Local independent filmmakers are hard at work to produce quality films.
As time goes by, shooting a video can be as easy as taking out one’s iPhone and pushing the record button. There was even an iPhone movie at the Sundance Film Festival, but husband and wife team Wes and Kathleen Hartshorn prefer to use higher-grade equipment, like a DSLR camera.
“Filmmaking is so much more accessible,” says Kathleen. And while the Hartshorns could shoot anywhere with many different devices, they chose their home state and Wes’s hometown: Dayton, Ohio.
The pair from Physis Films brings attention to Ohio’s place on the film map and its production of independent quality films. In June 2010, Physis Films began a streak of writing, producing, directing and distributing everything from short films to feature films to commercial videos.
“As an independent producer, there are always limits, but in another sense [there aren’t any]” says Wes.
Wes has worked on projects ranging from TV shows to feature films, and has been a court researcher on Judge Mathis.
“I’ve been [in the business] for 10 years, and I’ve made the mistakes that you need to make [as a filmmaker],” says Wes. “But you don’t know it’s a mistake until you do.”
Recently, the pair began using drones, attaching GoPro cameras to them for aerial shots. This might come in handy for the upcoming project Physis Films is currently working on called Campaign on the Run, a “raunchy political action comedy.”
“[Filmmaking is] limitless because of how [the technology has] changed,” says Kathleen.
While they came up with the title knowing it might change, the plan for the film is for it to be self-distributed.
TV shows are another format with which Physis Films has familiarity.
Out of maybe 1,000 “sizzle” reels (3-5 minute reels showing the concept for a show) only three actually become TV shows. But that isn’t stopping Physis Films, who produced a TV show called Family Stuff, which can currently be seen on Physis Film’s Vimeo account.
“No matter how big [a project] grows, there is one regulating factor: the script, the story,” says Wes.
As Physis Films produces more films and shows, Wes hopes that one day they will end up at film festivals like South by Southwest, Toronto International Film Festival and Sundance.
“If you believe in what you have, it makes things easier,” he says.
For those looking to get into the industry, Kathleen has some advice.
“[People] have a tendency of getting pigeonholed, stuck in one part of the industry,” she says, adding that if you can get onto a film set, “it’s an adrenaline rush.”
Currently, Physis Films has six core members and countless others who are involved.
While both Wes and Kathleen have other pursuits, such as Wes’ real estate company and Kathleen’s work at the YMCA of Greater Dayton, they can’t stay away from film.
“The beauty of film is that we are all connected,” says Kathleen.