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Vid helmer plucks ‘Dead Birds’

Turner makes feature helming debut with Barrett script

Commercial and musicvideo helmer Alex Turner will begin shooting the indie thriller “Dead Birds” next week, making his feature helming debut.

Pic is being financed by Silver Nitrate, one of a series of divisions formed in 1999 out of a partnership between Newmarket Capital Group and Ash Shah’s Ashland Entertainment. That pact was to acquire and release films for the domestic homevideo and television markets, but the “Birds” producers — Shah, Tim Peternel and David Hillary — say they plan to shop the pic to theatrical distribs.

In “Dead Birds,” scripted by tyro Simon Barrett, a renegade band of Confederate soldiers robs a bank, then hides out in a deserted plantation house where an occult event has unleashed all sorts of terrifying mayhem.

Cast for the Civil War period ghost story includes Henry Thomas, Nicki Aycox, Isaiah Washington, Patrick Fugit, Michael Shannon and Mark Boone — with “Almost Famous” star Fugit having just toplined the producers’ last effort, the crank drama “Spun.”

Pic will lense for the next four weeks in Alabama.

Turner is the progeny of the noted print photographer Pete Turner. Turner said his father provided “a steady diet of incredible images” from his trips to Africa and elsewhere, and was the reason he became a director. His first horror pic was made at age 9 on a Super 8 camera but of late his musicvideo and commercials work has been with high end Madison Avenue clients. Turner recently won the attention of studio development execs for his short “Chuck,” a thriller about a psychopathic door-to-door salesman.

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