“Fall race” | Local filmmaker creates fascinating film – Times-Standard

I have to admit I had no idea how I would react to seeing the film adaptation of the intriguing drama “Autumn Run” by longtime Eureka resident and talented playwright Susan Bigelow Marsh which premiered. world on stage in 2001 in his plays. Live performance space above the Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka.

The original screenplay was co-created by Bigelow Marsh with Janice Goldberg, his artistic collaborator on a number of plays first produced at PIP (and directed by Goldberg, originally from New York). It was then successfully staged by companies across the country, all of which I reviewed for The Times-Standard or Humboldt Beacon.

However, “Autumn Run” has always stood out for me above the rest, and at the time it was my choice as “Beti’s Outstanding Outstanding Production 2001”. He has earned this well-deserved recognition across the art board for a number of reasons:

• The intelligently constructed “mysterious” scenario.

• The four main actors who played the estranged brothers of a family.

• A major supporting actress (whose ‘questionable way of death’ plot has turned and turned).

• Equally noteworthy was the demanding stage design with a “real river with running water”. It flowed past the family’s now vacant fishing and hunting hut, built with open walls, which exposed the action going on inside.

• There was also live music played and sung by one of the actors, which was interspersed in and out of the action, but (like all dialogue) was always constantly underlined by the white noise of running water. of the river during its “Autumn Run” of unseen salmon returning home to complete part of their life cycle – just as family members were brought back to end an unanswered tragedy that had taken an impact over their lives for 10 long years apart.

All of the above is obviously what fascinated accomplished local actress / producer / director Carol Lang so much that she felt inspired to ask playwrights (at one point almost 20 years ago) ‘they would give him permission to adapt the script of the play into one for a movie. They did it.

Although the talented Bigelow Marsh sadly passed away in 2013, Goldberg was still available in 2021 to give Lang (and his film adaptation collaborator, Dawn Bressler) the artistic / creative contribution regarding their film version (finally ready. to produce) of “Autumn Run.” It was one that would be produced entirely by a talented cast and crew of Humboldt County actors, technicians and musicians.

The end result of what has become a three-year artistic adventure for Lang was the film which premiered last week. It took place at the historic Arcata Minor Theater (in the midst of a steady downpour of enough rain to “revive” a dry riverbed for a salmon run). The intimate venue, with its large screen and excellent sound system, was ideal for the early days of the film live (masked) with the audience.

James Gadd, Jesse March, Queena DeLany and AJ Hempstead star in “Autumn Run”. (Courtesy of Clang Productions)

However, as I discovered before the screening after watching a video provided by Lang (who not only co-adapted, but produced and directed the film), the original script for the scene had (courtesy Goldberg) been changed in some key aspects of the characters. Now there were no longer four brothers in the separated family, but three brothers and a sister.

Obviously, this changes the gender dynamics in their already turbulent family relationships which give the storyline different nuances in how they behave towards each other, and (perhaps, more so) why – because they now have to. decide whether or not to sell the old vacation. cabin in order to “bury the memories of the violence that occurred there”.

It also means that the all-out macho vibe of the brothers still competing (to live up to their late father’s “outdoor” character) has now become a less obvious defining aspect to which each of them (including their fiery sister) apparently still sucks. up to the task by revisiting the family cabin by the river and the surrounding forest.

Another important change has been made to the order in which the plot begins. The action of the film now opens by the riverside with a shocking “accidental” of a girl. gunshot death (one of the brothers being the “apparent shooter”) which only occurs in the room towards the very end. Therefore, the movie goes back and forth between past and current events and challenges you to keep up.

There was also another key, a supporting character added – a Native American sage named White Hawk, whose words to the brother sentenced to prison for the shooting, are now the basis for his actions back to finally share the truth of his actions: “Go back as far as necessary to move forward.” “

All of the above is as much as I want to tell you about what happens during this turbulent history of a broken family and each member’s passionate journey to hopefully heal their individual and collective pain and anger when ‘they admit and find out what is true. . While love can’t always conquer everything, at least sometimes understanding can.

