

Guerrillastar Productions Releases “Bloody Basin” (2009) On Vimeo and YouTube!

March 1, 2011

Well we figured it was finally time to release our short film “Bloody Basin” onto both our Vimeo and YouTube accounts.

As we mention in previous posts “Bloody Basin” was an official selection of this year’s Arizona Underground Film Festival.

Written and directed by Dave Surber, “Bloody Basin” is a short film about four college students that fall victim to seemingly supernatural events after they desecrate sacred land while camping deep within the Arizona desert.

The film stars Gordon Clark, Amador Juarez, Emily Pelzer, and Danielle Snell. It was shot by Emmy-award-winning cinematographer Petr Cikhart and edited by Torsten Voss. Brandon Reader created the film’s original music score and it was produced by Julie Holman, Regan Letourneau, Travis Mills, and Dave Surber.

Thanks again to the entire cast and crew for doing a wonderful job! I couldn’t be happier with the way it came out.

Bloody Basin from Dave Surber on Vimeo.

Bloody Basin served as my short film capstone while attending ASU’s School of Theatre and Film.

It was originally slated as a four day shoot in the Arizona desert. However, during its third day of shooting the film suffered some major setbacks when we were hit by a severe thunder storm with torrential downpours (extremely bad news if you happen to be filming in a fifty acre dry wash). In fact, it was the largest storm recorded that year in that area. Crazy bad luck considering it rarely rains in Arizona. Especially in the month of February.

We did what we could to preserve the story and finish the piece, but the loss of a day and a half of shooting due to rain meant changing the script drastically in order to finish the film on time. To the crew’s credit we finished the film on time and it screened at ASU’s capstone screening in the spring 2008.

Unhappy with the forced changes, I returned into the desert a year later and re-shot parts of the film as it was originally scripted.

The version you are about to see reflects those changes and is very close to the film’s original shooting script.

I hope you enjoy our film! Please feel free to express your thoughts below. Oh and please feel free to share the film with others. We could use the exposure and feedback. Thanks!

A special thank you to all those who worked on this film. It was a long and at times painful journey, but I could not be more proud of what we created. I am forever grateful for your trust and support.


Dave Surber
Writer, Producer, Sound Editor, and Director of Bloody Basin

Full film credits at:

And for those of you who are interested you can anonymously rate Bloody Basin on its IMDb page at: literally takes 2 seconds and we could really use some honest ratings! Thanks!

Copyright © 2009 Guerrillastar Productions. All rights reserved.

more at:

If for some reason you’re having trouble viewing “Bloody Basin” on Vimeo please feel free to check it out on YouTube at:

Guerrillastar Productions Presents “The Ruffians” (2009) Now On Vimeo! (NSFW)

January 7, 2011

Well after a doing the whole festival thing with it we decided it was time to release “The Ruffians” online. The film was produced, written, and directed by Travis Mills. It stars Gordon Clark (Jim), Dani Danger (Kikei), and Dean Veglia (Boss/Bull). Dave Surber worked as both the director of photography and as a producer on the film. Much of “The Ruffians” was shot using 3 Panasonic DVX-100 cameras which were running simultaneously. To view a complete list of the cast and crew please visit either “The Ruffians” on Vimeo or “The Ruffians” IMDb page. Hope you enjoy the film! Feel free to let us know what you think. Thanks!

“The Ruffians” (2009) (20 MIN) (NSFW) (Please note: contains brief nudity and some strong language)

THE RUFFIANS from The Ruffians on Vimeo.

*Official selection Arizona Underground Film Festival 2010

“The Ruffians” and “Bloody Basin” Receive Some Praise From!

November 1, 2010

As we mentioned in a previous post, both of our films “The Ruffians” and “Bloody Basin” screened at this year’s Arizona Underground Film Festival. Turns out one of the festival’s attendees was Chris Coffel a writer for He saw both films and did a writeup for each on Here’s a little excerpt from the article he wrote entitled, “The Ruffians ventures into the underground”:

The Ruffians is a film that truly impressed me at the Arizona Underground Film Festival. The story is something most people should be able to relate to. We’ve all gotten to that point at one time another in our 9-5 job where we just want to get away and live the most simple life. That’s what I took away from this film, that Jim had finally hit that point… In just a short Mills was able to encompass many of the elements that make a quality film; mood, feeling, story, lighting, score, acting, location, casting, to name a few.  If The Ruffians is any indication, Mills is a name you won’t soon forget.

And, here’s a little bit from the article he wrote about “Bloody Basin” entitled, “Bloody Basin a killer short”:

The film is directed and written very well. The opening shots of the Arizona desert are gorgeous. As a fan of establishing shots, especially those that involve natural landscape and scenery, the opening sequence of Bloody Basin was right up my alley…. The story is perfect for the short film format and Surber did en excellent job of executing it on film…. All in all, Bloody Basin is a great little thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed. My eyes were glued to the screen throughout as I watched the fast paced plot unfold and come to an exciting, heart pounding conclusion. Oh, and I learned to never kill a coyote. Not bad, Surber, not bad at all.

Thank you Chris for your thoughtful reviews! We’re stoked that you dug both our films and we appreciate you taking the time to write about them on Not bad, Coffel, not bad at all!

You can find out more about “The Ruffians” and/or read Chris Coffel’s full article by clicking the links below.

Link to Chris Coffel’s full article “The Ruffians ventures into the underground” on

Link to Chris Coffel’s full article “Bloody Basin a killer short” on

Link to teaser trailer for “The Ruffians”

“The Ruffians” and “Bloody Basin” selected to screen in this year’s Arizona Underground Film Festival!

