Nicholas Gyeney
Film Director

Nicholas Gyeney is shooting a movie outdoors in Seattle. In November. He’s on his 15th consecutive 12-hour day of filming. And a homeless man just strolled through the set, behind Dick’s on Broadway.

“He’s not supposed to do that,” ­Gyeney lamented, pointing at the man’s back. But then he shrugged. All in a day’s work for the 23-year-old fledgling local filmmaker—albeit one with his own production company (Mirror Images) and Hollywood actors in his sci-fi drama The Penitent Man.

It wasn’t so long ago that Gyeney was a film student at the University of Southern California, shooting his first feature, The Falling, with $60,000 and a crew of undergrads. It went straight to DVD. “It was a terrible movie I hate with all my heart,” ­Gyeney said with a resigned grin. But things feel better this time around. Lionsgate has already asked to see a rough cut of The Penitent Man, about a psychologist (Lathrop Walker) who learns unsettling news about his future from a mysterious patient, played by sci-fi veteran Lance Henriksen (Terminator, Aliens ). Andrew Keegan, who played the teen heartthrob in another film set in Seattle (10 Things I Hate About You) stars as the psychologist’s best friend.

Gyeney is a self-confessed Terminator nut, reflected in the film’s lengthy conversations about wormholes in the space-time continuum—plus the “crazy lights, special-effects, Terminator time-travel sequence,” said Gyeney, hands waving. “Everything’s fated to be going right with this movie.”

With relentless optimism, Tinseltown stars, a big budget (kept under wraps), and a local crew, Gyeney has the potential to be a major Seattle filmmaker. One with bags under his eyes and a homeless man in his shot. —LD

Nicholas Gyeney’s ‘The Penitent Man’ is set for release later this year.