Information Stills Behind the Scenes Festivals & Awards

Running Time: 36 minutes

Industry hasn’t destroyed all the sacred spaces in the world. In Hawai'i pockets of magic still exist. And so do those that protect them. Green Lake draws inspiration not only from the beauty and mysticism of Hawaii, but also from B-horror/monster movies, The Twilight Zone and The X-Files. It's a micro-budget Creature from the Black Lagoon meets Picnic at Hanging Rock.

TAGLINE: Horror Dwells Deep

Starring RaVani Flood, Thom Durkin, Valery Richardson, Leah Gallo, Liam Durkin, and Carmen Richardson
Directed and Produced by Derek Frey
Written by Derek Frey (story), Leah Gallo (screenplay)
Cinematography by Derek Frey
Music by Matthew Reid
Special Makeup Effects by Valery Richardson
Edited by Derek Frey
Featuring the songs “(Come In) The Water’s Fine” by Technical Difficulties and “Ariel” by Delight Talkies


Island Beat, “Big Screens, Big Fun” article excerpt [May 26, 2016]
by Katie Young Yamanaka

For filmmaker Derek Frey, the natural mystery of the Big Island itself was inspiration for his film, “Green Lake,” a horror film inspired by the Green Lake in Kapoho.

“I’ve always been inspired by the beauty of the Big Island,” says Frey, whose home base is London. “I’ve also shot a couple of other short films in and around Hilo. It’s my favorite place to go to re-energize.

“I had heard of the Green Lake, but I didn’t know many people who had been there. When I finally went, I was so struck by the beauty of this place, but also its power … and I felt there was a little bit of a darker side to it, too.”

Frey started looking into local legends about the area and was prompted to do a film about preserving nature, but also about the consequences of venturing into areas you shouldn’t go.

“It’s been classified as a horror film, but I’d like to think there is something more poetic to it as well,” he says. “I went with the vibe I felt there. I think it’s something you feel in a lot of places that are off the beaten path in Hawaii. There are areas with tremendous beauty but also that have a haunted feeling. You get into areas where you feel like you shouldn’t be there.

“Industry is treading on a lot of these secret little places, and Green Lake is certainly a place like that. It’s important to protect and preserve it.” Frey, whose used a cast of locals from East Hawaii, says he hopes people will be entertained, get a little scared, but also tap into the emotion of the story.

“Green Lake” just started making the film festival rounds this past month. “We got into 10 or 12 festivals … and we won Best Horror Film at the LA Independent Film Festival,” Frey says. “A song that appears in the film, written by Hilo band Technical Difficulties, also won for Best Original Song. At HIFF we won a gold award and have been nominated for other awards at other festivals, too, so we’re off to a good start.”

Frey says that while it seems like everyone is doing film festivals now, BIFF is regarded as one of the top 25 film festivals that filmmakers want to get into.

“It’s not just because the beautiful setting, too, it’s because they take great pride in what they do and so they attract great talent,” he says. “BIFF puts a lot of effort into making the festival part of the community. As a filmmaker, you just want your film to be seen, so to have it in a place where people can gather together outdoors is fantastic.”

Cult Critic Film Magazine – “GREEN LAKE”
by Helen Wheels

Derek Frey’s 30-minute featurette, “Green Lake” (2016) reads like a classic horror movie. A “Creature of the Black Lagoon” of sorts, with the added intrigue of being filmed on location, at one of only two lakes in Hawaii. Mythological shapeshifters are the fabled guards of these precious fresh water sources, and legend has it that if their land is disrespected or trespassed upon, a Mo’o possesses the power to wreak havoc.

Frey gives us a classic horror set-up. A group of friends, unaware of the danger that lurks in their surroundings, decide to make the worst possible decision. The lush beauty engulfing the lake does seem like the perfect backdrop for a good old fashion psychedelic mushroom trip. And it could be a great bonding experience, except for the issue with the pissed off protector of sacred land who woke up to join the party.

The dark shape of a woman materializes from the murky waters of Green Lake. Her visage is reminiscent of Samara moving toward the audience after emerging from the well, in Gore Verbinski’s famous scene from “The Ring.” Unlike Samara, the Mo’o is seductive. She hypnotizes her victim as she slinks ever so slowly in for the kill. Her skin is smooth and reptilian. Her hair, long and matted with seaweed gives her the appearance of a being who is part of the eco-system.

