“The Curse and the Covenant,” an award-winning independent film made in El Paso, was supposed to have its long-awaited theatrical premiere in the Sun City this month. With the COVID-19 emergency the event was canceled, however – like many other parts of modern life – the movie will now come to viewers.
The fantasy feature, directed by Robert Towne, will begin streaming on Amazon May 1st.
“We are counting on the support of the film community, and that they will take this as seriously as if it were a physical premiere at a neighborhood theatre. We all need to support each other right now,” Towne, says.
The film was originally slated to play at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. “With what’s happening right now, we have to adapt and I feel the time is right to start distribution through streaming,” Towne says.
Several scenes from “The Curse and the Covenant” were shot in the El Paso area, featuring local talent and crew members. Towne, an El Paso native, says it was important for the production to provide opportunities in his hometown.
Inspired by the likes of “The Lord of the Rings” and “Game of Thrones,” the film is set in a dark time when orcs dominate the earth.
The story focuses on Akosh, the cowardly survivor of a dragon attack, who seeks refuge in the mountains. There he learns the ways of the sword from an exiled knight named Eli and his daughter Zephra. But as Akosh gets groomed to take up the mantle of old heroes, he starts to uncover dark secrets about Eli’s family history.
“The Curse and the Covenant” was completed long before Coronavirus was on the international radar. Never-the-less, Towne says the film has a few plot points that are relevant today.
“We have characters who have isolated themselves to survive, and we see the impact that has on them. It takes a toll, sometimes a deadly toll on their mental well-being,” Towne says. Towne says the film offers a message of hope.
“Long before COVID19 came about, I knew one of the themes of the film would be about getting through hard times where it feels like everything is lost, but you have to find the will to overcome that and ignite some hope. That’s something universal to the human experience and it applies right now.”
While the decision to start streaming “The Curse and the Covenant” early may disqualify the film from a few festivals, the film has already managed to nab several awards for its actors, director, and musical score.
The musical score in particular was composed by El Pasoans Daniel Natividad and Chris Reyman from the UTEP Music Department, and has gained international acclaim in Italy and the United States.
Among the rising stars featured in the film is Josh Horton, who delivers an award-winning performance as the antagonist Orc Chief Ellago. Since filming of “The Curse and the Covenant” was completed, Horton has gone on to be featured on several episodes of the Netflix show “Daybreak” as Baseball Ben, as well as making appearances on “Deputy” and getting into a scuffle with Mike Ehrmantraut on an episode of “Better Call Saul.”
Prior to filming “Curse,” Horton was a fixture in the local film scene and appeared in commercials for Visit El Paso. The film stars Eric Michaels as Akosh, Graci Clark as Zephra, and Shakespeare on the Rocks veteran Danny Fogle as Eli.
Towne and his crew still hope for a physical screening in the Borderland in the months ahead.
Those interested in getting updates on the premiere and taking part in the Q&A can keep track of the event’s Facebook page.