Small Town, High Culture Meet in Film Premiering at Lone Star Film Fest

For some of the filmmakers behind As Far as the Eye Can See, the Lone Star Film Festival feels like a homecoming.

The drama is among the films competing at the festival’s annual film competition. Several cast and crew members have ties to the Metroplex – associate producer Stephen Ellis hails from Fort Worth, while screenwriter and producer Paden Fallis spent much of his childhood in Cowtown, attending Fort Worth Christian School in North Richland Hills.

Although the film has already premiered in other places like the Montreal World Film Festival, Fallis said having the film screened in Fort Worth is extra special.

“It’s an added touch,” he said. “Anywhere it plays is great, but when it’s in your own hometown, it’s not lost on me that it’s a cool thing.”

The film takes place in Texas, albeit in a fictional small town called “Paget.” The story follows a former piano prodigy named Jack Ridge, who has lost touch with his music career and lives on a farm. He’s set to perform in a piano competition, but after his wife asks for a divorce, Ridge punches a wall in frustration and consequently injures his hand. He spends the rest of the film figuring out how to make it through the performance – and his life – while at the same time, discovering his path for the future.

“Ultimately it’s a movie about knowing whether it’s time to move on with your life,” director David Franklin said. “A lot of us, I include myself in this, you have a plan for your life when you start. You get out of college, you’re all excited about things, things seem like they’re going to go a certain way, and then one day you wake up and you’re like, ‘Wait, 20 years just went by, and I didn’t do those things that I thought I was going to do. I did some other things.’ This is a movie about a guy who has to figure out what to do next.”

As Far as the Eye Can See was shot last year outside Austin with a small crew of about 20 people. Filming took about a month and wrapped on the Fourth of July.

The film competed at the Montreal World Film Festival in August but lost to a film from Kyrgyzstan.

“If you’re going to lose, there’s a lot of honor losing to a fascinating movie from a far part of the world,” Franklin said. “I was totally okay with that.”

Now the film will be placed before the eyes of a hometown audience in Fort Worth – a city that collides cowboys with culture, much like the film.

“You can find high art, high culture, anywhere,” Fallis said. “You can also find ignorance and bigotry anywhere. It doesn’t matter where you are. I was interested in telling a story of this dichotomy between a small town and high culture.”

Fallis says he’s looking forward to taking the film home.

“It’s just a good place for us,” he said. “When we found out that the Lone Star Film Festival was interested, it was very exciting.”

The Lone Star Film Festival takes place Nov. 10-13 at Sundance Square. More information can be found on the festival’s website, lonestarfilmfestival.com.