Goshen has a reason to be proud.
“Sand Castles,” a movie shot in the Maple City, made its Indiana debut on the silver screen Thursday evening, April 3, at the River Bend Film Festival in South Bend. Besides its setting, the movie has another Goshen connection. Screenwriter, producer and lead actor Jordon Hodges grew up in the city – and he’s proud of it.
Hodges was beaming Thursday night as he shared the movie with more than 300 of his closest friends at the film festival. “Sand Castles” tells the story of a family struggling to pick up the pieces after their daughter, Lauren, was kidnapped. Lauren returns mysteriously more than 10 years later, but the home she comes back to isn’t quite as picture perfect as it once was.
Locals were used as extras in the film, and the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department helped out by providing officer uniforms and patrol cars. Goshen businesses were used as backdrops including the South Side Soda Shop, John Hall’s True Value and the Goshen Theater on Main Street, Simmons Automotive and Oasis on Lincoln Avenue and Better World Books’ former location on Washington Street.
“It had to be my blood,” Hodges said about bringing the film’s crew to Goshen.
Thursday night’s sold out screening featured a Q&A with Hodges along with some of the film’s cast and crew. Actor Clint Howard, who played a mechanic in “Sand Castles,” is one of the film festival’s special guests.
“I’m proud of it,” Howard said during the Q&A. “I’m proud that a little movie like this could start as a small little seed, and of course Jordon has had pretty experience in Los Angeles, but for him to come back here and make this movie and give it the texture – this was a challenging picture. This was not two bank robbers and a hooker in a motel room, which by the way wouldn’t be a bad picture, but it would be much cheaper to do and it wouldn’t involve the themes and the angst.”
Howard spent one day in Goshen filming “Sand Castles,” but that's all it took for him to be impressed by Hodges’ commitment to the film.
“I’ve got to give it up to Jordon,” Howard said. “I’ve gotten to dance with a lot of different people in this business over my years in the industry, and no BS, it doesn’t just inspires me, it makes me feel good when you work on something that obviously has not gotten stuck in the mud but does have wings.”
The River Bend Film Festival has added a second screening of “Sand Castles.” Ticket information is available at riverbendfilmfest.org.
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.