By Cindy Landrum  

JANUARY 6, 2011 1:46 p.m. Comments (0)

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When Daniel Sollinger was growing up in Greenville, his parents didn’t like for him to watch television or films.

They wanted him to read books instead.

Then he discovered he could study filmmaking at the Fine Arts Center.

“I saw that I could study it in school and do something my parents didn’t like,” he said.

That’s all the teenager needed to sign up.

And he’s made filmmaking a career for the past 20-something years.

“I think they (his parents) are mostly proud of me, although they worry sometimes because I’m basically an independent contractor and it’s not a secure job,” he said.

Want to go?

What: “In My Sleep”

Where: Camelot Cinemas

When:  Jan. 14-20, 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Extra: Q&A with Greenville native and producer Daniel Sollinger will be held after the 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. shows on Jan. 14 and 15.

Sollinger’s latest film, “In My Sleep,” will premier locally on Jan. 14 at the Camelot Cinemas.

Sollinger line directed the psychological thriller written by Allen Wolf. It tells the story of Marcus, who struggles with parasomnia, a rare sleepwalking disorder.

After Marcus wakes up with blood on his hands and a knife at his side, he is startled to hear a close friend has been stabbed to death. Marcus frantically tries to find out one thing -- if he could have murdered his friend in his sleep to hide a dark secret between them. The police close in as he investigates his own nocturnal activities, desperate to find out what happens after he goes to sleep.

Wolf said he read stories about people who had done all kinds of horrifying things while they were sleepwalking.

“The idea of someone doing something horrifying without any consciousness or memory of it was fascinating to me,” he said. “I thought that most of us could relate to feeling like part of our lives is out of control. I wanted to take that to the next level – what if you lost control of yourself when you were sleeping?”

Marcus is played by Philip Winchester, who has a recurring role on Fringe and stars in the miniseries, Camelot, which will air on Starz this spring. Winchester has also appeared in “Flyboys,” “The Patriot” and “Thunderbirds.”

Also appearing in the film are Lacey Chabert, who played alongside Matthew McConaughey as Jennifer Garner’s sister in  “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” and played Claudia in the Fox series “Party of Five;” Abigail Spencer, who plays the mysterious teacher Miss Farrell on “Mad Men” and has appeared in several network television shows; Kelly Overton, who has a recurring role on the CBS medical drama, “Three Rivers;” Beth Grant, who has appeared in more than 70 feature films including “No Country for Old Men;” Tony Hale, who played the neurotic mama’s boy Buster on Fox’s “Arrested Development;” and Michael Badalucco, who received an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor on ABC’s “The Practice.”

The film has won several screenwriting and film festival awards.

Sollinger said he knew when he was reading the script for the first time he wanted to work on the film.

“It really grabbed me,” he said. “It held my interest the whole time.”

The film, which has shown in 10 cities since its April 2010 release, is done in the Alfred Hitchcock tradition, Sollinger said.

“You sit on the edge of your seat the whole time,” he said. “It really goes back to the old thrillers that were exciting because the plot made them exciting, not because of special effects and lots of blood and gore.”

“I think the film is incredibly tight,” he said. “Nobody sets out to make a bad movie. Everybody expects it to be good, but sometimes it doesn’t come out as expected. With this film, everything came out as expected and more.”

Sollinger credits the movie’s success so far with an extensive editing process that included a lot of test screenings.

Sollinger will answer questions about the movie after the evening shows on Jan. 14 and 15.

Sollinger attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and stayed in New York to work.

He worked on 350 music videos and commercials, including the video for Will Smith’s “Summertime,” and produced the old opening for Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.”

He produced Miramax’s “Rhyme & Reason,” a documentary about hip-hop.

He lived in New York until after 9-11.“ For survival purposes, it made sense,” said Sollinger, who said after 9/11, work in New York slowed dramatically.

Although he has worked in nearly every facet of film, he said he makes his living producing, working with logistics, scheduling and budgeting.

“It’s easier to make a living that way,” he said. “Making a living creatively in Hollywood is challenging and there’s a lot of luck involved. Actors sometimes go years between projects.”

He said he’s glad he studied of film in high school, in part because it was something his parents didn’t like, and because of how it’s all turned out.

“I kind of don’t know what would have happened to me without it,” he said.

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