By Izzy Shill
Photos by Devon Wycoff
Last year this tiny virus became a sinkhole for hope. Its gravitational pull was unparalleled in any of our lifetimes. I am lucky enough to be a member of a vibrant community of artists: painters, musicians, photographers, filmmakers. As I connected with my long-lost friends, I realized that we all were suffering from the same paralysis. What on earth should we create? And for my writer friends, what story could we possibly tell that is more dramatic than this worldwide socio-political, health and climate calamity?
Many leaned into despair and have created beautiful pieces reflecting on isolation and stillness. I, however, felt that satire was the only way to cope. My poor penmanship and I took to the page. I decided to write a film in which all of my dearest people were parodies of themselves such as my darling friend Diana whose attention to detail is astonishing, but in the farce version, is obsessive and panicked. Or Devon, whose asexuality consistently confounds her many (many) suitors. The people I love most in the world all have vibrant personalities. What if I placed them all in a high-pressure situation? And what is the most high-pressure situation I know personally? A film set!
Going Nowhere is the product of a search for direction in 2020. It is a mockumentary in which a group of friends attempts to shoot a film during a pandemic. Every character plays a heightened version of themselves while using our real names. The team gathers to shoot a neo-noir oeuvre entitled The Seed, in which the world will be saved from an apocalypse by a plant. The film is told from the perspective of Izzy’s pervy little brother who is there to take behind-the-scenes footage of Izzy’s first feature film. His ability to capture the most damning and revealing moments makes the comedy zing and the audience cringe. Inspiration for the project were films such as This is Spinal Tap or television shows like The Office.
Eight actors flew to Louisville, KY in early August and began work on the project. In collaboration with an astoundingly hard working local crew we filmed for seven days on a farm in Crestwood, and then moved to Old Louisville to film in my producer’s home. We made a quick pit stop at the Village 8 movie theater, for you movie lovers out there.
After multiple visits to Louisville, we had heard about all of the challenges the local film community has been maneuvering since the tax incentive was eliminated several years ago. Highly skilled production designers, electricians, sound mixers, grips, and assistant camera operators all live amongst you. It was our pleasure to connect with this intimate community and have the luck to have their talent elevate my material. With the tax incentive coming back in full swing next year, hopefully, the industry will be back to its usual capacity and these artisans will have more consistent employment opportunities. It is our goal to act as ambassadors for the city of Louisville. We have been, and intend to continue, shouting from the rooftops how wonderful our experience was in Louisville. We felt welcome and supported at every turn.
Right now, we are in the post-production stage of the film where we edit, color grade, sound design and much more. The team is on track to make top festival submission deadlines. Previous films of mine have played at Sundance and South by Southwest (SXSW) and both festivals are eagerly awaiting a cut of the film.
While time-wise, we are on schedule, we have yet to raise all of the funds needed to complete the film. Our post-production budget is $50,000. We have been supported by several investors local to Louisville. Others offered their farms to us, covered meals for the crew, allowed us to borrow cars. Especially generous supporters allowed actors to stay in their residence and also provided a horse for a character’s dramatic entrance. There are so many people in our community who have made this film a reality.
Writer/ Director/ Producer/ Actor of Going Nowhere
If you are interested in getting involved, reach out! Our team’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Or make a tax-deductible donation through our 501(c)3 partner, Film Independent: https://www.filmindependent.org/programs/fiscal-sponsorship/going-nowhere/
Let’s bring fun back to film in Louisville!