Four months ago, towards the end of November, I pulled into Stanberry, (pop. 1,185) to stay with Blake Eckard (actually at his Mom’s place), and as circumstances looked OK, shot a film. I was headed, along with Blake, to the St. Louis Film Festival, each of us to show new films, at the end of the month. I’d shot and acted in Blake’s Ghosts of Empire Prairie back in May of 2012, and while around had soaked up a bit of the local ambiance. Just happened to make a jig-saw fit with some things I’d scribbled down some decades earlier, and those things, along with some local tales which Blake knows well and tells with a natural story-teller’s ease, just seemed to leap into each other’s arms. I asked Roxanne Rogers, who had been in my long ago Slow Moves, and then the newest, Coming to Terms, to make a little detour on her way from LA to her home in Istanbul. We met up at the airport in KC on the 18th, and headed to Blake’s Mom’s house. A few days later I went back to the KC airport to get Frank Mosley, who’d also volunteered to come be in it and then went on with us to St Louis. We were joined in Stanberry by Tyler Messner, a friend of Blake’s since childhood who’s been in almost all of Blake’s films.
In the next 6 days we shot the film in a simple relaxed way – natural light, a handful of simple set-ups against a black cloth, with Blake telling “real” stories (names changed to protect the innocent) from around Gentry County. On returning now, Arianne Martin, who was in Ghosts, was here to be in Blake’s new film, Coyotes Kill for Fun, and plays in my film as well. While I was traveling in Europe Blake wrote a few new scenes and did 10 shots of locals which will get slipped in. On getting those few one shot-sequences tomorrow I should have it pretty much done, with only some music to record (my own C&W) and a few other small things to add. Hope to have it done in May or so. About 75 mins. I think it’ll be pretty damn good.
The film is a kind of play with literature, story-telling, reality, all with a deep mid-west footing. Of course, it’s one of my films so it is for the usual audience of (n)one, sure to be seen by extremely few, and ignored by the film biz, large and small. Nothing to do with making a buck.
Broken down on the highway, broken down on the road
My car’s runnin’ fine, it ain’t a problem of mine,
It’s my heart that’s in pieces, you know
Broken hearts, and busted up dreams,
All decked out in faded old jeans,
It’s a story, it’s a story as old as time.
Standing there at a far edge of town,
There’s a broken young man with his head hanging down
And he’s calling,
And he’s falling in front of your eyes.
(partial lyrics from song of mine, circa 1988)
Here in Stanberry, Blake is shooting his new film which I’d intended to shoot for him but I arrived with a nagging cold/flu and have had to lay low here, trying to recuperate. On the road in two more days, headed to O’Hare to drop Roxanne off for a flight to Istanbul, and then I spend a week and some visiting old friends in Chicago. Then slowly back to Butte for a summer of work and rest.