Above is a trailer for the movie “Long Gone By,” starring Erica Muñoz (L) and Izzy Hau’ula. Much of the movie was filmed in Kosciusko County.
By Briley Gargis
WARSAW – Filmed in Kosciusko County, a new movie that debuts Friday on HBO Latino includes scenes at Warsaw Bowl and the Cozy Cottage restaurant, among others.
“Long Gone By,” directed by Andrew Morgan and produced by Emily Morgan, is set to premiere on HBO Friday, May 1.
The feature-length film is set to air on HBO Latino at 8 p.m. as well as HBO’s other digital platforms – HBO GO, HBO On Demand, and HBO NOW.
The story is about Ana Alvarez, a single mother from Nicaragua who lives in Warsaw with her teenage daughter, Izzy. When a routine check-in leads to a deportation order, life as Ana knows it is upended. The timing could not be worse because Izzy has just been accepted to Indiana University, a dream that becomes a nightmare when she discovers that her immigration status disqualifies her for scholarships or federal aid.
Faced with a difficult choice, Ana decides to risk everything in a last-chance effort to cover Izzy’s tuition before time runs out.
The movie is described as an intimately unnerving portrait of a woman willing to sacrifice everything to give her daughter the chance at a life she never had.
“Long Gone By” stars Erica Muñoz, who also serves as the film’s associate producer.
The film’s associate producer, Matt Deuel, is a Warsaw resident who talked to InkFreeNews about the movie’s production two summers ago.
Director Andrew Morgan needed a setting that represented small-town America and flew in from Los Angeles to scout for potential locations. He was eventually convinced that Warsaw locations would work well, Deuel said.
Another reason Warsaw worked so well was the severe time crunch the movie’s production crew faced. Since it was a small independent feature film with a small budget, the crew only “had 18 days of filming, whereas the industry average for filming is over 100 days,” Deuel said.
In some ways, Kosciusko County offered a huge advantage compared to working in Los Angeles. “In LA, to set up a location, film needed scenes, and then move the entire production across town for another scene is almost unheard of just due to traffic.”
Crews from Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta were able to arrive here in town about five days before filming started, allowing them to visit all scene locations, walk through the script, and get familiar with the town.
A huge hurdle in the film-making process is finding exact locations for specific scenes and gaining cooperation from locals. This is often met with some resistance.
But it was different in Warsaw.
“Our community truly welcomed this opportunity with open arms,” Deuel said.
He also said that it “took about six weeks to secure scene locations, lodging, food service, props, equipment rental, and security” in Warsaw and surrounding areas.
“Many of the locations truly worked with their natural character and decor,” Deuel said.
Production designer Tony DeVictor added in some finishing touches, but most locations – like The Cozy Cottage, Warsaw Bowl, and the Quick Clean Laundromat – “worked perfectly.”
But there were some pretty big changes to some locations. The production crew was able to transform rooms within the Gateway Education Center. One of those involved turning a break room at the education center into a prison visitation room.
Deuel said he spoke with Mayor Joe Thallemer to seek his blessing and help with the project. Thallemer was able to steer the production team into contact with Police Chief Scott Whitaker and Captain Joel Beam from the Warsaw Police Department.
“We also worked with the Kosciusko Sheriff’s Office and a number of sheriff’s deputies,” Deuel said.
Deuel also credits Warsaw Community Schools’ Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert; Jim LeMasters, Director of Maintenance, Buildings and Grounds for the school district; and staff at Gateway Education Center for allowing them to film a number of scenes on school property.