Behind the Scenes: Regrets at QFest

What happens when a one-night stand goes wrong?

Peter Patrikios in Regrets

It was a labor of love, says Michelle Pollino, which may sound a little weird if you know anything about the short 10-minute film she’s talking about. Regrets, produced by Such & Such Productions, is a gay thriller starring actors Matt Lundy and Peter Patrikios that follows a night in the life of a seemingly random hookup gone very, very wrong come morning.

Written by Rob Williams, Pollino directs the short, which attracted several key players on the Philly independent film scene from the very beginning.

Regrets was definitely a group effort,” says Kelly Burkhardt, one of the film’s producers. “We actually shot at one location in Pennsport where one of the Mummers’ clubs organize. Unfortunately, I can’t delve any deeper into the space because it would give away the plot!”

And the plot is a nail biter. “This was the first thriller for me,” says Pollino, “and so different from comedy. Everything on a comedic film is about timing. Here, we were so emotional, so intense.” She says the film also features a high-octane sex scene, which is a radical departure from her past projects like Looking For and Inner Wang.

Matt Lundy in Regrets

“You have a very twisted soul who gets his release in awful ways,” explains Pollino. And while thrillers featuring LGBT characters can sometimes strike a chord with audiences in the community (and not always for the better) she says great pains were taken to avoid stereotypes.

“The challenge for me is presenting that in a compassionate way,” she says, “because, yes, the community is touchy about the subject matter.” She worked with Patrikios extensively to make sure the portrayal was human and realistic.

“I spent some time researching serial killers online and some of their motives,” says Patrikios, who plays Carter. “I tried to find a sympathetic aspect to the character so that even though his actions are terrible, I hoped that the audience would connect with him in some small way. I actually enjoy playing people who have a dark side.”

But the local actor admits he was a little nervous about filming a sex scene – one that he has no plans on showing his mother anytime soon. “I had never done one,” he says. “And I was completely naked on set. But Michelle is an awesome director. She is truly an actor’s director; she creates an environment where you feel safe to try things.”

There are a few famous names also tied to the film, including Leonard Pollack, a costume designer for such horror flicks as Candyman and Hellraiser 3. “Paul Fitzgerald edited the film,” says Burkhardt, “Brian Gannon provided visual effects and I did onset photography and graphics. It took us about a year to get Regrets in the can and world premiering at QFest. I really believe if it wasn’t for the perseverance of Peter and Paul particularly, we would not be having this conversation.”

Regrets has also been accepted into three other film festivals this year.

Here’s a preview:

Regrets screens during “Short + Scary,” July 8 (9:30 p.m.) and July 11 (5 p.m.), at the Ritz East Theatre 2.