September 4, 2010

Well I gotta say it’s been a kick ass month for Guerrillastar Productions! We just found out not one, but two of our films were accepted into this year’s Arizona Underground Film Festival! Needless to say we’re super stoked about it. Congratulations to the entire cast and crew of both films on a job well done! HiPhOP!

For those of you unfamiliar with the festival, here’s some stuff that I snagged from their website:

Arizona Underground Film Festival is Arizona’s only premier underground cult film festival! Being a non-profit film festival, we make it our sole mission to showcase the work of filmmakers with defiantly independent visions. We are on a quest to represent every genre of independent film from across the world celebrating the artist, and their work.

Now in our third year we are taking Arizona by storm with screenings in both Tucson and Phoenix during the week of Sept 18th to 25th. This 8 day festival will cover categories from Narrative, Horror, Documentaries, Experimental, Animation, and we are proud to be the only festival to offer an Exploitation category. Join us in the underground!

We will be giving out awards to the best feature and short for Narrative, Horror, Experimental, Animation, Documentaries, and Exploitation.

– The Arizona Underground Film Festival

If you are interested in seeing our films play in the festival, Both “The Ruffians” and “Bloody Basin” will be screening on Thursday Sept. 23rd 7pm at Madcap Theaters in Tempe, AZ. The films will take part in the festival’s Shorts Block – Celluloid in the Sun showcase / competition. Tickets for festival’s Shorts Block will be sold for $7 an hour before it begins at the venue’s box office. For more info including the line up click here.

If you are interested in checking out the entire festival, which mostly takes place in Tucson, Arizona, you might want to pick up a festival pass for $65 before they sell out; only a 100 Festival Passes will be sold for this year’s festival. For more on that and/or to purchase a pass click here.

For more about the festival check out their awesome website at:

To view this year’s full film schedule check out:

For those of you who are unfamiliar with “The Ruffians” and “Bloody Basin” I’ve included a little info on each below:

2009, U.S., 20 Min
Directed & Written by Travis Mills
Cast: Gordon Clark, George Cortright, Dani Danger, Jennifer Daltilio
Narrative Short

Synopsis: Jim, dissatisfied with the office world and haunted by bizarre static noises, explores an underground tunnel by his work out of curiosity. Inside, he discovers a tribe of people, living the primitive lifestyle that contrasts his own.

2009, U.S., 15 Min
Directed & Written by Dave Surber
Cast: Amador Juarez, Danielle Snell, Dave Opeiter, Emilly Pelzner
Horror Short

Synopsis: When four college students trespass and desecrate sacred land during a camping trip in the remote Arizona desert, they quickly find themselves engulfed in grave and seemingly supernatural danger.

“The Ruffians” Screens at IFP/PHX Cinema lounge and Receives a Glowing Review in the Examiner!

August 10, 2010

On Friday, July 30, 2010 five films were screened at what turned out to be this summer’s last IFP/PHX Cinema Lounge. We are proud to say that our film “The Ruffians” was one of the five films chosen to be screened. For those of you who don’t know about the IFP/PHX Cinema Lounge it’s a public forum where local filmmakers can exhibit and discuss their work with other filmmakers, press, and audience members. The event itself is held at the Metro Arts Theater in downtown Phoenix, AZ. I have to say, we are extremely pleased with how well “The Ruffians” screened at this venue. Many audience members seemed to genuinely enjoy our film. Take Phoenix Indie Films Examiner William Pierce for example. Here’s an exert taken from an article he wrote for the Examiner entitled “IFP/PHX Cinema lounge: some new faces to the AZ indie scene” :

“The Ruffians” combines an excellent cast and talented crew to present a tale of non-conformity and defiance in the face of oppression. Over-the-top(less) indie siren Dani Danger is perfect as the earthy, subterranean seductress, while Dean Veglia provides a convincing performance as the psuedo-sympathetic boss/antagonist. [Travis] Mills and the crew of Guerrillastar Productions have delivered a finely crafted offering to the Arizona indie scene. With several future projects in pre-production, such as “The Big Something,” there is no telling what new and diverse directions these versatile young filmmakers will take us. -William Pierce

Nice! Glad to hear you enjoyed the film Mr. Pierce! My hat goes off to the entire cast and crew for a job well done! Special thanks to those who attended the event and to Kate Hoy for putting on the show.

“The Ruffians” is a short film written, produced, and directed by Travis Mills. It stars Gordon Clark (Jim), Dani Danger (Kikei), and Dean Veglia (Boss/Bull).  Yours truly (Dave Surber) worked as the director of photography as well as a producer on the film. It features original music by Brandon Reader and editing by Mark Olsen.

You can find out more about “The Ruffians” and read/or Mr. Pierce’s full article by clinking the links below.

Link to William Pierce’s full article “IFP/PHX Cinema lounge: some new faces to the AZ indie scene”

Link to previous blog post: Guerrillastar Productions Presents “The Ruffians”! (2009)

Link to teaser trailer for “The Ruffians”

Presenting Man/ Woman/ Motel Room Directed by Travis Mills

August 8, 2010

Written by Gus Edwards and directed by Travis Mills, “Man/ Woman/ Motel Room” (2010) is a short film staring Dean Veglia and Kelsi Zahl. The film was shot and edited by Emilio Mejia, Jr.

As the film’s director Travis Mills explains, “Man/ Woman/ Motel Room comes from a short play by Gus Edwards.  Everything about it is Guerrilla filmmaking. “Optioned” for a dollar, filmed in a hotel room on Van Buren in Phoenix for the total cost of sixty dollars, the script sat in a stack of papers on my floor for months till something clicked and after a sweaty night with two good actors and a damn good cinematographer, we give you the first in what I hope will be a series of fast, dirty short films.”

Below is the film. Enjoy!

Man/ Woman/ Motel Room from Emilio Mejia on Vimeo.