‘To Hell and Gone’ wraps Safford shoot

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: ‘To Hell and Gone’ star Carr Cavender goes head over heels as he flips over an SUV during the filming of a stunt in Downtown Safford on Friday.

Will still film 2.5 weeks in Klondyke

By Jon Johnson


SAFFORD – After more than 2.5 years in the making, a dream of two young filmmakers to write, star, direct, and produce their own independent film is coming to fruition.

“To Hell and Gone”, an original screenplay by Kyle Moore and starring Carr Cavender, wrapped its three-day shoot in Safford on Friday. The production shot scenes in the El Coronado restaurant, a fight scene, and stunt along Main Street – which also included a cameo by Safford Police officers – and some more action in the parking lot of the Stargazer 5 movie theater. Moore also is serving as the director and editor as well as producing the movie with Cavender.

“It’s exciting for our town just to be doing something different,” Safford officer Sherri O’Neal said. “I’m not an actress, but I am a cop, so I’ll do my job. It’s not too hard a role to play.” 

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Carr Cavender rehearses a fight scene.

Moore complimented the area for the ease of use it has been during the filmmaking process.

“Everyone here has been so welcoming, and you do not get that in Los Angeles,” Moore said.

“Everyone has been not only cooperative but supportive and enthusiastic about it, which has been awesome,” Cavender added. “

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Director Kyle Moore, left, checks the framing of a scene with the cinematographer, Peter Mickelson.

Shot on a shoestring budget crowd-financed through Indiegogo, the production is the first independent film helmed by Moore and led by Cavender, who also performed his own stunts. In the nature of using what was available to them, the film is utilizing property Cavender’s parents own in Oro Valley (just north of Tucson) and Klondyke, where most of the film’s action takes place. By having those locations, Moore structured the film to fit and also took use of Cavender’s father, “Captain Padge” Cavender, and brother, Kevin Cavender, who are pilots. Carr, who was born and raised in Tucson, said his parents purchased some property in Klondyke in the 1990s and during regular trips to the area he remembered it as a great place to shoot a movie.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Carr Cavender catches his breath in between takes and grabs some shade thanks to the gaffer.

“They slowly accumulated enough land and structures out there that it’s the perfect place to go house a crew, shoot a movie and have that stuff going on,” Carr said.

Moore described the film as a modern-day spaghetti western where “Reservoir Dogs” meets Clint Eastwood.

“It’s modern crime but in an old west setting,” he said. 

Moore said pre-production was the hardest part of the process, and now that they are actually shooting – even though it is a grueling schedule – they are much more at ease.    

“I’m loving every minute of it,” Moore said. “When you’re actually shooting, you always have something to do every second of every day of shooting . . . I think the best two words to describe filmmaking, in general, is controlled chaos.”

“Making the movie now in Safford is the reason we put all this hard work into it,” Carr Cavender said. “

The film has a couple days of filming in the Tucson area before heading out to Klondyke for two-and-a-half weeks. Moore said he hopes to have the film finished by June and available to show at film festivals the first of 2019 with the hope of selling it to a distributor. After festival showings, Moore and Cavender said they would like to have a screening in Safford, perhaps at the Safford Theatre, which is being restored as an open-air venue.

“To everyone in Safford, thanks for having us,” Carr Cavender said. “We love your guys’ town and we’re so glad to be here.”

“We can’t wait to come back next year and show you what we were doing here,” Moore added.