Roxanne Rogers and Blake Eckard
For what seems like for the umpteenth time, headed to the Jeonju Film Festival in South Korea, this time invited to screen They Had It Coming. This will give us a chance to see some friends, former students, have another taste of delicious Korean cuisine, and see how much things changed in two years. Don’t yet know the screening dates, but was looking like May 3 and 5. It’ll be the first public screening, though given that it is heavily talky and quite “American” I wonder what the largely Korean audience will make of it – a real subtitle marathon? Not going to exactly provide a good reading of how the film works on viewers.
Set in Blake Eckard’s home town of Stanberry MO (pop. 1185), we shot in two phases, which, if it were up to my brain to sort it out, I couldn’t say just when. I think spring and then autumn, 2014 or was it 2013? Dang if I remember. While in Stanberry shooting and acting in Blake’s film Ghosts of Empire Prairie, he told us a handful of local stories, embellished in his story-teller manner, and finding these just too juicy to pass up, I asked if maybe we could spin a film around them and him. Such was the genesis of They Had It Coming. I tossed in a few things that had been lingering in my files for 20 or 30 years, we each wrote a bit more, and bang, we had a film. Frank Mosley, Arianne Martin, Roxanne Rogers and Tyler Messner came in, and in pretty quick order (less than a week?) it was mostly shot, in Blake’s mother, Susan’s, kitchen! Yep, that was the studio space where nearly 2/3rds of it was shot with window light and a black cloth. While I was off on a trip to Europe Blake used my camera to snare shots (above) of locals when they came into Eckard’s Hardware to shop. Roxanne’s sister Sandy let me use one of her songs, I tossed in a few of my own, Stephen Taylor’s dad, Larry, lent his voice for a smooth TV announcer (he used to be anchor in Boise Idaho news program), and after a short bit of editing on CS6, out popped the film. My thanks to everyone who helped.
I sent an early cut out last summer, accruing a list of festival “no’s,” and getting the suggestion from Mark Rappaport, that I should change my title, which had been “True Gentry County Stories” to one of the lines in the film. I took his advice. They Had It Coming, while itself being a fiction, is simultaneously a kind of tone-poem/essay on the process of “story-telling.” In my view a rather strange little beast it is, that for some reason gathers towards the end to provide a visceral punch of a conclusion. I don’t really understand quite how it manages to do so – adamantly skirting all the usual mechanisms used – but it does.
Blake and Tyler Messner
Arianne Martin and Blake
Upcoming screenings include Coming to Terms in Houston TX, April 23, at the Blaffer Art Museum, and then on May 11 in Austin at the Austin Film Society; Last Chants for a Slow Dance will screen May 10 at AFS. And something is cooking for Phoenix AZ, just when up in the air. As is life….