The film is called Apparition. It opens wide Friday, Dec. 27th and only CFF has the exclusive interview with one of the film's producers. For years many Northern Californians have know Mark S. Allen as a beloved DJ and TV host. What many do NOT know is that Mark has become quite an accomplished filmmaker with at least 4 titles under his belt and a newly minted membership in theProducer's Guild of America. A few years ago CFF honored Mark as a member of our California Film Hall of Fame. The following year we honored his co-producer, Howard Burd.
Now, with their latest production, Apparition set to open wide today (December 27th), we caught up with Mark to talk about his amazing journey.
CFF: Mark, watching your transformation from accomplished TV host to accomplished producer has been truly awe-inspiring. When did you 1st become interested in filmmaking and how?
MARK: When I was 7 years old I saw a news segment on how stop-go-animation was created and immediately grabbed my dad’s 8mm camera (yes this was even before super8mm) and began making movies.  One frame at a time.  Countless hours to get 50 feet, three minutes of film.  At 12 I made a friend who was also making stop-go and we transitioned to live action.   I landed a job in radio while I was in high school and ended up launching that direction....never dreaming that my love of making movies would be on the table again.My broadcast career interestingly enough always leaned toward movies.   Most of my syndicated coverage was about movies, and I’d have none of the Emmy Awards- if not for movie based tv shows.

CFF: This looks like a truly thrilling film for horror fans. Tell us How this film came to be? We at CFF know Howard Burd as an amazing Producer. What was the genesis of your producing relationship?  
MARK: Howard was on the roll out of MOTHERS DAY with Jennifer Aniston/Julia Roberts (and what ended up being the late Gary Marshall’s final film.).  At the time he was in early pre-production with another producer on a really great MMA inspirational drama called Notorious Nick (based on the true story of Nick Newell) but the film was tremendously ambitious and taking its time to go green, so I pitched the idea of a smaller, almost single location shoot, at the site of a spectacular single location: THE PRESTON SCHOOL of industry.  This is one of the supposed most haunted places in America.  A 19th century castle in Ione with a built in story.   I pitched Howard with a call from the castle and before I reached his house he called me back to say WE ARE DOING THIS!!! Less than a year later we were wrapped, in post production and Notorious Nick was now green lit.   Fast forward to now, we have 6 films, one released two secured into distribution and 3 in final post.   I’m so grateful for the friendship and producing  partnership I have with Howard- he is a driving force of nature. 
CFF: That is amazing how things can go from red to GREEN in the blink of an eye. There are some truly big talents associated with this project. Kevin Pollak. Mena Suvari. How were you able to procure these amazing people and how do you feel their specific talents were uniquely suited to this film?
MARK: We had the dream cast, from Mena and Kevin all the way down to the smallest role.  Our locals were wrangled by Sally Forcier who also acted as  co-producer the film with Kelly Benedict and our primary casting agent was Gary Zuckerbrod- fantastic casting director of Pulp Fiction and a long list of what I’m sure are your favorite movies.    The young millennial cast he pulled together were amazing Annalisa Cochrane (Cobra-Kai Karate Kid), Grayson Russell (Diary Of A Wimpy Kid/Taladega Nights)...in addition to Kevin Pollak and Mena Suvari made for a perfect ensemble.   Kevin actually replaced other names of complexity opposite types that kept falling out because of scheduling conflicts and in fact didn’t lock until 8 days before filming.   Howard had to talk me in off the ledge many times that week.  “We didn’t lock Julia Roberts until 2 days before we began shooting Mothers Day,” he would tell me as comfort.
              CFF: Wow! What are your hopes going forward? For this film? Future projects? 
              MARK: 2020 will be a great year as we have BALLBUSTER the Jerry O Connel basketball comedy headed to theaters as                well as the VERY original horror comedy FearPharm.   It’s sequel is in post and Notorious Nick and a high concept thriller                  616 WIlford Lane (that i co-directed) are 99.9% compete.    This year Howard and his wife have a really hot Hollywood                      commodity script that we’ll be producing together (unless it gets made as a studio film) and we have another suspense                      serial killer  thriller in early pre right now.  I really enjoyed directing on 616, and am 100% that I’ll be back at that within the                next 18 months.   
CFF: Mark, thank you KINDLY for sitting down with us. Folks at home, Don't miss Apparition playing Nationwide at select theaters and EVERY streaming and VOD carrier “now showing!” 
Support Northern California filmmakers and don't spill that popcorn.
You're going to be jumping out of your seat a lot!
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  • I just finished watching "Apparition" I gave it 2 thumbs up!! I grew up watching him on Good Day Sacramento. To see him come so far in his career, I feel like I'm a witness to his journey. I'm a huge fan of horror, especially when it's a film based on true events. Highly recommend.
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