Woodward, Okla. —
A Waynoka native is excited to be bringing his first feature-length film to screen in his home state later this month.
Josh Hope will be screening his dark comedy “Wild Blue,” which he wrote and directed, as part of the 8th Annual Trail Dance Film Festival in Duncan. The screening time is at 12:45 p.m. on Jan. 25 in the Simmons Center Chisholm Hall.
Hope's independent film has already been screened at 2 other independent film festivals including premiering at the Twin Cities Film Festival in Minneapolis, Minn. in October 2013.
Hope said he had “a blast” showing his film at the Twin Cities festival, where it appeared alongside larger independent movies such as “August: Osage County” and “Last Vegas.”
“It's a good festival for smaller indie films like ours, because it offers the chance to hobnob with bigger films. And it was a good place to premiere as it brings in some big crowds. We were really honored to be a part of it,” he said.
And now, after showing at another festival in Washington D.C., Hope said he is looking forward to bring the movie back to Oklahoma to show in it's third festival.
“I'm so excited to come back to Oklahoma,” he said. “I have so many friends and family there, plus we filmed it in Oklahoma around Waynoka and we also shot part of it in Laverne and that area. So it's really like coming home.”
In particular, Hope said he is looking forward to being able to share the festival experience with his family and friends.
“I think they're excited about it too,” he said. “They've seen me make short films along the way and have just been really supportive throughout this whole process. So I think they're excited to see how far we've come. And I'm excited to have them come hang out at the festival with us and just have a great time.”
However, Hope admitted that there are always a few mixed emotions when it comes to screening his work.
“It's a bit nerve wracking to put your work out there for everyone to see, but at the same time it is also rewarding because it's something you've put so much time and effort on,” he said.
His favorite aspect of showing his film at the festivals is “being able to talk with the audience afterward and get that instant feedback.”
And so far the feedback seems to be really positive, Hope said.
“I think people tend to like the natural storytelling,” he said.
In a previous interview with The News back in the summer of 2011 when he was preparing to come to Northwest Oklahoma to shoot the film, Hope said his goal in writing and filming the movie was to tell an honest story.
In “Wild Blue,” he tells the story of a young man named Blue, who, after being released from the foster care system, leaves his small Oklahoma town for the first time on a whim to take a cross-country road trip with a woman he meets by chance.
Hope said that while “these small stories aren't the type of stories you find in big Hollywood,” he thinks they are nevertheless important stories that deserved to be told.
This was reinforced for him after his film's premiere in Minneapolis last fall.
“At the Twin Cities Film Festival I met a couple of brothers who had been in the foster care system in Minnesota. They had actually seen the film online and came to the festival when they saw it would be screening there,” Hope said. “They told me how touched they were to have a story like this being told. And I was touched to know that my film could move people like that. And it was actually inspiring to me to keep going.”
And keep going he will as “Wild Blue” is already slated to screen at another film festival in Green Bay, Wis., in February and “we'll probably keep screening at other festivals for the rest of the year,” he said.
When he isn't busy showing “Wild Blue” at festivals, Hope will be working on his other projects with his Chicago-based production company Olive Entertainment.
“We just made another film and we have another in the works,” he said.
Overall, Hope said he is proud of what his first film has accomplished and he hopes to continue to build on that success.
“We made this film with almost no money and a very small crew,” Hope said. “And it's very rare to see a film that's this small accomplish what we have so far.”
Those accomplishments include being nominated for best feature narrative film at the Trail Dance Film Festival and already being picked up for distribution.
“Most indie films go to festivals to try to get distributed. But we were lucky and got picked up for distribution before we ever screened,” Hope said. “So now all of these festival screenings are like a bonus for us. And it's very relaxing because instead of working to try to get distribution, we can just enjoy the whole atmosphere of the festival and even get to see other films too.”
“I feel very luck and very happy with the way this film has turned out,” he said.
Now he is just looking forward to sharing the film and its story with his fellow Oklahomans.
“We'll be there at the festival so anyone who wants to come, we'd love to have them come and hang out with them afterward,” Hope said. “That's really the great thing about coming to Oklahoma, getting to share this experience with old friends and family and new friends as well.”
For more information about Hope's film “Wild Blue” or its upcoming screening at the Trail Dance Film Festival, you can visit the festival website at traildancefilmfestival.com, the movie's website at wildblue-movie.com, or Hope's production company website oliveentertainment.com.
“They can go to any of those sites to learn more information and to buy tickets to the festival,” Hope said.
He said it's likely that tickets will still be available the day of the festival, but encouraged those who can to purchase theirs in advance.
“I believe they can show up the day of the festival and still buy tickets, but to be safe, it's always good to buy them online before the festival,” he said.