DELRAY BEACH – At a time when many Americans were busy hunting toilet paper and gaining 15 pounds, Chad Ridgely took self isolating to a different level.
In the weeks that followed the pandemic’s onset, Ridgely wrote, produced, directed and starred in the movie Self Isolated, which made its South Florida premiere on Monday.
“They made lemonade out of lemons during the pandemic,” said fellow comic and filmmaker Carl Rimi, whose own venture, iPossessed, experienced delays during the pandemic. “He wrote it and made a movie. We know it’s not easy to make a movie and he did it in less than a year. I’m really jealous.”
Approximately 50 comics, friends and co-workers attended Monday’s screening at the Movies of Delray. Upon entering the theater they were greeted by 18 television monitors displaying the Self Isolated poster. Three more posters on easels lined the velvet ropes, helping to give the quaint indie theater lobby an L.A. red-carpet vibe.
“It was wonderful that so many local South Florida comedians, filmmakers and like minded creatives came out to support a night about indie film making,” said Ridgely, who relocated to South Florida during the pandemic. “And this is really the reward that you look for as an indie film maker because there’s no big studio backing you. There’s no big press tour. There’s nothing like that. It’s these little moments where everyone comes together and celebrates a victory like this. It’s so heartwarming to have so many fellow comedians to come out and support this.”
Self Isolated made its world debut early this month at the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival, winning the Outstanding Thriller Feature award.
The movie marked Ridgely’s directorial debut.
“I feel that the musical edge on it really added such a level of suspense to each shot,” Movies of Delray owner Glen Gray said. “I thought that the cinematography was excellent and that it was captivating and moving.”
Screening a horror/thriller set in a pandemic at the Movies of Delray proved a natural fit. After closing for 18 months because of COVID concerns, the theater only recently re-opened its doors.
“The venue here, (manager Rochelle Walters) and the Movies of Delray, just did an outstanding job hosting this and putting this together for all of us,” Ridgely said. “I think we are going to see a lot more indie films screened here.”
Self Isolated seemed at home in the setting.
“Chad’s movie was riveting,” comic Greg Hahn said. “I learned that I don’t know the difference between thriller and horror and suspense. And, like, thriller/suspense. That’s what we saw right? It wasn’t really horror. It was more thriller/suspense which is good. So I was thrilled.”
Self Islolated is the third movie written and produced by Ridgely, following Massacre on Aisle 12 (2016) and 6:66 p.m. (2017). He’s currently in the process of submitting it to more film festivals and hopes to have a distribution deal soon.
Ridgely is also already moving ahead on his next project. He’d written Murder Van and was about to begin production of the movie when the pandemic set in, prompting Ridgely to pivot to Self Isolated.
Murder Van is now scheduled to begin production in January. On Monday Ridgely announced that David Sadman of Sadman Comedy Productions had joined the team as a producer and that South Florida comic Nadeem Awad will also play an unspecified part in the production.