Goshen News, Goshen, IN

August 12, 2012

Writer, actor returns to Goshen for film project

By AMANDA GRAY
THE GOSHEN NEWS

GOSHEN — Once again, a film crew will be seen on the streets of Goshen.

“Sand Castles,” a full-length drama dreamt up by Goshen-born Jordon Hodges, will be filmed in the city in October, he said.

“I wrote this story with my hometown in mind,” Hodges said he told the director, Clenét Verdi-Rose, while in Los Angeles. “‘Let’s take it there.’”

The film focuses on a family that has been all but destroyed by the kidnapping of their 5-year-old daughter. She is found 12 years later, and returns to the family and town, mute, according to the film’s website.

Hodges said that he’s happy to bring the film’s production back to Goshen for many reasons, from the people and wonderful locations to the cost-effectiveness of the Midwest over the West Coast.

The area has also surprised him, most recently in the talent that he saw at auditions for roles in the film on Aug. 1 and 2 at the Goshen Theater.

“It’s been a dream (working on the film in Goshen),” he said. “We didn’t know the talent that was out here. It’s not Hollywood out here — you don’t expect there to be large amounts of actors. We were blown away at the dedication of the real people.”

While casting isn’t complete, it does involve people from the Goshen area as well as some people from Los Angeles, including actor Clint Howard, director Ron Howard’s brother and present in many films, including “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Apollo 13.”

“It’s been very emotional to see the script come to life,” Hodges said. “I’m seeing people breathing into it — it’s like watching your child be born, again and again.”

Associate Producer Paula Fournier said she “fell in love” with the script when she first read it six months ago.

“Chris (Nickin, producer) told him that, no matter what, we wanted to work on this because it’s beautiful,” she said.

Executive producer and actor Scott Jemison said this project is special for him.

“This is my first big project, and it’s kind of sad because these experiences only come around once in a lifetime,” Jemison said of the film’s atmosphere, message and working environment. “I’m really scared for the last day of production.”

Filming for the project will begin Oct. 1, starting with a few days in St. Joseph, Mich., and then returning to Goshen Oct. 4 for the remainder of the shooting schedule, according to Hodges.

“We’ve got our locations locked, and our casting is being sculpted,” Hodges said. “The current process is hiring crew and additional cast members.”

Director of Photography Chris Faulisi said that Goshen is perfect for the film, and makes his job easier with its sights and sounds.

“This town speaks for itself,” Faulisi said. “This is my first time in the Midwest, and I can’t say enough great things about it. As far as the visuals and locations go, these locations are beautiful. They have a character and heart of their own — they’re almost like an additional character in the story... I’ve shot in big studios and sets, but it’s nothing like coming to the real thing like Goshen. I’m beyond excited to work on this film.”

Hodges said he places emphasis on not taking this area for granted, whether in general or on this specific project.

“We’re going to respect this area and do justice for the town,” he said. “I grew up here, and I respect it. We’re not bringing Hollywood here — we want everybody to enjoy this project.”

Faulisi said he has felt welcomed into the town.

“A lot of people wanted the film done in Los Angeles,” he said. “But it was a big goal of ours to support this community and bring it here.”

For more information on the project, visit www.sandcastlesfilm.com, follow @SandCastlesFilm on Twitter or “like” the Sand Castles Film page on Facebook.