The film “Beast Beast” now being shown at the Sundance Film Festival is more than a film by screenwriter and director Danny Madden, who grew up in Peachtree City. It was a kind homecoming for Danny and his brother, Will, with Peachtree City and surrounding areas providing the location for the filming.
Their proud father is Peachtree City Councilman Kevin Madden.
Having grown up in Peachtree city, Danny and Will attended Huddleston Elementary, Booth Middle and McIntosh High School.
Though filmed in Peachtree City and Fayette County, Danny said the production could have been about a suburban city in any area of the country because it deals with the dynamic within a town, and within neighborhoods.
“It’s about all the flavors, the micro-differences, you can have in a neighborhood,” Danny explained.
Referencing the project as a “low budget endeavor,” Danny said four days of filming, including overnights, were done in areas on the Rising Starr Middle School campus. In exchange for using the school property, Danny said he and Will taught four classes at Rising Starr and three at McIntosh.
Filming in Peachtree City was also its own version of a homecoming.
“It was so important for me to come back to Peachtree City to make this film, and to have the support of the neighborhood and the community. It was a homecoming,” Danny explained, adding that many of the extras in the film were people he knew growing up. “It felt like being kids again, running around making a film.”
Commenting on the film, The Hollywood Reporter said “In this somber drama from writer-director Danny Madden, the lives of three young people in a suburban Southern town intersect in unforeseen ways.”
Filmed in and around Peachtree City in summer 2018, the 85-minute film has received a number of positive reviews from film industry publications.
As noted in a review by The Hollywood Reporter, “Part psychodrama, part tale of existential high-school angst, ‘Beast Beast,’ from writer-director Danny Madden, follows three young people in a Southern suburb as their lives intersect. Based on (Madden’s) 2018 short film called ‘Krista,’ the film is a commentary on the predominance of internet culture in the lives of today’s teenagers — and on the ways it breeds extreme isolation.”
According to the Sundance Institute, “Brimming with energy and style, ‘Beast Beast’ captures what it means to come of age in an era marked by technology and social media, where violent clashes awaken dormant passions and teenagers are faced with growing up all too quickly.”
And as noted by Variety.com, “Writer-director Danny Madden’s ‘Beast Beast’ clatters to life with organic percussion: a stick rat-a-tatting against an iron fence, a skateboard scraping on concrete, a rifle pinging bullets against a defenseless tin plate. Together, these sounds combine into jazz, despite the discordance of the three teens making such a ruckus. Krista (Shirley Chen), the stick thwacker, is a squeaky-perfect theater geek strolling through the suburbs. Nito (Jose Angeles), the skater, sleeps on a mattress on the floor when his father deigns to let him in the apartment. And recently graduated gun-nut Adam (played by Will Madden, the director’s brother) is frustrated that his target-shooting videos are only getting 46 views – exponentially less than he needs to convince his parents that he’s got a real job.”
Commenting on aspects of the filming and cast members, Danny said he met Shirley at her high school in Los Angeles during an open call for the production of his film, “Krista,” where Shirley subsequently played the main character. Also in the film, Will co-wrote “Krista” and played the role of Buckner.
And Danny met Jose, from San Francisco, and who is also a whiz on a skateboard, through a friend making a music video.
A-list movie star Alec Baldwin is one of the executive producers for the film.
“Beast Beast” will be shown at Sundance through Feb. 1.
For more information on “Beast Beast,” visit https://www.sundance.org/projects/beast-beast