WARSAW — Warsaw native and DJ Claude Clark had an idea for a story, six years later it’s become a full length movie.
Clark says he had bounced the plot idea around, slowly writing bits and pieces of a storyline. What started as a “really short story” was turned into an hour and fifteen minute movie. Clark, the director of the film, says he never expected it to get this far.
Clark’s story idea sat around until he met cinematographer Bryce Fritzel of Fritzel Media a couple years after writing his story. After discussing the idea of a movie, Fritzel helped take the “bare bones” piece and turn it into a script.
The synopsis reads, “Touched is a romantic comedy about a man named Peter Wates whose life changes drastically the day he turns 18, and realizes he can get any woman he wants. He wasn’t a smooth-talking, charming man. He didn’t have the striking physique of a Greek statue, or the face of a heavenly being. He was normal; but a curse brought on by his father’s infidelity granted him an ability that any man would die for. At first, Peter believes his ‘touch’ is more of a gift than a curse – until he meets the love of his life and finds the ‘blessing’ brings more chaos than he ever imagined.”
Fritzel also helped Clark cast his movie, a process that took several months. While there were dreams of casting more famous faces, there was benefit in casting local.
“We always start with big dreams,” Fritzel says, “but we realized a lot would have to be filmed local, and actors were local, so we turned it on it’s head and made it a completely local project.”
Amie Ridley and T.J. Barrus were the only two actors that Clark had in mind when casting. Other roles were filled as Clark and Fritzel met other people they thought would fit the roles.
“They all fell into place. It was either definitely them or definitely not them. It worked or it didn’t,” says Fritzel.
To help fund the idea Claude started a Kickstarter campaign that went on to raise $2,000, a budget that was spent quickly. But keeping the film local helped keep costs down. The only shot in the movie that isn’t local is an aerial of Chicago, a shot Clark says was also the most expensive to capture.
“By the end of the day, with everyone who parked there, prices added up.” Clark went on to say the shot was “completely worth it.”
With a completely local cast and crew, news of the movie spread. What started as a quiet project soon became a community effort and the team was often approached and asked how the movie was coming along.
“The support has just been overwhelming with local businesses,” says Clark. Fritzel added, “People would ask if we had anymore scenes to film that they could be in, and I just always wished we had things left!”
Moriah Magnus, production assistant with Fritzel Media, said she appreciated how open they were able to keep the set. With most sets, extras film the scene and leave, but “with our extras we did Facebook live videos and behind-the-scenes. We had an intern from Grace College that’s going to school for film do slate, so I’m glad she said she was able to learn a lot.”
Ridley and Clark agree that getting to see what goes in to a movie first hand is very different than seeing it on screen, and it helps get people excited.
The whole cast and crew is certainly excited, and Clark is thrilled with the outcome. “It’s just a really good movie. There’s not one scene I don’t play back and think ‘That’s exactly what I envisioned.'”
Touched will be premiering at the Warsaw Community High School with a red carpet at 7 p.m. Sept. 24. Tickets are on pre-sale and can be purchased from any cast and crew member or from their shop for $5. Tickets will be $7 at the door.