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Valley Filmmaker Debuts 'Skinwalker' Before Live Audiences This Weekend

“Skinwalker” opens on screens this weekend.

It’s a new movie from Valley-based filmmaker Robert Conway and is based on the Navajo legend of a malevolent spirit embodying people.

The film is finally getting its debut after being shot last summer.

Actress Eva Hamilton, who was born and raised in the Valley but now lives in Los Angeles, plays one of the leads, Maisie.

“It’s a really interesting character,” she said in an exclusive interview with KJZZ, “and I was drawn to it because, particularly in westerns, you don’t really see female characters portrayed that aren’t like saloon girls or something of that nature. You get a lot more with her” in this film.  

Conway has several movies to his credit, but “Skinwalker” was a first as it was shot on an Arizona mountain during a pandemic.

While the hybrid horror/western is based on a Navajo legend, Conway’s story draws inspiration from how the coronavirus is transmitted and the movie is also a nod to a celebrated filmmaker.  

“There’s always quite a lot of room for creative interpretation and creative license as far as how the monster, disease, whatever you want to call it, operates — the mechanics of it,” said Conway. “In this one, I based it kind of on John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ where you didn’t know who was infected and that was very COVID-inspired.”     

The film will be screened in Payson on Friday, and at Sun Studio in Tempe on Saturday.

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.