Independent film crew shoots at local location


Reporter - Briana Conner
Photographer - Jason Thomason

MASSAC COUNTY, Ill. - The cast and crew of a gothic thriller are in town for one week to finish shooting summer scenes. They filmed in Southern Illinois for 24 days back in January, battling the snow and the cold. Now, as they finish up, they're facing a new challenge.

P.J. Fishwick is producing the independent movie, Dig Two Graves, but every morning he also plays the part of a meteorologist. He said, "These recent thunderstorms have been something we've had to cope with." He said it's a small inconvenience, though, considering what this location in Mermet Springs has to offer. "Kinda fell in love with the atmosphere of the area," Fishwick said.

The crew also took advantage of Illinois tax incentives, and even some local talent. Gabriel Cain is from Herrin, Illinois, and tried out to be an extra. "Next thing I know, they had him cast as Willie Proctor in this movie, so it was pretty neat," said Cain's father, Jeff.  Gabriel said it's hard work, in fact, "harder than you'd think whenever you watch a movie." "I couldn't be more proud," said Jeff.

14-year-old Samantha Isler is also a main character and said Southern Illinois has offered some interesting experiences."I've gotten to skin a deer, which I've never done... shoot guns... just do a bunch of things I'm not used to," said Isler.

Mermet Springs owner Glen Faith described it as a win-win situation for everyone involved. "It's good for local tourism, our facility... it gets our name out, and hopefully we've provided a very good location for their film," said Faith.

Once filming wraps, the director and editor will work on editing the movie in Los Angeles. Fishwick says they'll submit the film to major film festivals this fall, with the hope of premiering at one of them next year