Independent feature film produced in Columbus aims to grow local film industry


The independent feature film “They / Them / Us” is just the start of a new and growing local film industry in Columbus. Credit: Sam Chase | Lantern File Photo

The independent feature film “They / Them / Us” is just the start of a new and growing local film industry in Columbus.

Featuring a city that rarely gets to the big screen, “They / Them / Us” premieres Friday at the Lincoln Theater, followed by an after party at Wild Goose Creative. According to the “They / Them / Us” website, It was filmed in Columbus in August 2020 and follows the story of two divorced parents who fall in love and reunite their four children, as well as the challenges of parenting and starting a new relationship.

Jonathan Sherman, “They / Them / Us” director and co-writer and associate professor of film at Kenyon College, said the film’s goal was to present the Midwest in a way that previous films did. not done. Its characters occupy various identities, like being non-binary, that exist across the United States – not just in coastal areas, according to the film’s website.

“I really wanted the city to be kind of almost like a character in the movie,” Sherman said.

Columbus has many beautiful filming locations, such as German and Victorian villages, Sherman said.

“One of my favorite little short scenes in the movie is a scene in the German village where the main characters are walking down the street and it’s beautifully lit, and the city looks great,” Sherman said.

Compared to other cities, like New York or Los Angeles, Columbus is a very affordable city to shoot, Sherman said. He said the total budget for “They / Them / Us” was $ 550,000.

“Our filming budget in New York would have been $ 500,000, which is the total budget for the film,” Sherman said. “They charge a fortune.

Sherman said Chad Whittington, president and CEO of the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts and executive producer of “They / Them / Us,” started a film fund, Columbus Pictures Film Fund, which selected “They / Them / Us ”as the first production, according to the film’s website.

“CAPA is launching a film fund that will support Columbus filmmakers and films set in Columbus or films made by Columbus filmmakers,” Sherman said. “The idea is to build a local film industry here.”

One of the hopes of this film was to involve film students from all over Ohio in the production so that they could connect with each other while growing the local film industry, Sherman said. This way, film students don’t necessarily have to relocate to New York or Los Angeles after graduation.

Desiree Levingston, production assistant for “They / Them / Us” and 2020 Ohio State alumnus, said she believes the film will show people in big cities that high-quality film production is possible in cities like Columbus.

“It’ll show them that there are teams in Ohio because I know a lot of people there don’t realize that people are working here in this industry,” Levingston said. “I think that will kind of expose people who aren’t from that area to the fact that there is room to grow up here and you don’t have to move elsewhere to do that.”

Tickets for the premiere of “They / Them / Us” can be purchased on the CBUSArts website. General admission is $ 5, and masks and proof of vaccination are required for entry.


Gladys T. Hensley