Written and directed by Hunter Adams the movie focuses on Jake Mather, a 13-year-old girl, who loses her brother in a tragic accident and must face the moral decisions of just what she would do to bring him back in this gothic thriller set in the mysterious backwoods of fictional Egypt, Illinois, during the 1970s.
“It’s great to be back in Southern Illinois for the last few days of filming. We’ve spent a lot of time here over the last year from scouting to shooting and surviving a blizzard,” recalled producer P. J. Fishwick. “The crew and myself are excited to reconnect with so many of the great people in Southern Illinois who have helped make this project a success.”
Filming began Saturday and should last for eight days.
The first few days though will be fast-paced as the crew deals with the limited time they have with the actor for Jake. When selected last year Sami Isler [EYES-ler] of Oklahoma had already worked in two films, but this would be her first in a lead role. Since then, she’s been selected as the daughter in the new father-daughter sitcom “Sean Saves the World,” that premieres Oct. 3 on NBC.
Dig Two Graves also stars Ted Levine known for his roles in the television series “Monk” and the film, “Silence of the Lambs,” as Jake’s grandfather, Sheriff Waterhouse. He too has joined a new hour-long drama this summer in the FX network’s crime thriller, “The Bridge.”
Director picks locations throughout the region
This week’s filming includes scenes from the beginning of the movie that set up, then shows the tragic accident that takes place during the summer. Downtown Vienna, Ferne Clyffe State Park and Mermet Springs will feature prominently in this week’s activities.
In January the crew filmed a carnival in downtown Marion, a funeral service in the Goddard Chapel, the jail cells of the Williamson County Jail Museum, the old Club 37 in Olmstead and the grade school in Grand Chain, as well as Ferne Clyffe, Tunnel Hill State Trail and the Cache River.
Four old homes have been used for various settings including the historic homes of two Southern Illinois lawmakers, Civil War era Congressman A. J. Kuykendall in Vienna and Prohibition Era Congressman E. E. Dennison in Marion. The other two have been an old cabin in Jackson County near Rattlesnake Ferry and a farmhouse in southern Union County.
Independent Filmmaker Project
Last month the Independent Filmmaker Project selected Adams as one of 10 first-time directors in its annual Independent Filmmaker Labs. The group had previously picked the Dig Two Graves script as one of 20 in its Emerging Narrative Program back two years ago.
IFP concentrates exclusively on low-budget features with budgets under $1 million, and provides the director and his team a highly immersive, free, year-long mentorship program focusing on completion, marketing and distribution of their first feature films.
Specifically, the Labs provide first-time feature filmmakers with projects in post-production the technical, creative and strategic tools necessary to launch their films and careers.
The Dig Two Graves team selected includes Adams, producers Fishwick and Claire Connelly as well as the film’s editor Scott Hanson.
Not only will the experience be educational for the filmmakers, Fishwick says the move should pay off in both the quality of the final product as well as financially.
Since 2005, 82 percent of the projects picked for the labs and premiered at major U.S. and international film festivals and more than 60 percent securing a distribution deal of some kind.
What’s next for Dig Two Graves
Once this week is complete, the film’s director and editor return to the post-production phase where they will finish editing the film and getting it ready for showing. Fishwick said they will submit the film for inclusion at major film festivals this fall, and a premiere hopefully next year at one of them.
More information and photographs about the film can be found online at the website digtwograves.com, and on Facebook, at www.Facebook.com/digtwograves.