So, do the film’s re-imagined changes to the characters and the flow of the hidden reveal of the tragic plot question alter the emotional impact of the original version on stage? My answer to that is a firm ‘no’. It’s also well done and poignantly powerful – from the well-chosen actors themselves who inhabit their roles with fundamentally solid performances. (Although the real star of the show is the breathtaking beauty of the setting of the Mattole River Valley itself – photographed perfectly by Matt St. Charles.)

Is it a technically perfect effort, for the first time, on the big screen anytime? Not always. The sound mix (when the actors speak) sometimes sound hollow, and the obviously extremely talented actors still seemed to occasionally exchange cues in a room rather than

Pictured is the poster for the local movie “Autumn Run”. The film was produced and directed by Carol Lang. (Courtesy of Clang Productions)

have credible conversations with each other.,

However, it’s interesting that previous “non-actor” Joseph LeMieux delivers his few essential and memorable lines as White Hawk with surprising natural skill. This is an unexpected real diamond in the rough in the cast.

Shot on location at the Mattole Camp and Retreat Center (with strict COVID-19 precautions in place) last November in a remarkably short 15-day filming schedule, the actors had been picked and in rehearsal several months in advance (at except Jesse March) so that they are well prepared for their roles. And, they stayed put with the film crew from start to finish, continuing their scene rehearsals between shooting scenes.

Either way, the following lists the names of that fearless and fearless cast and production team (as well as those who did all the post-production work to visually and soundly improve what was done on location):

• Main roles of “Autumn Run”: Brothers – James Gadd (Rob), AJ Hempstead (Rob) and Jesse March (James) and Sister Queena DeLany (Philomena)

• Great supporting roles: Marguerite Hockaday (Tracy) and Joseph LeMieux (White Hawk)

• Minor secondary roles: Ranae Zeller (Little Ben), Valerie Sanford (Mother) and Spike (Chien / Kalani).

The film was produced and directed by Carol Lang for CLANG Productions and the executive producer is Dawn Bressler. It was adapted for film by screenwriters Lang and Bressler (based on the play by Susan Bigelow Marsh and Janice Goldberg). Associate producers are Howard Lang, Alan Olmstead and Laura Rhinehart.

The director of photography and lighting was Matt St. Charles; first assistant camera / gaffer, David Thompson; sound engineer, Bruce Paz, Northjetty Productions; Film Editor, Music Supervisor, Sound Design, Animation and Color Grading Director, Alan Olmstead, Sirius Studios; music, John Howarth, David Lynn Grimes and Jeffrey Smoller; design director and owner of properties, Laura Rhinehart; costume designer, Denise Ryles; costume assistant, Rosemary Smith; makeup artist / designer, Karen Echegaray; production assistant, Kira Gallaway; script supervisor, Jake Holper; boom operator, Kevin Harris; handle, Corwin Shrewsbury; and motorcycle education, Jack Ridlon.

All in all, there were only a few production adjustments needed to get this promising first film produced by CLANG Productions ready for Lang’s “Autumn Run” submission to some existing small film festivals looking for new ones. works by new local film companies.

It’s certainly already an exciting murder mystery film (appropriate for mature audiences, due to the many four-letter words added to the play’s original dialogue), which still holds your interest.

So, heed the wisdom of White Hawk and “Come back as far as you want to go forward” and watch his trailer on YouTube.

But, before you do that, find out about all of its intriguing background details at autumnrunmovie.com.

As Lang promised underage audiences during a question-and-answer session that took place right after the film ended (along with several other cast and crew members), this will be the first of local talents that she intends to create. She is certainly a determined local artist, who may well be on her way to eventual film success if she continues to see it through. Once you experience Lang’s movie for yourself, you’ll believe it, too.

And, I’m also sure if Bigelow Marsh was still around, she would give her artistic blessing to the fascinating film that her piece became when she premiered her 2021 “Autumn Run”.

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