Whelm to premiere on Oct. 13

By Joseph Slacian

The world premiere of “Whelm,” a movie written and directed by a Southwood High School graduate and filmed in and around Wabash County, will take place during the Heartland Film Festival in October.

The film will premiere at 7:45 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at the Toby Theatre at Newfields in the Indianapolis Museum of Art, according to writer and director Skyler Lawson. A second screening is planned for 7:10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17.

“The entire cast and crew will be there,” he said.

In addition, a panel discussion entitled “The Making of the Indiana Epic on Film” will take place at 1 p.m. Oct. 13.

Panelists will include Lawson, cinematographer Ed Herrera, co-composer Chris Dudley and Delil Baran, one of the lead actors in the film.

“Whelm” is set in the Great Depression where two brothers get tangled in a rivalry between a legendary bank robber and an eccentric young criminal.

“Wabash looks absolutely stunning in the movie,” Lawson told The Paper of Wabash County. “It was such a pleasure capturing my hometown in such an epic scope. It deserves it.

“We shot with some of the best equipment in the world. When people from Wabash see the movie, they will see their town differently than they have ever seen it. It was a dream to shoot in Wabash and it looks like a dream in the movie.”

Lawson is still working on the movie’s final print.

“I am currently finishing the final color grade of the move to be sure to be ready for the world premiere,” he said. “And Skywalker Sound – yes, that Skywalker Sound – has come on board to do the final sound mix. They reached out to me after seeing the trailer online.

“When Skywalker Sound reached out to me after seeing the teaser trailer online, I was stunned to be honest. Their name is on the best movies ever made.”

Lawson said he was proud that they became involved with the movie.

“It meant that we made something ourselves that caught the eye of the best in the world,” he said. “When I showed them the movie, they were all in. I wanted them to know that it wasn’t just a slick trailer, but we really were striving for something impactful. It is a journey that you don’t see coming once the movie starts.”

As director, Lawson said it was fun for him to keep the audience guessing “and to take them on a ride they won’t forget.”

“There is a certain kind of move that isn’t being made much anymore,” Lawson said. “We want to bring it back. The American epic is a vital part of our culture and it was a true honor to make one in my hometown.”

In addition to the Heartland Film Festival, Lawson plans to submit the movie to Sundance, TriBeca, South by Southwest, Slamdance, AFI, CameraImage and other film festivals.

“This is out time to give audiences from around the world a first look, and also exhibit our film to potential distributors,” he said.

He said he’s been working around the clock to prepare for the premiere.

“It is important to me to bring the film to Indiana and feed the state that fed me,” he said. “The film festival circuit can keep you busy. But I have another script on the horizon that is even bigger. I can’t wait to dig into the writing process again.”

Lawson is grateful to Wabash officials for allowing him to film around the community.

“The support that I was given from the people of Wabash is unparalleled and I am eternally grateful,” he said. “For those who helped with the movie, they will see their names in the credits. I hope to see you all at the Heartland Film Festival World Premiere.”

Posted on 2019 Oct 01