Local writer Mike Thomas may have moved to Corvallis in his adult life, but he is working hard to establish himself as a voice of the Willamette Valley. His new film project, Wake for Rebecca, will be shot in Brownsville, Corvallis, and Linn County with a cast and crew of local talent.
The film focuses on two women in the Willamette Valley who come together on the anniversary of their elder sister’s death to both mourn and celebrate. The sisters meet on their family’s orchard where over the course of an evening they argue, reminisce, laugh, and are haunted by the specter of their elder sister. The plot is inspired by Greek mythology, but instead of focusing on one Antigone or Electra and a cast of men, Thomas’s friend suggested he focus completely on women. The idea won him over.
The location he envisioned while writing, and where the movie itself will be shot, is on a friend’s orchard and farm. The cast will feature his friends from the area, including Caitlin Garets, lead singer of the band The Angries. Thomas is also the drummer in the band but promises this is not a musical.
Thomas said he wants to do the story as a film because the medium provides a greater emotional connection to the audience.
“Images and sound can convey emotion in people and take people back” to a different time, he noted. “It’s very beautiful.”
Even though he had long been drawn to movies, making one seemed a little out of reach. But advances in technology have now made the technical aspects of film-making more accessible. Editing software is widely available. Cameras and sound equipment are affordable. So last year Thomas thought, “With the way that technology is going, it might not be so difficult for me to pursue this now.”
Currently, he is searching for community support for his locally based project. He has started a campaign on Indiegogo, a crowd-funding site for independent film. He knows that even with access to equipment, making a movie is hard work and requires a high level of dedication.
“You need to rehearse your ass off,” he laughed, “and promote the crap out of it.”
Raising money for filmmakers means establishing a fan base and connections. Thomas hopes that by being connected to the Willamette Valley, he can find that support. His goal is to raise $2,000 by the end of April so he can begin shooting this summer.
Thomas aims to share his version of the Valley alongside reflections of the many interesting people who continue to inspire his work.
“I am showcasing the Willamette Valley,” he said, through an examination of the lives of three complex characters.
To contribute financially to Wake for Rebecca, visit http://bit.ly/ZvTQnX.
by Bridget Egan