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Exc: Nick Groff, Seth Breedlove & Elizabeth Saint talk On The Trail of Champ

06.15.2018by: JimmyO

This Saturday, June 18th, you are invited to join in On the Trail of… Champ. In the new five episode mini-series presented on the streaming service VIDI.SPACE, you can join filmmaker Aleksandar Petakov as he searches for the mysterious beast they call Champ, “a bizarre, aquatic creature said to live in the depths of New York and Vermont’s Lake Champlain.” Beginning tomorrow, this five-part series kicks off a brand new exciting chapter for VIDI.SPACE and “Small Town Monsters.”

Nick Groff and Elizabeth Saint, both friends of the site, introduced us to this fascinating new series, one in which Petakov and producer Seth Breedlove will explore a number of legends. This is what both Nick and Elizabeth told AITH about the upcoming season:

Nick Groff: “Small Town Monsters’ new ongoing series “On the Trail of...” is bringing a new vision into the world of some of our favorite Cryptids by documenting these unusual events that are some of the biggest mysteries of our time. We are extremely excited to premiere the first chapter that dives into the historic sitings of the lake monster known as Champ.”

Elizabeth Saint: “It’s been incredible to watch this platform we only launched five months ago, VIDI.SPACE, become an outlet for the indie filmmakers and visionaries of the world. Showcasing the work of director Aleksandar Petakov and producer Seth Breedlove this Saturday on our platform is a true honor. Small Town Monsters has contributed so much to the genre of the Unknown, and we are about to experience so much more.”

Each season will place focus on one legendary creature, whether it is Bigfoot or of course for the premiere, Champ. After Nick and Elizabeth gave us an introduction, we also spoke to Mr. Breedlove about the upcoming series, and working with VIDI.SPACE. Make sure you check On the Trail of… Champ this Saturday, June 18th for a thrilling this thrilling real life investigation into the unknown. For more information, please check out the official VIDI.SPACE site here.

vidispace nick groff elizabeth saint seth breedlove on the trail of champ paranormal

How did you get involved, and what was the original idea behind this concept?

Seth Breedlove:  Well, it was my concept, and I came up with the idea. So we did these movies, but I've always wanted to play around with more of an episodic series format. So I was on vacation with my wife and in the middle of the night our kid woke us both up because he was 6 months old, actually no, he was 2 months old at the time. And I woke up, and she was downstairs taking care of him or whatever, and I had this idea to do like an episodic sort of mini-series format, and each season the subject of the mini-series would change. And I had been talking to Alexander who directed it about doing a project with us, but originally he was gonna direct one of our movies. Instead, I decided to pitch him the idea of doing a mini-series about Champ. So, the first season is Champ, the second season is gonna be about Bigfoot. Each season is gonna go in a different direction. It was mostly born out of the idea that I really wanted to play around with doing episodic story telling.

It also seems like a fun way to focus, cause usually when all those stories of legends and all that stuff are explored it's a one episode thing. I like the idea of you stretching it out and spending the whole season on that.

Yeah, that's what's cool about it. Even on movies our ... like the Mothman movie, the Invasion on Chestnut Ridge and Boggy Creek Monster, they're all over an hour. But even in those, we're leaving large chunks of the story out simply for pacing and stuff like that. With something like this, you have a much bigger range or a larger canvas to paint on. It was just the idea that instead of rushing through some of the historic anecdotes things like that he would have much more time to play around with expanding on the story and introducing people to all the different aspects of the one phenomenon.

vidispace nick groff elizabeth saint seth breedlove on the trail of champ paranormal

With Champ, what is something that you have learned, that you weren't aware of throughout this process, or something that surprised you within this investigation?

From an investigation stand point, I guess I was surprised at a lot of the history. Cause I was aware of most of the modern day sightings and all that, but I wasn't as aware that sighting have been going on since the 1600s. 

Oh wow.

Even in the 1800s it got very popular and was really well documented in the late 1800s and early 1900s and P.T Barnum offered a bounty on the head of Champ, if someone could bring him a dead Champ then ... I've been aware of a lot of the modern day stuff, but the breadth of the history of the story really surprised me and the fact that the descriptions of the monster have stayed similar through the years. It's never really changed, its always been ... people are saying the same thing. I thought that was really intriguing.

Are you a true believer 100% or do you have a little skepticism?

