MoonHill Productions, an independent production company started in 2009, began with the goal of filming local while creating smart and intelligent movies that have never been thought of before.
MoonHill was started by husband and wife team Richard Moon and Isabel (Junie) Hildebrandt. After finishing their first film “Driving By Braille” they hired Colleen Kelly to be their unit production manager.
Moon and Hildebrandt attended PCC and went on to pursue degrees in physics and biology before even considering a career in production.
“He’s a writer, but I steered him away from writing a novel,” said Hildebrandt “I said why don’t you try writing screenplays. And he fell in love with the format, which he’s good at”.
Moon began pitching scripts as a producer rather than a writer, which prompted Hildebrandt to quit her job as a research scientist and begin a new career as a producer.
Kelly moved to California from the suburbs of Chicago in 2003 for a “life experience” and began her career in reality TV before meeting Moon and Hildebrandt and joining their team.
This year MoonHill Productions will be screening both their films “Salvage” and “Zombeo and Juliécula” at the first annual Pasadena International Film Festival to be held Feb. 12 to 16 at the Laemmle Theatre.
“Salvage” follows several women from Skid Row and tells their story they transition between different stages of their life and the special circumstances they each face. “Salvage” has already won a Telly Award as well as “Best Short Documentary” at the Action on Film festival in Monrovia.
“When you think homelessness you think transients on the streets, men, drugs,” Hildebrandt said. “But there’s a whole population of homeless people that are normal. Something has put them in this situation where they’ve lost their job”.
“We’re excited by ‘Salvage’ because we’re bringing in Scott Johnson, the Chief Operating Officer of Union Rescue Mission,” Kelly said. “As well as many local politicians and local Pasadena people, family and friends who get to see if for the first time,” Hildebrandt added.
“Zombeo and Juliécula” is a fun, family friendly film about friendship and bullying while expanding children’s knowledge. It deals with racism, segregation and prejudices that cause conflict between the zombie, vampire, human students and teacher—a twist on the classical “Romeo and Juliet”.
“It’s like feeding children Shakespeare without them knowing it,” said Hildebrandt. “It’s smart and made for family watching”.
MoonHill showed “Zombeo and Juliécula” at the Eerie Horror Fest in Erie, Pennsylvania where it won best short screenplay in 2012. “Zombeo and Juliécula” also won four Telly Awards in 2013 and Best Family Film at the California Film Awards.
Los Angeles may seem as the obvious choice for filming, but over the past few years Kelly and Hildebrandt have noticed many people leaving to film in other locations such as Canada.
MoonHill is dedicated to filming locally because of the couple’s ties to the area.
“We both know people who lost jobs and had to move off because they couldn’t stay here… and [it’s hard to] see the industry struggling,” Hildebrandt said.
MoonHill has already been quite successful and has no intention of slowing down. They’re currently working on several more projects that are continuously growing as well as pitching “Zombeo and Juliécula” as a TV series.