10 Movies Filmed in Goshen

Filmmaking in Goshen • Good of Goshen

Lights, camera, action!

The Maple City will soon be in the spotlight as the 15-year-old River Bend Film Festival gets underway for the first time in downtown Goshen. This showcase for independent cinema runs March 31 through April 2 and will include 47 films picked from more than 200 entries. This film festival is a first for Goshen. It isn’t, however, the city’s first brush with the big screen.

Consider: Goshen is the birthplace of Academy Award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer Howard Hawks (1896-1977), whose works include Sergeant York, Scarface, The Big Sleep, and To Have and Have Not.

Goshen is also the hometown to a new generation of writers, directors and producers making their mark in the film world, including Jim Strouse, Jordon Hodges, and Jon Helmuth. Goshen is also gaining ground as a film location. Many movies have been shot in and around the Maple City, and it’s a safe bet to say that there are more to follow.

Until then, here’s some recommended viewing – and proof that Goshen is ready for its close-up.

1) Sand Castles (2015)

“Tragedy Runs Through Our Blood” reads the tagline for Sand Castles. According to a synopsis on IMDb: “In rural Indiana, Noah and his impoverished family wrestle with the mysterious return of his now mute sister Lauren, who was kidnapped and held captive for over a decade.”

Goshen native Jordon Hodges wrote the screenplay for Sand Castles and stars as Noah. He was also a producer on the project. Hodges described filming in Goshen as “perfect,” and said he wants to make all his movies in the Goshen area in the future.

“The town looks unique in person, and definitely looks unique on the screen,” he said. “Not to mention, the people of the town rally behind you and allow it to be a character on its own in the movie. I feel like it’s a secret gem for filmmakers.”

Hodges also considers Goshen to be a great place to celebrate the arts.

“This isn’t a new thing to the town, either,” he said. “Take a look at The Goshen Theater right on Main Street – it represents the historical and rich art culture of the town. It’s the perfect place for a film festival.”

2) Elsewhere (2009)

Starring Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Twilight, Up in the Air), Elsewhere tells the story of a teen-age girl who goes missing after trying to meet men online. Her best friend Sarah (Kendrick) investigates.

In a 2009 interview with USA Today, Kendrick was asked to name the most surprising/unexpected place she’d ever visited. Her answer: Goshen.

“There was a pretty strong Amish community, to the point where the Walmart had stables for horses,” she said. “That was definitely interesting navigating roads with horses and buggies. There was one bar that we could go to at the end of the night. It was a really small community and it felt like that movie State and Main, where we completely took over the town. By the end, everybody knew who we were because we were one of the people working on the movie. Everybody else knew each other.”

Kendrick also told USA Today that while she saw a young Amish boy playing with a Game Boy, “ … I didn’t tattle on him.”

Note: Not suitable for children.

3) Lonesome Jim (2005)

Starring Casey Affleck and Liv Tyler and directed by Steve Buscemi, Lonesome Jim tells the story of (surprise) a not altogether happy man named Jim. Jim (Affleck) has moved back in with his parents in Goshen after failing to find success as a writer in New York. He begins a relationship with local nurse Anika (Tyler). Is Jim the right guy for Anika and her young son? Will he ever be less lonely? Can he coach basketball? Watch the movie.

The Goshen setting for Lonesome Jim isn’t random. The movie was written by Goshen native Jim Strouse, who went on to write and direct films including Grace Is Gone and People Places Things.”

Strouse noted that Lonesome Jim was based on his family, and all the locations he imagined while writing the script were based on places that actually existed in Goshen, Syracuse, Ligonier, and Cromwell. When Buscemi signed on to direct the film, he and Strouse took a trip to Goshen to scout locations, and the director liked the look of the area.

According to Strouse, however, probably the biggest factor in deciding to film “Jim” in the Goshen area was economic. Strouse’s parents offered their home and business in Syracuse as two of the main locations in the film – for free, no less.

“The film was made on a very low budget, and getting those locations for free was a huge help,” Strouse said. “My parents stayed in the Carlton Lodge for weeks while we were shooting in the house. They are the greatest.”

Strouse also said there was a great feeling of community during filming. “The cast and crew blended so easily with my family, friends and local residents,” he said. “It was just a really fun and pleasurable experience. I managed the locations along with my old college friend, Julian Kauffman. People were generally really kind and welcoming to us.”

4) Pearl Diver (2004)

Chapel Hill, N.C., native Sidney King is a 2000 graduate of Goshen College. He is also the writer and director of Pearl Diver, which was shot in both Goshen and Chicago.

Pearl Diver tells the story of two sisters living in the shadow of a 20-year-old violent crime. In the wake of an injurious farming mishap, the now-adult sisters come together and confront their past.

The film is set in and around Goshen. In promotional material for the film, King described the area as one of “quiet, stunning natural beauty and home to a people with a remarkable generosity of spirit.”

“It is an area I learned to know and love while a student at Goshen College,” King said. “I wanted to present this area in a way that did it justice, in a certain sense. … Not in an idealized, glossy or postcard-picture-pretty way, but in a way that showed the region as a place where people lead lives of depth and recognize their interconnectedness in ways that few other places I’ve been to do.”

Also …

“That’s it?” you ask? In fact, no. To a greater or lesser degree, Goshen has also served as a location to other flicks both long- and short-form.

The list includes:

5) Con Air (1997): Yep, evidently, according to Imdb.com. Starring Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, and John Malkovich.

6) Shroud for a Journey (2001): An investigation into the 1920 disappearance of American college student Clayton Kratz in Russia. Directed by Sidney King.

7) Corduroy (2006): This short film is about a young man and a vexing, noisy pair of pants. The film was directed by David Kendall and Bryan Falcon.

8) Fuerza (2006): This documentary produced by a group of Goshen College students examines the impact of immigration on Goshen, and Apan, Hidalgo, Mexico. The film received a Silver Telly Award.

9) Silent Treatment (2007): A comedy directed by David Murto.

10) Blanche (2015): This is a video for a piece on actor Vincent D’Onofrio’s “punk rock spoken word” album “Slim Bone Head Volt.” It was filmed in The Goshen Theater, the main venue for the River Bend Film Festival.

Blanche by Vincent D’Onofrio and Dana Lyn.

Note: Strong language. Not suitable for children.

Good of Goshen Editor • Scott Weisser

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