A Spark in Nothing

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A Spark in Nothing by To the Moon Filmworks

A Spark In Nothing is a film collective experience which allows youth film enthusiast to work side by side with film industry professionals creating a full feature-length film. It will be a project showcasing the beauty of Humboldt County along with the decisions people make toward love and hope.

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Project lead, filmmaker Griffin Loch wrote, directed and produced his first feature at 13 years old with most of the cast and crew coming from his 7th-grade class.  He then produced his second film at 14, and is aiming for four feature length films released before he turns 18. Though the cast and crew are all volunteers and learners, Loch maintains high expectations.  “Over the two projects, I expected everyone on set to learn their department, work hard and be professional. We all rose to the occasion became a team, a team of learners that inspired others to pursue their own dreams,” says Loch. 

A Spark In Nothing lead actors Ben Snow, Brianna Ripkouski, Eric Mickelson and Abby Stevens are all professional Los Angeles based actors who have donated countless hours to the project, including driving or flying to Humboldt County to shoot for 14 days. They mentored and worked side by side with learners and local talent, according to Loch, “with courtesy and professionalism.”

It takes a village to raise a filmmaker, so Loch relies on his family in addition to his peers and volunteers.  His parents, and all four grandparents are key parts of the production team. “My mother Tonde Razooly produces, and my Father Robert McPeters is my cinematographer. ... film-making is a collective, not a singular activity, each person on the cast and crew deserves to be noted, but none more highly than my parents.”

It is a multi generational effort as well.  Loch’s maternal grandfather, Razooly donated locations and acted in a small scene as an angel (pretty funny, if you know T.Great Razooly as the arch villain, nemesis, and evil prankster of the Kinetic Sculpture Race).  Loch’s mother's mother, Denise Morgana ran production errands, his father's mother cooked all their meals, and his father’s, father jumped in and ran sound along with two audio learners. “On the last day, he admitted he could not hear very well,” recalls Loch, “[He] had taken out his hearing aid to wear the audio headphones! We were terrified at first but good thing  our learners checked the levels visually.” 

Filmmaking has its challenges to overcome: finding locations, long hours, scheduling, permitting, insurance and budget. “Some of my favorite days of shooting started off with something going astray,” remembers Loch, “Through a misunderstanding [we] had to shoot a whole day in the Fortuna Roller Rink without really using skates. We begged, pleaded but the parks department would not budge, so all of our actors wore socks and slid around pretending to skate.  It was a hoot to see. Over 21 local youths joined us over the two days at the rink learning about sound, cameras, and acting. It was a wonderful project to share.”  

Another day, a shoot was interrupted by an unexpected rain shower.  “Everyone grabbed what equipment they could dashing for cover before equipment was soaked. It forced us to go inside and continue the scene.  It became a very moving moment in a much more intimate setting. It also made the learner, cast and crew a closer team. Together we saved the equipment, found a solution and shared a challenge to overcome.”

A Spark in Nothing has offered an on set experience to over 93 film enthusiasts ages 7-84. According to the To the Moon Filmworks folks, by the end of the film that number will be well above 100.  In the future, they hope to explore paid positions for learners which would allow them to spend more time on set pursuing their dreams of film-making.  

In addition to the cast and crew elements to the project, Loch wanted to share a message that his generation needs right now: love and hope. Together their film family is creating a full feature-length film that they will be proud to have worked on; a socially conscious message from the youth of today.

If this sort of hands on learning of film production appeals to you, you can contact Griffin Loch at asparkinnothingfilm@gmail.com, or check out his website where you can find the A Spark In Nothing Trailer as well as links to his film T.P Man and Flusher for which Loch won Best Director at the Independent Filmmakers Showcase. griffinloch.com

Karen Asbury