Frey’s use of practical effects blends into the natural world. A CGI creature would have appeared too perfect, too modern in this setting. Instead, using costume and make-up, along with body movements and some clever editing produced a believable rendition of the mythic creature. It’s no wonder Frey has such a strong affinity to practical effects; he has spent his career working with Tim Burton.

Matthew Reid’s original score adds substance to the opening narration, transforming the narrator’s words into folklore. The music drifts and bounces throughout the film, moving seamlessly connecting scenes. Reid’s score combined with the skillful use of foley sound adds a sense of anticipation, and outright panic, perfectly timed. Frey also called in some of his Big Island musician friends, Technical Difficulties and Delight Talkies, who wrote songs specifically for the film.

In true Indie fashion, everyone had multiple roles; cast doubled as crew. For nine grueling days, the small band of filmmakers weathered the elements and went without sleep to the point of exhaustion and mental breakdown. Frey calls “Green Lake” his mini “Apocalypse Now.” The Mo’o rising from the water does call to mind one of the famous scenes from Francis Ford Coppola’s movie; however, Frey could be referring to the mental and physical pain that he and his friends went through to produce the film. The sacrifices must have been worth it because the result of their perseverance has garnered numerous festival awards.

“Green Lake” is a solid, entertaining horror film that keeps you hanging on until the end. All great horror movies have an underlying meaning, a warning about some mistake that humanity is making, and “Green Lake” is no different. It’s a warning to everyone that we must maintain our balance with and respect nature or face the consequences. Always remember, “Horror Dwells Deep.”

The Big Island of Hawai’i has been a great source of inspiration for me. I’ve had the unique opportunity to become friends with many artists and musicians on the island. These friendships have led to a number of music video and short film collaborations. Many of these projects showcase the beauty of the land and the mystical power that surrounds it.

I am fascinated with the supernatural aspect to Hawai’i and the tales found in Glen Grant’s Obake Files. I also love horror films and in 2010 created a short on the Big Island: The Curse of the Sacred Stone. It was a horror/comedy that lightly depicted the implications of disturbing sacred land when an unsuspecting tourist removes a lava rock from a sacred site.

I still felt the impulse to create more of a straightforward horror film on the Big Island. Since my first visit to Hawai'i in 2001, I had heard about Green Lake, an unspoiled fresh body of water located in a crater within a mountainous rainforest in Kapoho. Green Lake is the larger of only two lakes in Hawaii. Allegedly Jacques Cousteau conducted a diving expedition in the 1970’s and couldn’t find the bottom. We don’t know if this is true, but one thing is certain, the towering walls of the crater make the lake seem bottomless. Discussion of Green Lake is almost one of urban legend. The fact is many people who live in Hawai’i have never visited the lake, though the land manager is very inviting and enthusiastic about the lake and its surrounding land.

My first visit to Green Lake, a few years ago, was incredibly inspiring. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. Accompanying that beauty is a deep and powerful mystical vibe. This place demands that you respect it and it feels like there are protective energies present. During that initial visit a group of us ventured onto the lake via a small paddleboat and our first jump into the water was met with excitement, exhilaration and downright fear. The water is dark and though we know there are no snakes or other predators to fear in Hawai’i it certainly feels as though something lurks below.

From that visit the seed for a film was firmly established and I returned the next year with the Green Lake script in hand. Thus began a grueling 9 day shoot, pulling upon friends from the Big Island I’ve made over the years to play the roles and double as crew. Our core group of 6 played multiple roles in front of and behind the camera, weathering the elements, without sleep to the point of exhaustion and mental breakdown - all for the sake of creating. Green Lake was my mini-Apocalypse Now. It was the most challenging shoot I’ve ever been part of but also the most rewarding and I’m so proud of the result. Green Lake is more than your typical horror film, it’s a warning to everyone that we must maintain our balance with and respect nature, or face the consequences.

A special mention must be expressed to the wonderful music that accompanies the film. Big Island bands Technical Difficulties and Delight Talkies provide songs written specifically for the film. Matthew Reid’s terrific original score is more than I could have ever hoped for.

Enjoy the swim and remember “Horror Dwells Deep”!

green lake poster