GOSHEN — A film that used Goshen as a backdrop will make its Indiana premiere next month.
“Sand Castles,” written and produced by Goshen native Jordon Hodges, will be one of roughly 40 films that will be screened at the River Bend Film Festival in South Bend. Hodges’ movie debuts April 3.
“It’s going to be one of the highlights of my life,” said Hodges, who plays the lead character, Noah, in the film.
Directed by Clenet Verdi-Rose, “Sand Castles” is a gritty drama set in rural Indiana. Noah and his family struggle to grasp the mysterious return of his younger sister, Lauren, who was kidnapped and held captive for more than 10 years.
“It’s a complex story with many layers and a lot of interesting characters, so I hope people can relate to something in the film,” said Hodges, 27. “Movies suspend your disbelief, and if we can just capture an audience for that 93 minutes, then we’ve done our job of taking people away from the everyday grind and stresses.”
“Sand Castles” was shot in Hodges’ hometown in 2012 with the help of the locals who worked as extras and members of the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department, who provided uniforms for actors and even played police officers in the movie. Hodges’ girlfriend and fellow Elkhart County native Natalie Stalter worked as the film’s costume designer.
After the filming of “Sand Castles,” actress Anne Winters, who plays Hodges’ sister, joined the cast of ABC Family’s “The Fosters.” Now, she is shooting scenes in Israel as a star on the new FX series “Tyrant” premiering later this year.
Hodges and his crew are putting the finishing touches on “Sand Castles,” mixing audio and making a few minor tweaks to the film.
“I’m excited, but you never know how an audience is going to respond to the story,” said Hodges, who lives in the heart of Hollywood. “When you’re working on a movie for so long, it’s like your child. You’re with it for years if you take it from A to Z, and all you can do is hope they like it.”
The movie’s premiere in South Bend will feature a question-and-answer session after the screening with members of the cast and crew including Hodges, fellow producer Christopher Nickin and actor Clint Howard. Howard, an iconic character actor and brother of director Ron Howard, plays a mechanic in the movie who turns out to be the only witness to see Lauren get dropped off after her decade-long disappearance.
“Sand Castles” will have a special advance screening March 21 at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa, Fla., before the movie’s debut in South Bend.
After that, the movie will continue on the film festival circuit with screenings in Palm Beach, Fla., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Italy, where it has two nominations for the Horse of Leonardo da Vinci Statuette at the Milan International Film Festival Awards. Similar to the Academy Awards, the Milan festival nominates five people in each category from the event’s best indie films. Hodges is nominated for the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Saxon Trainor, who plays his mother in the movie, is nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. The winners will be announced at an awards show in May.
Tickets for the South Bend screening are available at riverbendfilmfest.org/sandcastles.
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.