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Valory is a short film about a young boy living out in the rural Midwest countryside who finds a ship in a bottle in the cornfield by his house with a neighboring friend. Together, they try and figure out how the bottle came to be there in the first place, surrounding it with mystic wonder.

Preproduction for this project began in November of 2020, but the script has been written since around 2014. It's one of the first screenplays I ever wrote and one that's always remained relevant to me. It has a very abstract nature. It of course had dozens of revisions over the months leading up to filming, but the initial idea always remained the same," said Director Josiah Lydon.

Many different parts had to come together to make this project successful, and thankfully everything did, not without many challenges along the way though. One of the actors dropped out the week before filming because of a family emergency, however, the fates proved to be in the production's favor as an actor from Chicago was able to make it out for a day of filming to fill the part.

"Our filming location in Eden Township, was a blessing throughout the entire process. Newhall began to feel like a second home by the end of our 5-day production. The homeowners were extraordinarily gracious as we went overtime on our filming schedule every day. On the final day of shooting, we spent 38 hours straight on production, because we were coming down to the wire and still had a considerable amount of ground to cover with the actors who were there for just as limited a time. We were able to finish strong through the insomniac hours of the night (of course gave the actors time to rest). The greatest learning lesson on this project was the time and care that goes into creating each scene," said Lydon.

With all of that build-up and a long week of production begins the real work of post-production The plan is to have a complete film for festival submissions by June. The sights are set on an Oscar, you heard it here first.

For Corey and Kris Boyles, it started with a knock on the door and accepting a business card of a young man wanting to create a film on their property. The couple found it odd at first to think that someone wanted to use their acreage as a film site. They originally had purchased the property to raise their family of 6 hoping it could be used by their children to explore all of their interests, but the idea of a movie site hadn't crossed their minds before. But asking to use your home for a movie is a pretty big request.

Kris did some research on the Lydon and decided that she like what she saw of his work. Lydon sent the couple a copy of the script and she said what she saw a pattern of quality, intentional work. She said that the work was, "family-friendly" and "carried a unique combination of simple wholesomeness and depth of meaning and symbolism." She said it will definitely be a thought-provoking and creative piece.

The couple pondered the possibility of a film crew in their home as they also homeschool, and Kris had concerns about being able to run a house with a film crew in their home, but like she said, "Who gets to have their home in a film?"

"Josiah and Jake came out a few occasions in advance of the shoot. I gave them a tour of the house, knowing full well that some of the rooms of our house as well as the outdoor setting on our acreage would perfectly fit the scenes Josiah had written into the script. They even added and altered some scenes to include ways that our home could improve the story and its setting," said Kris. "Josiah and Jake would often ask—during the visits before the actual week of filming began—can we shoot here? Can we include this? Would you mind if we used (some random household item or furnishing)? Could they store equipment somewhere overnight? They were very cognizant of the fact that their film set was ultimately and primarily our home and we felt respected throughout the process.

In one of those early meetings with Josiah, Kris asked him a question that only the writer of the script could answer: Of all the stories you could film, why this one? What does it mean to you? His reply seemed distant and sincere, “It is like a tribute to a specific period of my childhood.”

Co-director Jake explored the acreage and responded, “This is the kind of place that inspires me,” Kris said she knew then that she had to affirm and support their efforts. "I told them that we bought this place, wanting to provide a home environment of support for young people to be productive in real and creative ways. Having them film a short film here was just a variation and extension of the productivity we always imagined would occur here—originally of ourselves and from our children. At that point I was all-in to whatever they were reasonably going to need to make the film and that we could afford to offer."

A unique experience for a homeschool family whose children were able to participate in the production. Two of the sons who are still at home Sid and Newt, assisted with set and props, rearranging household furnishings, and even the garage. One of the Boyles' sons Sid pulled a cameraman behind his truck in a sled for an action shot. Both Newt and Sid assisted with lighting equipment as needed. "It is not the kind of work they envision themselves doing someday, but it was an honor to work supportively alongside people who are passionate and skilled in what they do," Boyles said.

We wish Josiah, Jake, and all those involved in the project the best as they put the footage and sound recordings together into a finished piece. We look forward to viewing the final product with them as well as the actors and actress. We hope the film might get a special local screening.

The filming wasn’t without its discomfort. For Jake there were issues with lighting and electrical access in a 112-year-old house. For sound man Richard Schultz (of the sound box), there were the sound of old-home doors that buzz when the winter wind is strong out of a certain direction. It was particularly funny one late night of shooting when, during a take, Corey could be heard lightly snoring in the background from a couch in an adjacent room. The family hopes they are able to edit that out. For the family there was the challenge of eating supper in the kitchen while not clinking our silverware on the plates as they filmed in the dining room. "A film set must be absolutely silent during a take. So life would pause, and then when Josiah said, “Cut,” we could move again until the next take." said Kris.

For those who might be interested in being a part of this film and would be gracious enough to contribute, you can contact Lydon by email at: josiahlydon88@gmail.com to find out the different ways you can give and the accompanying rewards with each donation, which include receiving a digital copy of the film, getting monthly documentary's about the process, or being listed in the credits as an official film sponsor.

Be on the look out for the premiere of the film in Newhall when it's complete.

Click to view photos from the film site.
Credits:
Director-Josiah Lydon
Cinematographer-Jake Mills
Actor of Isaiah-Barrett Hehlke
Actor of Danielle-Kristen Wielenga
Sound Engineer (black hat)-Jon Limmer
Sound Engineer-Richard Schultz
Other woman in background is Kelli Hehlke.
Photographer-Kyle Sliechter


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