âColumbus needs a story that will help the city find its cinematic identity, that shows Columbus for what it is: an energetic city filled with diverse families and creative, open-minded people. “
This is the official website word for the new local shooting feature. They / Them / Us, a film about blended families, new love and Columbus.
Co-writer / director Jon Sherman’s somewhat autobiographical comedy doesn’t take place in Columbus just because the filmmaker lives here. Nor is it just because, as Chairman of the Columbus Film Board of Directors, Sherman is passionate about educating the local film community.
Both of those things are true, but the main reason Sherman made his film locally is that he wants to see Columbus on the big screen, and he thinks others will too.
âI’m driving and I’m like, ‘I’ve never seen German Village on film, I’ve never seen Victorian Village on film,’â he says. âI made films in New York that were very New Yorker. I really wanted to make a Midwesterners movie. I think it’s going to surprise people with how nervous Columbus is, what they would expect to find here and what they wouldn’t find. I’m excited to show this to a local audience and have people see all of these different places they know on the big screen, and some places they won’t, I guarantee.
And if the city was good for his movie, Sherman is convinced that his movie and others like him will be good for the city.
“If you look Installer [Noah Dixon and Ori Segevâs Tribeca-screened feature set in Columbusâ music scene] and this film together is the best travel advertisement for Columbus, âhe laughs. “Installer makes Columbus the coolest city with its music scene, and we’re like, “Look at this beautiful house you can have – move to Columbus!” Look at this beautiful neighborhood! ‘â
While its location was ideal, other logistics were not.
âWe were supposed to get there in 2019, we didn’t have the money,â Sherman recalls. âAnd then it started to come together, it was almost ready to go, then the pandemic came along. We actually had the money, we had the casting, it was in June. We postponed it, but we were actually one of the first films in the country to get permission to shoot during Covid. “
In collaboration with SAG-AFTRA, Sherman instituted protocols to ensure the safety of the actors, the team and Columbus. Much of the film takes place in a single space.
âWe shot in a house for 10 days,â he says. âWe toured all over Columbus for the rest of the days. We couldn’t really use extras except for a few scenes, and we had to subject the extras to Covid protocols. But most of the scenes don’t have extras except for the assistants and my students from Kenyon.
Associate Professor of Film at Kenyon College, Sherman not only gives film students the opportunity to participate in active production, he also mentors new filmmakers.
âIt’s about helping other people make their films,â he says. âHow can you do this other than talking to other filmmakers? I know the low budget process, I know the mid budget process, and I am happy to help people find the best way forward.
Part of that path forward could be the Columbus Film Filmmaker Grants, which is why proceeds from Friday night’s event will go to these funds.
The first hometown of They / Them / Us is happening at the Lincoln Theater (769 E. Long St.) on Friday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $ 5. Book your tickets on mycbusarts.com. Masks and proof of vaccination compulsory.
Listen to Hope’s weekly movie reviews podcast, THE PROJECTION ROOM.