A few weeks out from shooting, and we have casted the film! The amazingly talented Desiree Bartels has been casted as the lead character, Margaret.
Desiree Bartels is an actor, director, and arts publicist from Tobias, Nebraska. She is a senior Theatre Performance and Theatre Directing and Management major at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film, with an emphasis in arts administration and applied children's theatre. She is thrilled to be part of the "Up River" team and looks forward to building her film experience by taking on the role of Margaret.
Supporting her in the film will be Billy St. John who will be filling the role of Thomas, and Jeremy Blomstedt who will be playing the role of the stranger.
"Up River" follows 20-year-old Margaret Luther, whose father was kidnapped while spending time on the desolate land of Minnesota. After the disappearance of her father, she must learn to survive in the woods on her own. With cold northern winds blowing and snow on its way, Margaret struggles to find her father before winter hits.
From the Director:
"Up River" is a 19th-century timepiece about a young girl who goes against all odds to survive on her own in the woods. I wanted to set this story in the early 1800s for two reasons; I am fascinated with that time in history and no one else in the school is doing a film set in a different time period right now. Not only does this give our production designer a great opportunity for set and costume design, but also allows for the rest of the crew to become immersed in the culture of the piece. I wanted to be authentic to the time, so we are creating props and costumes in the way that they would have been done in 1823 (for example, we are tanning our own hides for the hut our production designer, Riley is building). This story also allows for a young woman to take the lead role. Many films are overtaken with male characters, so I found it important to have a woman take the lead in this film to show strength and courage.
Elijah Watson - Producer / Editor
Hi! I'm Elijah Watson and I am producing and editing "Up River." I found my passion for filmmaking when I was eight years old. At that young age, I set out on a mission to produce, direct, shoot, and edit my own 45 minute remake of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The movie was abysmal, but it helped me discover what I really wanted to do with my life--make films. Ever since then, I have been constantly producing movies. Now, I find myself at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film with three other wonderful students who are in need of some help to produce our next project. We have an amazing story, and amazing crew, and a fiery passion to make the best film that we can. Any support you can lend us would be greatly appreciated. Even if you can't donate, look for the movie when it comes out!
Allison Holt - Director
My name is Allison Holt and I wrote and am directing "Up River." I grew up being the strange kid who brought their camera everywhere they went, filming and editing the footage to later put up on YouTube. Ever since then, I have fallen in love with the art of filmmaking, from beginning to end. Coming from a creative background, I thoroughly enjoy seeing my vision of a story come to life, which is why I am very excited to direct "Up River." Although money does not determine the greatness of anything, it doesn’t hurt to have a little on hand. With our creative and passionate minds behind this project, we are determined to make something great and are thankful for any help that comes along the way.
Ben Hartzell - Director of Photography
Hello, I am Ben Hartzell, the cinematographer. I like three things: good shots, chocolate, and pancakes. You can imagine my excitement when I first learned about chocolate chip pancakes. On a slightly more serious note, my job on set will be to create good shots that make you feel things. All of the funding that we generate here will go toward that purpose. I'm sure you are wondering what experience I have to ensure that the shots will be wonderful. Well, I have been shooting for a long time and I approach each project I'm on with the goal of getting better. I always push myself on the next film to make it the best it can be. Plus, if you donate more that $100, I will personally make you some chocolate chip pancakes and mail them to you. I'm sure you are almost as hungry as I am now and any support will be used to its fullest potential.
Riley Sullivan - Production Designer
I'm Riley Sullivan and I'm the production designer for "Up River." The exciting part of films for me is finding creative solutions to the unique problems guaranteed to arise as production progresses. One role budget plays in my job is with materials. I have already learned a lot by exploring the best and most affordable materials to substitute for what would have been used in the early 1800s. Aside from creating something aesthetically pleasing and supportive of our story, my main focus is to create as close to a time era accurate set as possible. If I have one hope in this film it's to achieve a high production value. One way having an increased budget would help us is that it would allow us to hire a horse for a select few scenes, which would bring this film to the next level. On the long list of hopes I have for this production, every donation helps check another goal off the list and we appreciate all the help we can get! Thanks, hope you all are as excited as I am.