The film industry might not be prominent in states like Ohio, but the members of Glass City Films are looking to change the way people see movie production in the Midwest.
The Gateway Film Center will premier the group’s film “Separation Anxiety,” which features past and present OSU students, at 8 p.m. on Friday.
The 92-minute film examines the relationship of friends Jess (Kiana Harris), Quinn (Tyler Seiple) and Bailey (Corbin Jones) after tragedy changes their lives.
Harris and Seiple are alumni of OSU, and Corbin is currently working on a bachelor of arts in theater.
The once inseparable group splits up after Quinn moves west for employment. Later, Bailey mysteriously dies at a dam that he often visited. The film uses a non-standard narrative to tell the story of Jess and Quinn as they struggle to cope with their friend’s death and the uncertainty behind it.
The film also stars Polly Adams of “Law & Order” and John Wesley Shipp of “The Flash” and “Dawson’s Creek” fame.
Past events inspired 31-year-old screenwriter Jeremy Sony, who wrote the piece as a means of catharsis.
“When I was in my early 20s, I was living in California. I’m originally from Columbus, so I was far away from my family and my support system,” Sony said. “One of my uncles was killed in an accident, and that kind of started this process of dealing with that, and I generally deal with things by writing about them.”
Seiple said his life also mirrored that of his character, Quinn, which helped him relate and connect to the story. After finishing his bachelor’s in acting and history at OSU in 2006, Seiple moved out West and attended the University of California, Irvine, where he received his master’s in drama within the field of acting in 2009.
Seiple said the story was about leaving behind the people one cares about, but coming to realize those people are always with them.
The movie was directed by 25-year-old Cole Simon, an OSU alumnus with a bachelor’s in theater. “Separation Anxiety” was the second movie he directed for Glass City Films. He said the wealth of resources in the Midwest aided in creating the movie.
“Shooting in the Midwest is fantastic because the resources here are … infinite,” he said. “When you approach someone and say, ‘Hey, we’re making a film and we’d like to use this location,’ or, ‘Hey, we need background actors for this scene,’ people are just so happy to be involved in something like that.”
The movie was shot completely in Ohio during November 2009, with two weeks of shooting in Columbus and another week spent in Toledo. The movie features scenes shot at Ohio landmarks such as St. John’s Episcopal Church, the Toledo Express Airport and the Alum Creek Dam.
Cole said he was originally slated to play the character Bailey, but after the decision was made for him to direct, Jones was cast to fill the role.
“We had acted in a few shows together,” Jones said. “He contacted me and thought that I was right for the part. I went over to his house and read some lines, and he said that I was a shoo-in.”
John Klein, the 26-year-old producer of the film, said the movie had proven powerful at its test screenings and premiere.
“We know that it’s an emotional piece, we know that people react to it on a very core level,” Klein said. “They know these characters … and I think it means a lot to people to see that depicted so realistically. In other films, everything is at a very superficial level, but there are a lot of layers to these characters.”
Simon summed up what the cast wanted its audience to get out of the movie.
“I really hope that they walk out of there, and they want to call up their friend and just reinvest, that they’ll reevaluate, because ultimately the friendship that they have is a beautiful thing.”