I have a lot of skepticism. I don't refer to myself as a skeptic because that to me denotes the fact that I might out there trying to debunk things, which I'm not. But I actually am more skeptical than I am a believer. I'm definitely not a true believer and there's really only been one subject that we've made any sort of film about that I pretty much 100% believe that what the monster was, was there. When it comes to this, and this is how I end up feeling after all of the projects we do, but if there's enough there to keep me wanting answers, but there's not enough there for me to say yes you've fully swayed me, I now believe that there is a monster living in lake Champlain. But I like that fact. I like the fact that I don't necessarily have the answers to these things when we finish the films. And I'm not a true believer, I'm not a skeptic, I try to have a healthy skepticism about everything we do.

vidispace nick groff elizabeth saint seth breedlove on the trail of champ paranormal

I think that's important too because I feel there's that idea that people who do this, or people who are into the paranormal or people who explore this kind of stuff just believe everything. From my experience it's far from the truth. Most of them are skeptical at least a little.

Yeah, definitely. Like for us too it's not necessarily-we're not out trying to prove any of this stuff either. It's about documenting what people are claiming and in the case of Champ, Alex was actually able to interview as many skeptics as he did believers. There's this skeptical response to true believers in the context of the story as well. For us it's more about the story, telling the story and then letting our audience make up their own mind.

It seems like such a cool experience though to do that. Because I think almost all of us as kids, especially if you're excited about this kind of thing, you want to go explore the deep dark secrets that we hear about as children that scare us as kids. 

Yeah and I get asked all the time why these subject are popular right now and what is it that I think people enjoy about this and I really think, I keep coming back to this stupid answer, but I really think, that the world is in such a weird place right now. And things are so dark, that stories like this, or subjects like this allow an escape that a lot of entertainment or whatever doesn't offer. It's something that exists within reality but allows people to feel like they're discovering something new and on an adventure. I don't see these subjects ever going into a lull, I think what you're seeing right now is a build up of the paranormal and I can only see it getting bigger.

It sure seems that way, and I think you're right, an escape. I remember as a kid being obsessed with the Bermuda Triangle and that old 70s documentary on it. That scared the crap out of me.

And that stuff, the stuff you're referencing is one of the big inspirations behind everything we do. We're always, I think especially our last three films, all have this in search of, like 1970s television documentary vibe to them. And On the Trail of... Champ feels very much-the name obviously On the Trail Of... is my pretty on the nose homage to In Search Of. But On the Trail Of is one big homage to that, to all that 1970s and early 80s para ... whatever you want to call it ... para entertainment.

vidispace nick groff elizabeth saint seth breedlove on the trail of champ paranormal

Now how did you get involved with Nick and Elizabeth at VIDI.SPACE?  

I met them at a con last summer called Cryptid Con and we hit it off. They actually approached me because they wanted to know if I was interested in bringing some of my movies to them. But I had just signed a distribution deal with Terror Films so there was no way for me to legally do that [that] because I had just signed another contract. 

But as soon as I had the idea for On the Trail Of..., I contacted them because I thought that this could be a great avenue for us to release this because its very - it's an extremely experimental idea. First of all, independent episodic series don't necessarily do very well when they're self distributed and we tend to self distribute much of our stuff, other than the three films we had just done. I wanted to play around with this, use this as an experiment and see if it was something I could find a home for so VIDI seemed to be the perfect avenue for us to put it out. Especially cause they're so supportive of independent creators and I think it's really - this isn't just a line either I'm not just feeding you this line, I think it's really important right now for there to be places like VIDI.SPACE that are existing that seem to be catered directly to the creators rather than to padding the pocket of some mega corporation. For us it was a natural fit to head into that partnership with Nick and Elizabeth.

I agree. I love what they're doing. From what I've heard we'll be able to finally see this on Saturday, correct?

Yeah, yeah. It launches Saturday. They're doing a premiere, a streaming premiere that I'll be taking part in, so you'll be able to - I guess I'll be able to chat with people. She was explaining it to me today, but I'm not the most bright individual so I just [took in] what she was saying. But yeah they do a streaming premiere, it will premier on VIDI.SPACE on Saturday, you'll be able to buy the whole package. And then I guess on Sunday it will become available for rental and purchases in an individual capacity. I think up front, I think on Saturday, you kind of have to buy the whole series.

Okay, very cool. I'm really excited to see it. I can't wait to not only see Champ but to see where you go with Bigfoot and all of the stuff, it's really cool.

Cool, yeah. If you haven't checked out, similar movies are on Amazon Prime right now like the Mothman Documentary we did. That was actually nominated for a Rondo award last year. Invasion on Chestnut Ridge, the Flatwoods Monster, they're all on Amazon right now.

Source: AITH

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