• Jared Huizenga

The Infernal Machine: Twin Cities Filmmaker Debuts Latest Feature Close to Home

If you’ve spent time at the Twin Cities Film Fest over the past few years, you’ve very likely stumbled upon the work of filmmaker Andrew Hunt.


Whether it’s a short like ‘Clean Cut,’ ‘Level,’ or ‘Frost Bite,’ or the feature ‘Miles Between Us,’ Hunt has been prolific when it comes to the annual festival. Now though, Hunt is taking his latest work, the feature thriller ‘The Infernal Machine,’ to the big screen (in select cities) and VOD later this week.


The film stars Guy Pearce (‘Memento’) as reclusive author Bruce Cogburn, who has essentially gone into hiding after one of his books inspired mass violence at a university. Now, decades later, Cogburn is drawn out when a fan starts contacting him and he feels the need to figure out what this person’s intentions are. The film also stars Alice Eve (‘She’s Out of My League’), Alex Pettyfer (‘Magic Mike’), and Jeremy Davies (‘Lost’).


So how does one go from making primarily short films in the Twin Cities to making a feature with a Golden Globe nominee?


“It started with writing the script, and in order to get anything made, you need talent,” Hunt said. “My producer, Lionel Hicks, knew Guy and sent it his way. Guy read it and reached back out and wanted to talk with me … by the end of the Zoom call, he was in.”


“The script was such a fresh take on the genre, I knew that if we were to get the right actor to play our lead we’d have a fantastic movie,” Hicks said. “After Guy read the script and spoke with Andrew, he was immediately onboard to make the film.”


“Guy is an actor’s actor. Once attached, we had great momentum to cast Alice Eve, Alex Pettyfer, and Jeremy Davies. I’m really excited for the audience’s reaction to Alice Eve. I don’t think we have ever seen her in this type of role before. This goes for Alex Pettyfer and Jeremy Davies as well. Having these four actors in the same film under the banner of Paramount Pictures is a producer’s dream come true.”


With a dream cast on board, one would think the surprises might come to an end. That, Hunt said, wasn’t the case.


“We built this film for distribution, but we actually ended up in a bidding war,” he said. “You’re used to pinching pennies and scraping by [on independent film budgets] and then we were getting all of this attention.”


Eventually, Paramount swooped in, said they “wanted it all” and acquired the distribution rights. Those efforts will now be on display with two upcoming screenings and the theatrical and VOD rollout.


First up, the U.S. premiere Wednesday, Sept. 21, presented by the Twin Cities Film Fest at Showplace ICON in St. Louis Park.


“Bill and Jatin have always been huge supporters,” Hunt said. “When we found out the release date was before this year’s TCFF, I reached out to see if they’d be interested in screening it … they said, ‘yes,’ and set it all up.’


From there, the film will get a second Minnesota screening on Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Duluth Superior Film Festival, before opening in select theaters and VOD on Friday, Sept. 23. Locally, ‘The Infernal Machine’ will play at the Woodbury 10.


The local ties don’t end with Hunt. While 95% of the film was shot in Portugal, the rest was finished in Minnesota. Hunt, who’s also an instructor at IPR, was able to bring some of his students on to work on film, shooting pickups and intricate closeups, with Director of Photography Sara Deane providing instructions via Zoom. Additionally, Hunt’s long-time composer Nathanial Levisay and editor Jeremy Wanek also worked on the film.


“It’s emotionally satisfying that the folks that have been with me had their break on this, too,” Hunt said. “And they all knocked it out of the park.”


Hunt was also quick to heap praise on Hicks.


“He’s believed in me right from the beginning,” he said. “A lot of people don’t realize the amount of work that producers do to get a movie made … he’s always been passionate about making movies here in Minnesota – he’s my producer for life.”