With a little help from their friends
"We could have waited for funding and lost [creative] control," considers filmmaker Nyk Fry. "Instead, we decided to get on with it. We all decided let’s just make a movie. See where it goes."
Fry is directing "Reflections in the Mud," behind a progressive frame JVC HD 110, a camera he says acts like a $100,000 machine, but cost him $5,000. Television’s dramatic series "24" uses the same device to capture action scenes, he says. The new technology was one of many elements that allowed the locally produced, locally cast film to be shot on a "shoestring budget."
As the cast and crew of "Reflections in the Mud" wraps up filming the scenes around Salt Lake and Park City, the bare essential equipment minimizes the interruption at local businesses and street corners.
"Reflections in the Mud" has also benefited from support by local businesses such as restaurants Leger’s and Ghidotti’s, and Pictureline, a photography store in Salt Lake. Chloe Lane has supplied costumes and RSB Designs created some of the jewelry.
All told, the film will be shot within a matter of four to six weeks, with production costs amounting to $1 million, according to Fry.
Parkite Mike Hamill’s poetry and play served as the basis for "Reflections in the Mud." Hamill additionally stars in the film as the romantic lead, Jonathan Powell, opposite actress Jodi Russell, who plays Leslee Williams, a driven photojournalist who struggles to balance work and romance.
The title, "Reflections in the Mud," is the name of a poem written by Jonathan Powell, an acquaintance who returns to Williams’ life as a love interest.
"The film starts with us catching up with Leslee Williams, who is a career-oriented war correspondent," says Fry. "She’s successful in one part, but not so successful in the other part of her life like many career women, she doesn’t think her feelings have a place."
Russell is a seasoned actor on both stage and screen, appearing at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival in "Dark Matter," a movie about a Chinese university student struggling to fit into American academia, alongside actors Meryl Streep and Aidan Quinn.
In "Reflections," Williams confides in her friend Ray, portrayed by Marc Raymond, owner of Park City’s Marc Raymond salons. Raymond recently appeared as a host in the Park City Follies and has been cast in several Egyptian Theatre productions. In 2005, he made his cinematic debut in the comedy "Down and Derby."
The role of the off-beat sidekick was originally intended for a female, but Russell suggested Raymond instead.
"We’ve known each other for years and we have this built-in relationship," explains Russell. "We’re just goofy together."
Another familiar face in the cast is 30-year actor and Park City sandwich shop owner, Tony Leger. He met writer Hamill when he was cast in his play, "Zoo Story," presented at the Kimball Art Center in 1982.
Hamill describes "Reflections in the Mud" as a film that would not easily be shelved at Blockbuster stores, since it is both a "romantic comedy," and "suspense thriller."
In the film "things aren’t always what they seem," says Fry.
There is romance, but "it’s not a chick flick," agrees Fry. "For me, it’s all the same. It’s all life to me if it’s done right."
Fry is collaborating with Russell’s husband, Air Supply’s lead vocalist and guitarist Graham Russell on the soundtrack, after Fry recently helped to make the rock band’s 30th anniversary DVD "Big in Taiwan."
This is Fry’s first time directing a feature film. Previously, he has directed in television, with the CBS pilot reality program, Fluid Television, billed as "A Man, A Camera and A Pair of Shorts." He has since directed several music videos for singer Brandie Frampton and singer/piano soloist Rich Wyman.
Fry has always wanted to be a feature filmmaker, and at 42, he says, he finds the process has lived up to his expectations.
"These are really, really good local talents and they’re fun to work with," he says. "It’s really just like a group of friends, getting together to make a film."
For more information, visit http://www.nykfry.com.
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