Local film ‘No Feeling Is Final’ addresses mental health and resilience

At its peak last year, the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to most theatrical and film work. But, a local director still managed to produce a 90-minute film at the Goshen Theater.

Goshen manager and local Michelle Milne said “No feeling is final” is “a film based on a book based on a tour of a play based on another book based on a friendship”.

That friendship, she said, was between writer and film star Ted Swartz and her longtime creative partner Lee Eshleman.

“They have been acting partners, creators, business partners, best friends for over twenty years,” Milne said. “And then Lee committed suicide in 2007.”

Ultimately, “No Feeling Is Final” is a one-man show about mental health and resilience. It was shot over four days last year when Milne said creative projects were scarce.

“Personally, I was delighted to have a project to work on with other people safely, as I experienced a lot of isolation during the pandemic,” she said. “I think each of us on this project did it, in different ways.”

The film tackles this isolation head-on – it begins with Swartz taking the stage at the Goshen Theater for a performance, only to realize that there is no audience. He then recounts his journey, from friendship to touring from book to film.

“So there’s this nice kind of diaper peeling that he does during this movie going from performance mode to a lot more vulnerable and open,” Milne said.

“I don’t want to reveal the ending, but it continues too,” she added. “This idea that we all face difficulties, we all have to look at our mental health as well as our physical health.”

In addition to Milne, a native of Goshen, the project included Jacob Claassen, an art and theater student at Goshen College, and Goshen Theater technical director Jerry Peters.

“It was something we were able to do during the pandemic because he was an actor and we could distance ourselves and be masked,” Milne said. “The Goshen Theater provided space and we were able to provide them with some income by contributing to the costs and the rent. “

“No Feeling Is Final” premiered live at the Goshen Theater last week, but its online premiere is Tuesday night at 7:30 am EST. Tickets are available through Ted & Company or the Center of art, humor and soul.

Contact Gemma at gdicarlo@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo.

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Gladys T. Hensley