Film­mak­ers aim to turn re­gion into movie mag­net


JOHN­SON CITY, Tenn. — When it comes to movies, lo­cal film­mak­ers say our re­gion could be a gold mine.

That was what Erik Kitchens had in mind when he launched his pro­duc­tion com­pany “30 Daze Pro­duc­tions” about a year ago. Along with the cre­ativ­ity from other pro­fes­sion­als in the area like pho­tog­ra­pher Ch­a­sity Thomp­son and writer An­gela Caito, the com­pany got to work on smaller projects like pro­mo­tions for lo­cal busi­nesses.

In the long term, the crew is work­ing on a doc­u­men­tary dubbed “Sub­cul­ture,” which Kitchens says will ex­am­ine the cul­ture sur­round­ing Subox­one, a drug com­monly used to help with nar­cotic ad­dic­tion. Kitchens is a sur­vivor of ad­dic­tion him­self, and painted that part about him­self in the name of his pro­duc­tion com­pany.

“I was al­low­ing my­self to be­come com­pletely crip­pled by al­co­hol and pre­scrip­tion pill ad­dic­tion, and got away from it, and couldn’t re­fo­cus my­self,” he said. “I started tak­ing pic­tures again, started get­ting back into video.”

Mak­ing a doc­u­men­tary of that scale takes a lot of time, pa­tience and work, so the crew de­cided to take a break to cre­ate a short film.

“Driv­ing Shame” will be the com­pany’s first short in­die film — a psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller in which a young woman and her clos­est com­pan­ion em­bark on a road trip to her home­town.

The movie stars lo­cal ac­tors Sierra Ann Ford, Do­minic Peter­son, Lukas Burch­field and Graci Bur­kett and fea­tures film­ing lo­ca­tions in sev­eral El­iz­a­beth­ton hotspots like The El­iz­a­beth­ton Star, Watauga Lakeshore Re­sort and Doe River Inn Bed and Break­fast as well as sev­eral John­son City lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing East Ten­nessee State Univer­sity and Pen­ny­man’s Diner.

Film­ing on the project wrapped last week, and Kitchens said the next few weeks will be full of edit­ing for him and the team. Then, they’ll send the film off for a mu­si­cal score, and Kitchens said the team hopes to have the film pre­miered at film fes­ti­vals this year in the re­gion and be­yond — Kitchens said he’s got his eye on fes­ti­vals in Nashville as well.

“Our fo­cus is on our area more than any­thing,” Kitchens noted. “What we’re try­ing to do is say, ‘Look what we can do here in the Tri-Cities and our area and make it a mag­net for the film in­dus­try.’”

“It also helps in­crease busi­ness rev­enue for lo­cal busi­ness own­ers,” Caito added. “Ev­ery busi­ness that we go into, we’re try­ing to show what their busi­ness looks like. If larger film­mak­ers come into the area they hire lo­cal staff, lo­cal pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies, lo­cal sound peo­ple. They go to our lo­cal ho­tels to stay and for a fea­ture film, they’re go­ing to book for sev­eral months at a time. It’s a good way to in­crease rev­enue in the city or the whole re­gion.”

Kitchens grew up on the west coast in a life sur­rounded by movies. His par­ents worked for the film in­dus­try, and he moved around to sev­eral large cities be­fore set­tling in the Tri-Cities re­gion 10 years ago.

Moviemak­ing was some­thing he said helped pull him out of his ad­dic­tion and re­fo­cus his life. The fur­ther he got into it, the more he re­al­ized the area is ripe for po­ten­tial as far as film­mak­ing goes.

In Er­win, there’s a full-blown movie stu­dio there [Pri­mordic Stu­dios],” he said. “That is Hol­ly­wood right there. There’s enough tal­ent in this re­gion cou­pled with its nat­u­ral beauty.”

Keep up with 30 Daze Pro­duc­tions on­line at 30dazepro­duc­tions. com or on so­cial me­dia in­clud­ing Face­book, In­sta­gram and Twit­ter.

“Our fo­cus is on our area more than any­thing.” — ERIK KITCHENS

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.