Home Ace Issues Age Sex Location: Lexington Filmmakers fundraise from Short to Feature

Age Sex Location: Lexington Filmmakers fundraise from Short to Feature

At the recent Lexington Short Films Filmmakers Night, local indie film fans laughed out loud at Age/Sex/Location (they were supposed to).

The characters of Rob and Ova were created by Jeremy Midkiff (Rob Bronson) and Jonathan Moore (Ova Reynolds- pronounced Ovy), and were brought together for the first time in the short, Age/Sex/Location.

They shot eight hours of footage for that 15-minute short, with zero budget. “We shot everything on borrowed gear and had no other expenses,” Midkiff says.

Feedback from the short film night was positive. Midkiff says, “Most people had to qualify their praise by saying something like ‘the no budget nature’ of the film didn’t get in the way from it being a solid comedy. Watching your comedic film with an audience is great. There is sort of instant feedback. People laughed the whole time, so we felt like it was pretty successful. And most people who talked to us after the show said they laughed very hard and we got some comparisons to Borat (which is flattering since I consider it one of the funniest movies ever). More than anything though, we had so many local actors, directors, DPs, etc, that came up to us and wanted to work with us. And we are all about that.”

They used the enthusiasm about the short to “launch an IndieGoGo fundraising page to raise funds for the feature film we are making. We have stepped it up by getting a better HD camera and we hope to raise enough money to get a few lights, audio equipment, and other gear to make a more professional film this go around. The goal is to finish shooting the feature (which revolves around the characters we created for Age/Sex/Location) by August and editing the film to submit to film festivals at the end of the year.”

They’s No Place Like Home: The Ballad of Rob and Ova” is a mocumentary feature film about Rob Bronson and Ova Reynolds, who are thirty-something, unemployed guys from a poor Kentucky county who attempt to travel across the state to try out for a puppet troupe. A local news crew has chosen Rob and Ova as the focus of their story on unemployment in the state, and picks up with them as they hitchhike and do odd jobs.”

At press, they’d raised $1,475. of the $4,000 goal with a funding deadline of Monday, March 18.

Midkiff says, “In the short, we limited ourselves to basically two or three locations. In the feature there will probably be 25 different locations. And the feature will also move because we hope to use some of our funding to get the ability to do steadicam and tracking shots. Plus, it is a road picture, so we will always be on the move, hitchhiking through Kentucky. We actually have shot a couple of small scenes that might make it in the feature. One was in a flea market (where we saw a dream catcher with Confederate soldiers inside of it) and a karaoke night at a fast food restaurant. ”

As for how the Lexington filmmaking scene has evolved, he says, “There have always been people making films here (my co-worker Thom Southerland has made A LOT of good films), but there seems to be a renewed interest in creating a community. The Lexington Film League definitely deserves some credit for fostering this community and supporting local filmmakers.”

Looking ahead, Midkiff says, “I am currently collaborating on a script with my good friend, Joanna Grisham (a creative writing/English teacher at EKU and Asbury).   It is a comedic coming-of-age story about our experiences growing up in Pentecostal church camps. I have a few other finished feature length scripts, for which I am looking for a producer/director. I love making movies, but they can be so time consuming that I can imagine at some point in the future just writing and/or editing.”

He says, “I think the future of indie film in Lexington could be really unique and eventually be able to support a good regional film festival. The idea of a film collective has been brought up many times and is a great idea. I think an informal film collective could grow around here too and in some ways, already exists.”

This article appears on page 11 of the March 14, 2013 print edition of Ace.

Click to subscribe to the Ace e-dition (delivered to your inbox every Thursday), and stay tuned for more Lexington film news.

Behind the Music

Jeremy Midkiff (Left) hanging out with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys

Filmmaker Jeremy Midkiff might be better known to many Lexingtonians as musician Jeremy Midkiff of Big Fresh.

The influence is obviously a big part of the Age/Sex/Location short, and the upcoming feature.

Midkiff says, “I started playing in bands in high school and I am pretty sure Jonathan started playing guitar and banjo around the same time. I grew up mainly listening to pop music (from the Beatles and Beach Boys to the They Might Be Giants and Michael Jackson). Most of the music I have written for Big Fresh has been influenced by pop music, but in recent years I may me more influenced by hip hop and electronic music. Catchy melodies are still at the heart of what I like. Jonathan is a really good banjo and guitar player. He grew up on country and old-time music. He has played music in many live settings – most recently playing at Mexican restaurants in Atlanta. There is a little musical interlude in our Age/Sex/Location short, and we hope to have a lot of music in our feature film as well.”

Midkiff  “grew up in a smaller town (Owensboro, KY) and so when I came to Lexington and started playing a lot of shows with Big Fresh I felt like really embraced and at home. [Lexington] really hasn’t changed much. It is still the perfect sized town where there is a lot going on, but not so much going on where other artists don’t find and support each other.”

They are currently organizing a fundraiser where they’ll show the short film “and sing and play songs, in character.

He says,  “I doubt I will ever stop writing music. I don’t play live much with Big Fresh anymore, but they keep getting better and better and I hope that I can write them even one song that will connect with a lot of people.”

Click here to read an Ace 2000 Big Fresh CD review.

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