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Filmmaker shares love of Tucson as movie release approaches

Posted at 6:50 AM, Jan 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-25 09:02:14-05

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A local film company is getting to release its new horror thriller to the community this February.

"Little Books Little Films" is releasing "Water" on February 1st, with screenings at Harkins Theater and Roadhouse Cinema.

The movie was written and directed by Phillip Penza, who says production finished in late Fall 2018.

Penza says it is an exciting time because "it's kind of hard, being an independent filmmaker, a black-Hispanic, independent filmmaker and getting into the circuit."

During an interview with KGUN9 about the release, Penza was asked to describe the movie."I can't tell you," Penza laughed but added it has "deceit." "It's basically about a husband who cheats on his wife and she stumbles upon it. It gets really crazy from there on out." He also mentioned the title of the movie -- "Water" -- is key to the movie.

Penza says he was inspired to make the movie after an encounter with a mountain lion while he was laying out by his pool in Pinnacle Peak. "While I was laying there I fell asleep and I woke up and I'm at the end of my pool, facing where you would dive off. That's what I'm looking at. To the right I have a cabana and there's a mountain lion, like a full-blown, grown mountain lion laying on the bench in my cabana. I'm sitting there thinking what do I do, do I run, what do I do? But at the same time, I was more surprised it was a lion because I didn't even know that they had lions like that and she was just looking at me -- like staring right at me." Penza say the mountain lion got up and ran away. That's when the idea for the movie came about after he started thinking of his reasoning for wanting to jump in the water to save his life.

The movie first premiered in Scottsdale which sold out five theaters.

"I'm not into horror. I'm a big chicken when it comes to horror films, but I did it. It was fun." Penza says it was out of his comfort zone in making the movie, but shared laughs with his crew. He says he has done many works here in Arizona and it was much easier to work with businesses and facilities in the Grand Canyon State than in any other state.

In describing his experience, Penza mentioned he is a man of faith and has a message to share that deals with infidelity. "If you're going to be married, be married. If not, then don't be married because anything can happen. If you put you or your lover in that situation, you don't know how that third party is going to respond."

Penza mentioned he is working on another project in which he wants as many people from Tucson to be a part of. He reiterated how easy it has been for him to work on productions. Filming would begin after Summer 2019 and would most likely happen in Tucson.